With the start of college football season comes the start of tailgating season. Tailgating, as defined by the online dictionary, is “to participate in a picnic that is served from the tailgate of a vehicle, as before a sports event.” While tailgating at UCF might not match this exact definition, we knights bring our own style with tents, lawn chairs, and foldout tables strewn across the Memory Mall.
According to AmericanTailgatersAssociation.org, it’s rumored that tailgating was first introduced to competitive sports back in 1869 during the first college football match between Rutgers University and Princeton University. Football in those days was still more similar to rugby than modern American football. Fans of both teams arrived prior to the start of the match for a pre-celebration, similar to modern tailgating.
Food, drinks, and even games such as ‘corn hole’ have now become hallmarks of tailgating as fans gather hours before the game to rally support for their team. Here at UCF our student population of over 60,000 holds a massive tailgate before moving the excitement into Brighthouse Stadium.
The UCF Knights website encourages students or anyone planning on tailgating to “be respectful to university property and all of the fans around them” and “clean up their trash”. It’s important to have a good time but be responsible as well.
By tailgating, UCF students are not only carrying on a collegiate tradition, but an American tradition. I encourage my fellow knights to grab a couple lawn chairs, 12 or even 24 packs of ‘beverages’ and head out to the tailgating events this season. Do it for your UCF! Do it for America!