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Football Season COVID Edition

Football season has been underway for a little while, but today is especially exciting because it is the return of BIG10 Football which means it is prime time for one of my favorite past times! As a BIG fan of college football (Go Terps! 🐢), it is one of the many reasons why Fall is my favorite season. As if the game itself is not enough to get you excited, throwing a well-planned tailgate is the best way to start the day. With the COVID Pandemic, I know this football season looks quite different and many of our favorite Saturday traditions are not happening, but it does not mean they are not possible!

Here are my tips on safe ways to gather, celebrate, and cheer on your alma mater/favorite teams:

Support your local sports bar/restaurant

  • Restaurants are doing a great job finding creative solutions to accommodate diners while following COVID guidelines. Check out your neighborhood bars to #supportlocal while celebrating your favorite team!
  • Although many alumni associations are not able to host in-person game watches, there are typically bars/restaurants in every city which are a gathering place for certain alma maters. Even if it is not an organized gathering by the alumni association, restaurants still want to see their regular clients and support the teams they traditional do, so give them a call and see if they will televise the game.
    • If you are new to an area, connect with your local alumni chapter to get the scoop for your team.
  • Plan ahead: During these times, restaurants appreciate reservations more than ever, so call ahead and reserve a table whenever you can!

Move your TV outside, run a cable to your garage, and host a tailgate in your driveway! If you do not have a garage/driveway, there are plenty of other ways to get creative and make this happen (i.e. use a patio space).

    1. Get in the Team Spirit!Tie in your team colors and symbols to the table, tent, and lawn decor.
      • Dress the part! It is time to break out those team tees, dresses in your team colors, and accessories that add to the team spirit.
        • In keeping with COVID guidelines, many schools now sell masks with the university logo, mascot, etc. so you can rep your team while still keeping yourself and others safe!
      • Football shaped food and mascot inspired trays or desserts are always a hit!
      • Make a signature cocktail for your theme or your team, use festive drink stirs, and serve a beer that ties into your team name or is from your team’s state!
    2. Plan Ahead! Tailgates can range in size from small and simple to large and extravagant (I have seen it all!). No matter what size your tailgate, the following always apply:
      • Amidst COVID, ensure you take an accurate survey of your location and invite only the appropriate number of individuals based on social distancing needs.
        • Concerned about leaving people out because you have to downsize? Rotate your group each week!
      • Be sure to have an accurate count of attendees and buy/make your dishes accordingly (aka always make extra). Running out of food and beverages is never a good thing!
      • Have plenty of ice for drinks and food. Keep any food that needs refrigerated in coolers and ensure it will stay cold for the duration of the day or else you will have to dispose of it (you do not want anyone to get sick).
      • Label your coolers to avoid confusion.
      • Remember to have a trash can and recycling bin easily accessible.
      • Plan for the weather! If it’s a chilly day, have your favorite team sweaters and stadium blankets ready, but also look into options for outdoor heating. Rain in the forecast? Get ready to set-up those tents!
      • “It’s a noon kick-off, how do I tailgate for breakfast?!” Rally with donuts, bagels, egg bakes, grilled bacon/ham/etc, bloody Marys, and mimosas!
    3. There Is More to Tailgating than Eating. While the food (and drinks) usually take center stage at any tailgate, there are plenty of other fun things to do as well!
      • Be an excellent host and introduce guests to those who do not know each other.
      • Have lawn games! Corn hole, ladder ball, bocce ball, and playing football in the yard are all fun ways to get people up and moving.
      • Have chairs for people to take a rest. You do not need enough for every person, but a decent number is always appreciated!
    4. Not Hosting, Just Invited to Tailgate?
      • Ask what dish, dessert, or drinks you can contribute to the tailgate.
      • Always help with clean up!
      • If you have your own chairs, it is always a friendly gesture to bring them.

No matter which way you choose to watch the game, one thing to remember is to be inclusive, not confrontational. While we all have our favorite teams and love our alma mater, be inclusive of those who may be cheering for the other team. While a little bit of friendly banter is always fun, avoid getting into arguments or confrontations with fans of the other team. Remember, you are there to have fun – not to “bad mouth” others!

Wishing y’all a wonderful time with your alternate football Saturday plans!

AB

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