As many of you that have followed the site for any length of time already know, my background in the United States Air Force deals with meteorology. So, generally, when I run into people that I haven't seen in a long time, the sequence of questions generally goes like this:
-Question 1: "Hey, Gonz, haven't seen you in forever, what are you up to?" (Well, I forecast weather for the Air Force.)
-Question 2: "So, what do you think the weather's going to be like?"
Now, the next opportunity that fans of the Beloved Purple are going to have to tailgate at home is going to be prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills on 5 December. You don't necessarily have to be a meteorologist in order to know what the weather is most likely going to be like. . .it's going to be freaking cold. In fact, according to the folks at The Weather Channel, the high temperature for that day is currently forecast to be a bright, balmy 24 degrees, with winds coming at about 15 miles an hour. That's going to put the wind chill near the single digits.
But does this have to stop you from tailgating? Certainly not. . .but only if you use common sense. After the jump, we'll give you a few tips that you can use to keep the party going when the mercury gets on the low site.
The first one is one that seems to go against what most people do when they tailgate. . .avoid consuming too much alcohol. While alcohol may make you feel warm. . .and quite possibly even fuzzy. . .it doesn't actually raise your body temperature. As a matter of fact, it might even cool off your body and could even contribute to hypothermia.
Next up, while it's important to bundle up, obviously, you're going to want to dress in layers. If you have some sort of a fleece or something woolen, they're pretty good ideas, and something that's going to protect you from snow and/or freezing precipitation. (You can even go with the George Costanza-esque Gore-tex if you like.) Bring more than you need. . .if you get too warm, you can always take a layer off. If you get cold and need to add more, you're going to be in trouble.
Another obvious way to stay warm is to eat and drink hot foods. If you have a killer recipe for chili or something similar, make that your tailgate nosh of choice that day. Get yourself a cheap thermos and fill it full of something like coffee or hot apple cider or (my personal favorite) hot chocolate and drink it to keep yourself warm.
Also, be sure to move around while you're tailgating. Even something simple as walking around the tailgate area will get your blood circulating and keep you warm. You could bring a football to toss around or something like that as an alternative. Or, if you feel crazy enough, you can dance to some of the music that's play or, hey, hug a cute girl/guy or something. You know, body heat and all that. (WITH THEIR CONSENT, obviously. I am not bailing any of you out of jail, understand?)
There are a couple of other levels of personal protection you can take, too. If you're going to be sitting down to eat or something like that, make sure to bring a blanket to wrap yourself up in while you eat. If you have the grace and the agility to do so. . .which, sadly, I do not. . .you can wrap yourself up in your blanket while you're walking around and stuff, too. In addition, if you get to your tailgating location early enough and have the space and the means of securing it, you can even set up a canopy to keep some of the snow off of you. Make sure it's a waterproof canopy, though. . .sort of defeats the purpose if it's not.
Yeah, the rest of the Vikings' home games are going to be awfully cold, for the most part, particularly the Monday night game against the Bears in mid-December. . .but that shouldn't stop you from being the Captain of the Tailgate, as long as you use some common sense and protect yourself from the elements.
One alternative that will generally not work? Bringing someone like Marisa Miller to your tailgate. Is she hot? Well, yeah. . .duh. Will this keep you warm during your tailgating experience? Probably not so much, no.