It was around 8:15 Saturday morning, cruising across I-70 in Nowhere, MO when I opened my eyes from my brief nap and saw the first of many tiger tails whipping in the wind. The familiar site of the tiger tail attached to the trunk of the SUV brought a smile to my face. Sure it was week 3 of the season, sure there had already been two Mizzou victories, but this was the first home game; the first tailgate, the first day of watching football in the open air, and I was ready….
Tailgating: I arrived at my family’s tailgate a little before 9:30 Saturday morning. My dad had everything set up and he and Robin were well into their first Bloody Mary (maybe second; I can’t be sure). The spread was great: cheese and crackers, crab dip, smoked salmon, home-made chocolate chip peanut butter cookies,… Of course that was just to snack on. The meal for the day was your typical tailgate food: hamburgers, brats, potato salad, chips, and deviled eggs. I opted for a burger with blue cheese, but not before having several beers and laughs. You need to understand something about my father and our tailgates. Well, we generally have a party between 5 and 7, but there is enough beer and food to feed an army… well, at least an army of 20. Additionally, he does not stand for just one kind of beer. (Hello, you never know what you’re going to be in the mood for when you’re in tailgate mode!) That’s right; at this typical tailgate of 5 (with a few drop-bys) you had your choice of Bloody Mary’s, screwdrivers, Bud Select, Michelob Light, Dos Equis, and Negra Modelo. You will never find Miller Light at our tailgates, as my family refers to it as “piss water”.
Along with the food and drink, the weather further enhanced the tailgating experience. Dear God, what a (expletive) beautiful day! Generally the first home game is nasty hot. The “mountain dew” flows, and the college girls with their near crotch-bearing denim skirts make the old men sweat even more. Not Saturday though. When we started tailgating it was in the 50s. I had to wear a sweatshirt and even warm my hands over the grill a few times. The sun came out just in time for the game, but I still doubt the temperature exceeded 75 degrees. However, it was pretty sunny, and a few of us got a little too much sun. I’ll definitely remember my 50-proof next week.
The Game: Well, the Tigers beat Western Michigan 52-24, and managed to scrape their way to the bottom of the AP Top 25. For a 3rd week in a row, we had a lacking second half. I’m not sure what the Gary Pinkel half-time speech is like, but I’m fairly certain it involves a margarita machine. This game put an end to Chase Daniel’s non-interception streak. There were also a couple inexplicable drops, particularly one by Bracey. If I remember correctly, Chase Coffman dropped a couple, which is forgivable since I’ve only seen him drop one additional pass EVER. To tell the truth I was kind of upset when I left the game. I thought we gave up too many points and questioned how we would ever stop the run during conference play. However, I gave it more thought, and realized I was being a little too human and my attitude was based on pre-set expectations. When a team is expected to do well, people can’t seem to just appreciate the win. We hate the coach because of the decisions he made on the 4th down during bowl play 2 and 3 years ago. As the canon blairs yet another touchdown, we grumble that our horrible kick-off coverage will kill us against Nebraska. We refuse to enjoy the win. Yet, when we have a losing team, like our basketball team, we don’t get upset when we can’t even make the NIT NIT. Humans are weird, including me. And guess what? We gave up 24 points to Western Michigan. Well, so did 5th ranked West Virginia. I think I’ll stop complaining… until next Saturday.
Game Highlight: During the game you hear the people around you, the loud speaker, the sounds in your head, etc. Sometimes you happen to hear the cheerleaders start a new cheer, like I did Saturday. There we were, getting ready to punt the ball, when I hear, “T-D, we want a touch-down….” Ummm… yeah, we sure do kids, we sure do…..
Closer: This is merely for inquiry purposes. I got home in time for the Nebraska vs. USC game and during the second half they had a game-song of the night, or something. Anyway, they broke into Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road”. I’m guessing they were Nebraska players lip syncing, but I wasn’t paying that much attention. Anyway, some of them had cornstalks on their heads. It was ridiculous! Did Boyz II Men just reach Lincoln? I saw them in concert in 1995 and that was kind of late. Please tell me someone else saw this. I’ve been having some crazy dreams lately, but COME ON! Plus, Justice Clarence Thomas spoke afterwards. I know I didn’t dream that….