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Thank You: An Open Letter To Generous Penn State Tailgaters

Football Tailgating RV Park

You wake up on a football Saturday. You grab your phone to check the latest Onward State articles. But once you turn it on, you realize you have four messages from four different people — each of them with a pin-dropped tailgate location. It’s going to be a good day.

At each tailgate you visit, there are three things you can almost always depend on. First, a vehicle (obviously). Second, some good ole’ fashion “We Are!” spirit. And last, but definitely not least, you will almost always encounter a mom, dad, uncle, aunt, grandma, grandpa, or anyone else begging you to take as much food and drink as you’d like.

I always try to say “thank you” before I leave a tailgate. But sometimes, you can’t find who provided the food. Or, you had to make a quick run to the cocktagon before you even got the chance. So, I wanted to sit down and write a warm, heartfelt letter to all the generous tailgates that give freely. This is a thank you letter from every Penn State student who roams the tailgate lots on Saturdays.

Dear every Penn State tailgate…ever,

Thank you for supplying us broke, hungry, and (perhaps) drunk college students with free food and drink every home game. Even when we stumble upon your tailgate and you have absolutely no idea who we are, you still encompass that “We Are” attitude in freely and kindly forcing buffalo chicken dip down our throats. As soon as you see that we have a Penn State shirt on, you take us in as your own children. You feed us, quench our thirst, and provide us a place to sit with some games to play — all while expecting absolutely nothing in return.

Thank you for not asking about the ~heinous~ acts we did last night or the STAT 200 exam we failed this week. You care not who we are, what we have done, or where we woke up that morning. Your priority is providing us with a good time and fueling us up to be the best student section in the nation.

Thank you for being so warm and welcoming when the rest of our day is going to be filled with people who aren’t. I’m talking about the security guards who will soon treat us like prisoners of war for trying to get back to our seats. Or the bartenders who will refuse to serve us because we are “visibly intoxicated” or whatever. In a day that can often be filled with people who are so mean and so cold, you are a beacon of comfort.

Thank you to those who bring Coke products. You don’t understand the hell we’re going through living on a Pepsi campus. Every day, we wake up depressed because of it. On Saturdays, though, we know that at least one of the tailgates we come across will have an ice-cold Diet Coke.

Thank you for continuing to be there, week in and week out. It feels like every football season is a disappointment. We assert that this will “be our year.” It won’t be. But, you will still be there for every game. Win or lose. Rain or shine. You will still be there supporting the team and, potentially unknowingly, supporting us — the students of Penn State University.

Thank you.

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About the Author

Rico Gore

Rico is a junior advertising major from Pittsburgh who has been with Onward State since his freshman year. He loves to drink Diet Coke and eat Mexican food. You can follow Rico on Instagram @RealBigRico and TikTok @RealBigRico.

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