College football stadiums were once wooden bleachers. Players sat on long stretches of wooden benches and cheerleaders wore long skirts. Restrooms were in remote areas with little of anything. At half-time, players huddle under their respective goal posts, drank from the same water bucket and fans could still get a pretty good hot dog.
Fashion was paramount, and the ladies dressed to the 9’s. Every self respecting young lady paraded into the stadium with suit, gloves, heels, pocketbook and matching Jackie Kennedy pill box hat. Colleges sold huge chrysanthemum corsages with the school emblem in the center. Men wore suits and ties, and his attire stylishly complimented the lady at his side. The student body even dressed up for the Saturday competition. And if your guy happened to be on the team, the coaches reserved special chairs for the girlfriends and wives. There was a whole lot of kissing going on along the sidelines.
Today’s gridiron trends have moved towards a more spirited involvement. Enthusiasts begin their weekend with tailgating preparation. Tailgaters bring everything to eat; steaks, chicken, pork roasts, kielbasas, hot dogs, burgers, fish, gator meat, barbeque’s, side dishes, chips, and dips. There is no end to beverages. Today’s fan starts early and stays late. The car is full; packed with coolers, grills, tents, tables, chairs, boxes of snacks, twenty foot high flags and flag poles, suitcases and pom poms. Decked out with magnets, flags, and full of game day spirit, off we go. Road Trip.
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College football loyals line up early for parking. The parking lots open five hours before game time. As soon as the car stops, the set up and food prep guys begin their ritual. Within fifteen minutes they have the tent up, grills hot, table and chairs set up, and they are enjoying their first beer (beer usually comes first). No suits and heels for these campus beauties, but they attract attention in short-shorts and cut off shirts.
If you see anyone in a suit and tie, tell them that church is on Sunday. Old friends that you have not seen since last Saturday’s game meander over to see what’s up.
After many hours of partying, eating, drinking and singing the fight song, the tailgate team packs the leftovers, cleans up and prepares to go to the stadium. Game time is nearing and the squad moves into stadium mode. The “must have list” includes sunglasses, sun hat, sun block, binoculars, stadium seats (unless you have the stadium crew put your seat in), rain gear if raining and blankets, hats and gloves if cold. Once inside, they take pictures with the sequined boys, faces readied with the face paint girls and die hards march in with the band. Oh my, what a great day for football.
It is all there, fancy stadiums, inside restrooms, restaurants, shopping and seats for 100,000 fans. Players enjoy cool seats, hot seats, fans, heaters, energy drinks, oxygen, stationary bicycles, and computer technology. Cheerleader’s skirts are shorter and nobody dresses up. Tailgating and booster clubs are much more elaborate. It is a fabulous family day. If you can’t be there, you can always tailgate in the family room.