Whether or not you attended a Southeastern Conference (SEC) soccer game, you probably heard the stories of the rows of tents and everyone crowded below them before the game started. Tailgating is a long tradition of southern soccer games and A kickoff isn’t complete without first having a BBQ and fried chicken meal surrounded by all of your friends.
Tailgating may look very different this fall as face masks and social distancing put a damper on some activities. But hopefully we can still partake in at least some of my favorite aspects of this southern-style fun!
Tents and traditions
The SEC is known for decorating rear tents and fans dedicated to them. For the Saturday games, some schools like Mississippi State University have services that begin setting up tents on Wednesday. At other schools, dedicated fans will wake up before the sun comes up on game day to secure their place. No matter where you are, Every school has die-hard fans and time-honored traditions. For example, Texas A&M has “The Midnight Yell,” where the Aggies start a party at midnight on game day by packing in Kyle Field. Other traditions include “Kickoff on the Quad” at the University of Alabama and the 22 Cockabooses around Williams Brice Stadium at the University of South Carolina. Wherever you go, each school has its own traditions that make your tailgating experience special and different from any other school.
Snacks and screens
However, there are some parts of the tailgate that remain the same throughout the south. For starters, No tent is complete without a table with an impressive selection of food. No matter where you go, chances are you can find a tent with enough potato salad and corn dip to feed an army. Another common aspect is the televisions. Certain tents have large televisions so fans can watch other soccer games either before or after the big one they are dressed for, which leads me to another similarity.
Fashion and fanatics
Regardless of the city, there are always decorated members in the crowd. From plaid overalls in white and orange at the University of Tennessee to light blue pants at the University of Kentucky. No clothes are too fancy. Some fans also like to go the opposite way and are distinguished by the fact that they wear less clothes. You will work with a group where everyone paints their chests and faces with their school colors and a slogan about how their school will beat the opposing team.
Another thing that connects fans is the school mascot. Every school has one and every fan is proud of it. At Auburn University, where their battle chant may be “War Eagle” for the eagle they release to fly around the stadium before kick-off, their mascot is actually Aubie the Tiger. As different as all schools are, they have some similar aspects that bind them together.
Home away from home
With all the colorful tents and enthusiastic fans, everyone has their own tailgating experience. For me, my story started before I was even born. Much of my mother’s family attended Mississippi State University. Growing up I had a baby cowbell necklace and watched a lot of games. I couldn’t attend some of the games in person, however Every time I stepped on the intersection, the focal point of the MSU tailgate, I felt something special. I’ve always known that MSU is a unique place to see some wonderful people dressed in maroon and white. When I decided to go to the beautiful university, I couldn’t wait for the football season. Now my family is part of a tent with many other families from home. Whether it’s scorching hot or raining, we wouldn’t miss a game for the world. Closing a tailgate with friends made as a college student is an amazing experience That I wouldn’t act for the world I had always enjoyed tailgating, but after I became a student, my love for it grew even more.
While the universities are rivals in the SEC, Tailgating is something that fans of every school live for and look forward to every fall. It’s a great way for old friends to reconnect, reunite families, and enjoy fans, delicious food, and great company. Regardless of the school, tailgating is a wonderful experience for fans in the south and one of the best aspects of SEC football.
Pearson Students: What Traditions Does Your School Have? Share by commenting below!
Mary Nielson Clinton is studying Public Relations and Marketing at Mississippi State University and will graduate in May 2022. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends, volunteering in the Starkville community, or getting involved on her incredible campus. She is a big fan of her Australian shepherd named Rusty and, among other things, a tour guide for MSU. She is honored to be a Pearson Campus Ambassador on her campus and has enjoyed every second of it.
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