Don’t Get Fenced in: Tailgating Wisely
by Jennifer Jordan
As all of us wait anxiously for the start of the NFL season – T minus three and a half months – we can’t help but get excited for tailgating: tailgating at minicamps, tailgating at training camp, tailgating at preseason games, and tailgating at regular season games. Whatever it is we are tailgating for, it’s time to bring on the burgers and the beer: tailgating is one heck of a fun time.
But, anything fun – particularly anything fun that involves fire – is not without its dangers. For this reason, it’s important to keep safety in mind whenever you tailgate for anything. Protecting yourself and making smart decisions will help make sure you don’t get fenced into a bad situation.
Put out Your Fire: Whether you are grilling on a portable BBQ or using a fire pit, be sure to never leave your tailgate area while any sign of a fire still exists. If the coals are still smoking, still hot, or still orange, there is still potential for a fire to start. Instead of letting them cool off naturally, throw water on them to expedite the process. Knowing the coals are all out will keep you from having to worry about someone coming over the loud speaker to tell you that your Honda is ablaze…..and its light are on.
Take Up Only One Parking Spot: No one really cares for “that guy” who takes up two or three parking spaces with his monster truck, making sure he has a whole row to call his own. While it might not bother you to take up more than one spot, it will bother other people and that has the potential to cause fights (particularly when alcohol is involved). Instead of being a spot-hog, reflect back on the lectures of your kindergarten teacher and remember to share.
Don’t Park in or Block a Fire Lane: It may seem like a good idea to take up the fire lane: the chances of an emergency are minimal. But, in the event that there is an emergency, you will find yourself, and your conscience, in big trouble for blocking the access of first responders. Even if there isn’t an emergency, you might go into a football game only to return to the parking lot and find your car ticketed, booted, towed, or, if the football game is in New York, swimming with the fishes.
Lock your Doors: Those of you who tailgate probably bring a lot of stuff with you: BBQ’s, charcoal, alcohol, lawn chairs, coolers, food. These may serve as essentials for the tailgating experience, but they also serve as a buffet for petty criminals. Instead of inviting robbers in, lock your doors and hide your belongings in places they are not easily spotted: the trunk, under seats, or under blankets. If a thief isn’t able to get away with your stuff quickly, they will probably move on to easier prey.
Clean up Your Mess: Making a mess is fun, cleaning one up…well, not so much. Still, cleaning up your mess after tailgating is essential in keeping tailgating from being banned at NFL and other stadiums. If loads of trash are continually left in parking lots because of tailgaters, tailgaters may just find themselves only able to tailgate in their own driveways. For some reason, that just doesn’t cut it.