Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Spotlight of the month.......Tailgating: Not Just a Hobby but a Way of Life

Bluffs & Bayous is now doing a monthly spotlight that will just be found on our blog. Each month we will pick a topic of interest from a person, place and thing to an idea that will be showcased on our blog. Some months it will correlate with our magazine's theme and some months it will not. So we hope you continue to check out our blog. Thanks

Tailgating: Not Just a Hobby but a Way of Life

College football season, as much a part of the Southern way of life as grits, please and thank you, debutante, y’all, and true hospitality. When looking up the definition of the word “fan,” one will note that it derives from the word fanatic and college football fans from the South give the word new meaning. It is more than just a game, it is a way of life, an obsession. And as with every other Southern obsession, we pursue our love of college football with flamboyant style. Each year as summer winds down, no matter where you go in the South, the main topic of conversation will be the upcoming football season. But it is not just the game itself that we find ourselves entranced with, college football requires an entire day’s worth of festivities, including several hours worth of tailgating. From the Grove at Ole Miss, to the Junction at Mississippi State, each southern school has its own tailgating traditions.

For the college football fan, there is nothing like the feeling of getting to campus early on a game day to prepare for the game with a little tailgating. Immediately upon stepping foot on campus, the excitement is in the air: the aroma of grills and the various foods that fans have brought to enjoy prior to kickoff; the echoing of the fight song in the distance as the band warms up in preparation for their march to the stadium; and the chatter of friends and foes (opposing fans), discussing a assortment of topics, from the upcoming game to the overbearing boss. This is what makes college football special in the South, it is not just a game, it is a well planned social event. Tailgates are coordinated all week prior to the game on who will be responsible for each aspect of making the perfect tailgate. Who will be responsible for the tent? Who will take care of the food? Who is going to make sure there is a way to keep an eye on the other games that day? And last but definitely not least, who is going to handle the drinks? But the tailgate itself is not the only concern, most even carefully prepare their game day outfit, making sure to include the home team’s colors in some way. And all that preparation is not without reward, because even if the home team is struggling, the fans can still enjoy a good tailgate. After all, like they say, the home team may lose the game but you cannot lose a tailgate. As a result, even those who may not be that interested in the game itself, find themselves huge fans of college football season. Where else can you get together with friends from every stage of life, while having a good meal and being entertained for an entire day?

This article was written by Phillip Bass, a law student at the University of Mississippi and a graduate of Mississippi State University.

Friday, August 7, 2009

August Insight from our Editors

Whether or not we have or have had children headed back to school at the end of summer break, we all were for many years headed back to school ourselves about this time of the year. Many of us still may be headed that way as teachers and continuing education students. Thus, from these circumstances, individually or collectively, we know the anticipation, the quickening pace, and the bit of anxiety over the possibility of daunting coursework or lessons to be learned.

In addition to these classroom-related emotions, however, is the thrill that begins to escalate in us all, that is, in all of us with any pigskin potency whatsoever flowing in our veins, as the magic of football season casts its spell here in the South. From pee-wee wrangling and junior high and high school skirmishes to college clashes and professional combat, we who create the spirit of the season and follow its hype feel the temperatures rising—it’s football fever time!

So much of this fever rests on the power of traditions as they emanate from our families, friends, and schools. For decades in most cases and nearly centuries in some, these traditions fervently flow from generation to generation, expanding and deepening in their significance. And while so much fun, entertainment, and festivity accompany these traditions, so does an engrained seriousness. We joke about rivalries—but we are not kidding. We recall and recap with raised eyebrows and a bit of glimmer in our eyes those most un-judicious judgment calls against our teams, perhaps forgiving inept officials—but we never forget. We complain about our team’s weaknesses and errors with those of like loyalties—but take major offense when this criticism comes from those with deviant allegiances.

The intensity of such football fervor actually begins on the pee-wee level although we keep it in tow, really wanting everyone to play, really wanting everyone to do well, really wanting the games to be positive experiences about competition, and naturally wanting our children and their teams to achieve success. At the junior high level, though, the fervor grows, and by high school it becomes a virtual fever that in college escalates to epidemic proportions of fan-based preparation, celebration, and braggadocio.

Renowned for such escalated excitement are SEC football and SEC football fans and, actually, football teams and fans in the South at large. Which of these teams and its fans pushes the temperature highest—is a question with resounding affirmations from all sides! One team with its fans definitely in the running are the Ole Miss Rebels who have an undeniably affluent heritage of football lore and legacy, an avid and fanatic fan base, and a generations-rich tailgating tradition. Our feature articles this month explore this hotty-toddy hype that fuels Rebel mania.

Also for your reference this month as multitudes head back to school and so many of us begin to finalize our football season weekend, road-trip, and tailgating plans, we have included football schedules for area high schools and colleges, and for the New Orleans Saints. Such preparations, of course, are just the first symptoms of the approaching fever of Southern football mania. Once you’ve caught it, immunity is out of the question, and the only treatment lies in continued exposure. Yes, the mania, the fever, the fervor are contagious and habit forming—and, in our lives along and beyond the Mississippi, we applaud the addiction!

- Cheryl & Jean