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Plight of a Tailgating Rookie

Right now the Minnesota Vikings' stadium bill is stuck in limbo (along with Minnesota's budget) until Governor Mark Dayton calls a special session of the Minnesota Legislature. Until then, legislators are at home pressing flesh and coming up with sound bites to prove their worth to the public, kind of makes me think of that segment on the Daily Show with John Stewart, Great Moments in Punditry. There's nothing quite like hearing children using political doublespeak. I sincerely hope that the Minnesota legislators' constituents are encouraging them to pass the Vikings' stadium bill, but, in all honesty, I'm getting kind of burned out talking about it.

For the moment, I have hit my limit in talking about the stadium so, even though I should be writing about the financial benefit to the state of Minnesota in keeping the Vikings, I don't feel like it. You're probably tired of reading about it too. So, it's handy that I write for the Daily Norseman where Chris let's us do pretty much whatever we want. Therefore, today is all about tailgating.

I was very, very small when the Vikings moved out of the old Metropolitan Stadium and into the Metrodome, so I never got to experience the culture and tradition of tailgating. Sure, I know there are hardcore folks who still tailgate before Vikings games (even when lots for tailgating are located ridiculously far away from the Dome), but tailgating took a real hit when the Vikings moved into the Dome. And I'm jealous I missed out on tailgating's heyday.

More stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with the stadium debate after the jump.

While my family had our own version of "tailgating", it would likely make a tailgating purist cringe--we had Taco Sunday. Taco Sunday was my mother's invention, we would go to Taco Bell or Taco John's either before the game or during halftime, pick up vast quantities of tacos, and then crowd onto my parents' bed to eat and watch the game. Fun though it was, there's a certain amount of stain-related danger when excitable* little girls are eating messy, greasy tacos during a football game--the comforter on my parents' bed probably wouldn't have survived if it hadn't been for copious amounts of Tide laundry detergent.

Like I said, it was fun, but I'm well aware that Taco Sunday wasn't really tailgating. However, if the plan the Wilf's unveiled for an Arden Hills stadium is any indication, I may finally get a shot at experiencing tailgating the way it was meant to be.

The problem is, I have no idea how to really tailgate. Is it just about the food and hanging out before a game or is more stuff involved? Is this strictly a group activity, or could you tailgate by yourself? Is there a kind of tailgating code?

I have no clue.

Oh, and it gets worse, because, in addition to my ignorance about tailgating, I've recently become a vegetarian. Don't laugh, vegetarianism really sucks. I'm probably the most morose vegetarian you'll ever meet. I didn't want to become a vegetarian, but after the book The China Study, it's difficult not to become vegetarian. It sucks even more because grilling season is upon us and, while I like the meatless products Morningstar Farms Foods makes, it just isn't the same as a Johnsonville all-beef brat. Or, for my California friends, there is no good substitute for a Double-Double animal-style from In-N-Out. Yes, this whole vegetarian thing truly sucks.

My gripes about vegetarianism aside, I've got some time to learn the fine art of tailgating before grilling starts in Arden Hills (I like to think positively about it), and this seems like a good chance to solicit information and tips from the wide world of football fans. C'mon, I can't be the only person out there who missed out on tailgating at the Met (or anywhere else), so with summer just around the corner and grills firing up around the country I'm asking you to teach me, and any of the other tailgating rookies out there, to tailgate.

*My sister and I inherited those excitable tendencies from our mother. It was dangerous to sit near mom when she was drinking coffee and watching the Vikings.