This past Sunday I went to my first Jets tailgate of the season. Not game, tailgate. I have not attended a game in the new MetLife Stadium. Have had no desire to lay anything out to watch a team make their fans invest and suffer more than a Facebook stockholder.
Now I may not have the experience and knowledge to go in depth about some problems the team has on the field I can sure talk about off field happenings. Especially when it comes to tailgating.
For the first time I paid to be in a stadium lot rather than walk over from the Sheraton. We did have to walk over from the Izod using the cattle bridge but at least we were among the Jets tailgating faithful. While making the trek from the Izod to the J & L yellow parking section,s I noticed a few things that made my heart sank as a Jets fan and tailgating analyst (made up title, I know).
The fisrt thing that was not just obvious, but rampant was the garbage left in the lots after tailgating. I am not talking about after the game, I am talking about after tailgating leading into kick off. It was disgusting. Empty bottles strewn, half filled garbage bags left to collapse, and half eaten food noticeably in the lane of traffic.
One tailgate in L5 even left their entire set up available to all. Not just some sandwiches left on the table, but an open van, DJ equipment, speakers, a popcorn machine, and more just left unattended as if to say “take me”.
Now there was a tailgate across from the unattended one that was watching the game from their tailgate. But it is not their responsibility to watch over another tailgates gear. Either clean up or do not set up.
Now I know a good portion of the port-a-potty’s have been taken away, that does not mean one should relieve themselves in the parking lot between cars. Have more class than that. Either use a port-a-john or head to the weeds/brush. You make yourself and others around you look classless.
When the PSL’s were first offered, a large fall off of season ticket holders did not carry over to MetLife Stadium. Many of these ticket holders could trace their ticket roots to the Polo Grounds or Shea Stadium. A wave of younger, more active, social conscious tailgater came to the forefront.
A few of the tailgates we passed seemed to keep partying going from the night before in Hoboken. Complete with music pushed to eleven and dancing. Now I can understand loud music to get ready for a game. Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, AC/DC, and other music like that. I just can’t see club music as the style to motivate warriors.
My wife en pointed out one or two that couldn’t hold it together. One guy couldn’t be considerate and hold a girls hair so she does not get vomit on it. Not a true gentleman. Tailgating before a game should not have to get to that point.
No one is saying to not crank it up and have a blast. Just do it in a way that does not draw unwanted attention to yourself & your friends. The Jets have a proud tradition of loyalty from their fans. Many still remember the days of the Titans at the Polo Grounds.
Tailgating has been about a ritual of great food, friends, and brew to drive us crazy for an upcoming battle. If it was meant to bring the club to the parking lot complete with annoying music, binge drinking, & certain fans who really seem to be there for the party and not for the game, then the winds of change barely made a faint wisp.
One was able to notice a change in the tailgating climate once Giants Stadium fell. Many that I knew and had been to for my documentary did not make the change. Their tickets or seats purchased by a younger ticket holder. The new element that has taken over the transition of tailgating in the color coded lots.
The socially connected fan who remains wired, in network, ,or addicted to wi-fi in any situation. Tweeting by the minute or Instagraming a picture, booty shaking on the trailer. I can remember when tailgating was about tailgating.
Go, have a great time, make some new friends, and feast away. Just act accordingly and don’t give a reason to bring forth unwanted attention to you and others around you. Personally, why would one want to give other fans a reason to speak worse about them than they already do.
Tomorrow night the Jets take on the 4-0 Houston Texans. Monday Night Football games are in prime-time and so are the ans. Have a tailgate that makes the SportsCenter Top 10, not the Not Top 10. Even though some of that stuff is funny. Have others laugh with you, not at you. Now that’s memorable.