The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

A brief history of tailgating

It’s a time honored American tradition, the gathering of friends, family and sports fans alike, sporting events would not be the same without tailgating. Through the years this pastime has gained recognition as a recreational circuit of camaraderie and sportsmanship. Unfortunately it will not be happening much, if at all at CSUN.

‘ Blame it on our lack of a football team, or the fact that the school has infamously been labeled as a commuter campus, whatever the reason CSUN and tailgating are not synonymous. In college football, tailgating has been a show of school and team spirit. Every time this year, our parking lots are silent no hot dogs and beer on the back of a ’67 Chevy pickup for us Matadors.

For those who are lucky enough to partake in the festivities, say those brawny Bruins or top-of-the-heap Trojans, tailgate parties serve as a celebration before the nerve-racking kickoff.

Though it may be hard to believe, tailgating was named for the propensity of partygoers to literally open their tailgates for food and fun. These eponymous parties started before cars were even invented.’

The first collegiate football game, between Ivy League School Rutgers and Princeton in 1869, brought with it a tradition of having a pregame meal of’ fish and game for the athletes, said Chris Warner in ‘Tailgating’hellip;The Colorful History of America’s Biggest Sporting Pastime.’

Even at that first football game, fans wanted to be part of the pregame festivities. While the players had their own nosh, fans that traveled to the game by carriage grilled sausages at the tail end of the horse, according to the online encyclopedia of tailgating. Although the back of a horse may not be as appealing, the general idea was the same, if a bit more odorous.

The advent of cars, and perhaps more importantly, electricity, brought a new dimension of formality to the outdoor gatherings. Outdoor lighting allowed games to be played at night which brought with it cooler temperatures and fancier dress. Women wore stylish frocks and teamed colored corsages while men sported coats and ties, said Warner in the article.
‘ The dress code of the 1930’s tailgate enthusiasts may be a far cry from modern-day coed’s apparel, but team colors can still dominate the parking lot landscape.

Warner said, the tendency of fans to indulge in pregame parties continued unabated for the next half century. In the early 90’s, what had always been a thriving subculture, exploded onto the national radar. Television featured sports pre-game shows set within the tailgating atmosphere. Since then, tailgate parties have continued to grow, ultimately becoming as exciting, if not more than, the main attraction.

A blip in the party-hardy radar came in 2007 in what can only be described as football blasphemy. The NFL banned tailgating at the holy Mecca of football events, Super Bowl XLI in Miami because of what they described as safety concerns. Outraged fans questioned the leagues integrity, blaming corporate sponsorship issues rather than safety concerns as the real reason behind the ban and circulated a successful petition to have the practice reinstated at this year’s Super Bowl.

The history of tailgating is as long as that of football itself. Its many incarnations have changed with the decades, but the constants of food, fun, and fans, have remained the all important ingredients to a successful pregame-parking-lot party.

And though Bruins and Trojans may not agree on much, the importance of a rowdy tailgating spectacle is something that is definitely neither blue nor red.

‘The best part of football season is going to the tailgate parties,’ said Bruin Becky Kendall. ‘I love tailgating, it’s more fun than the actual game!’ Trojan Lauren Pike agreed.

More to Discover