The science of tailgating: Bowling Green style

Tailgating has always been a very important part of sports culture. It provides time for sports enthusiasts to meet other fans and talk about the game, as well as barbecuing and well, drinking a lot.

It also brings fans to the stadium parking lot hours before the gates even open. While many students are still sleeping, tailgaters are already six beers deep.

Matt Polachek, senior, has been tailgating ever since he was a freshman and is always out at the stadium at least two hours before game time.

“I usually try to get out there four hours before the game,” Polachek said. “Some games, if they are at noon, are hard to get out four hours early, so we get there around two hours early.”

And that is when the festivities begin.

“[Besides drinking] more and more you will get good cookouts,” he said. “A lot of people’s parents show up and it is nice to get food because not everyone just wants to sit around and drink.”

Drew Borchers, junior, started tailgating in high school for local high school football games and has also tailgated here on campus all three years.

Borchers said there are many other things going on during tailgating besides drinking.

“Usually we’ll have cornhole or people playing football,” Borchers said.

“Parents come in, alumni and a lot of other people just come up and hang out to catch up and share ideas to make tailgating better.”

For a lot of students, tailgating is about just getting to know more people and a place to hang out before the football game.

“For me, it’s just the chance to get out and have some fun with new people, if you go to a party you usually hang out with the same people,” Borchers said.

“At tailgating you get to see new people and random people just come up and start talking; it is a better all around atmosphere.”

Both Borchers and Polachek have gone to home and away games and experienced differences in atmosphere; however they both say that the home field is a better tailgating atmosphere.

“I go to the away games when I get the chance,” Borchers said. “Home is more fun though because you have all of your friends around you and you don’t have to worry about ticking too many people off.”

Polachek agrees that home games are more fun, but he does like to go to the away games to see what fans from other colleges do differently.

Another reason tailgating is so popular is because it creates life-long memories.

“The best part of tailgating is just the people; you form a lot of friendships,” Borchers said. “You make a lot of good memories and those will stay in my mind more than anything else.”