Tailgate Survival Guide: How To Make It To The 8 p.m. Kickoff
“That kid’s gonna puke, we need to move,” he told me, staring at the underage kid behind us whose face was taking the term “Whiteout” to a whole new level. It’s October 27, 2012, and Penn State is taking on Ohio State in a night whiteout game. Bill O’Brien’s bowl-banned Nittany Lions were riding a five game winning streak, and the undefeated Buckeyes were the 9th-ranked team in the country, similarly ineligible for the postseason. By the time the game kicked off, the kid had proceeded to throw up all over himself, get ejected, and take his friends with him.
By halftime, the magic of that 2012 season was evident. The game was knotted at 7-7, and there was legitimate hope that we could knock off the Buckeyes. I hadn’t felt that much energy in Beaver Stadium in my life, not even during the 409 game (0f course, Michigan last year clearly topped it). Matt McGloin’s third quarter interception ended up being the nail in the coffin, but the environment in that stadium combined with a full day of drinking led to both an incredible experience and stands that smelled like vomit for an hour.
Here at Onward State, we’d like you to be able to enjoy your Whiteout experience this weekend without being “that kid” while hopefully capturing the same energy level. Late starts are a beautiful thing. Being able to sleep in, starting to tailgate in the afternoon instead of early morning, and watching a game under the lights at Beaver Stadium is the basis for a perfect day in any Penn Stater’s book. However, if there are dangers associated with a 5 p.m. start, an 8 p.m. one can only exacerbate them. Here’s our step-by-step guide to surviving kickoff after dark, use it wisely.
1) Start drinking late
I know, I know, you don’t want to hear this. But if you try and drink for twelve straight hours before the game, odds are you aren’t making it past the first quarter. Start around 3 p.m. — it’ll give you plenty of time to tailgate and you’ll actually survive the length of the game. It may seem lame, but man, it’s a whiteout against Ohio State, and you want to be there all four quarters.
2) Slip in some water every now and then
We know you’re not going to drink a glass of water for every drink you have, that’s absurd. So let’s propose a realistic solution: drink a few bottles over the course of the day, and you’ll be better off for it. Plus, think about how thirsty you get in the stands as it approaches halftime. If you re-hydrate yourself early on, that won’t be as much of an issue. Not all liquids are created equally.
3) Don’t get arrested
If you get arrested, you will not be seeing the end of the game, because you will be in jail. They probably won’t even let you watch it on TV. Don’t get arrested and you’ll have a much better time.
4) Sit down as much as you can
This is good advice for any game, but especially this game. You’re going to be up all day, and you’re going to be tired. Stay off your feet as best you can. If it means taking a few games of Kan Jam off, it will pay off in the end. Your knees, feet, and will to live will all thank you right around the middle of the third quarter.
5) It’s a marathon, not a sprint
You have a lot of time to party. Like, a LOT of time. Consider that when you pour your fifth shot ski of the day and it hasn’t even hit 2 p.m. This is different from a noon start against Northwestern, so treat it as such. If you do start early, go slow at the beginning and speed up at the end as it approaches game time, but watch yourself. You don’t want to be the guy who didn’t even make it in to Beaver Stadium.
6) Red Bull-based drinks
Realistically, what kind of college student is legitimately concerned with their heart’s health? Go ask the Phyrst how many trash cans they sell on an average weekend night. This liquid gold can of goodness will allow you to rage all day, with the only consequence being an incredibly shortened lifespan. Worth it, in my opinion. Just make sure you drink at least double the amount of water you would normally, because the dehydration from energy drinks is a dangerous reality.
You need to eat. Tailgate food is awesome, and you need to consume a lot of it continuously. Soak up some of the alcohol and give your body some sort of nutrition, even if it’s in the form of a bacon cheeseburger. Fuel your personal body torture test with something. Burgers, dogs, steaks, a box of donuts, whatever. Put something in your stomach before the game, or you’re going to be miserable either waiting in line for chicken fingers for an hour or having your stomach churn for four quarters.
We encourage you to take all of these ideas to heart and enjoy what will hopefully be a legendary upset for the Nittany Lions. Have fun, stay safe, and make sure you don’t forget these tips.