This is a blog that originally ran on TailgateJam.com.
Every week I make my way through crowds of tailgaters on my way to work. I’ve been a member of the sports media for the last 10 years. I’ve seen my share of sporting events and tailgates. The amount of preparation and attention to detail for some of the tailgaters amazes and impresses me. There’s also a sense of camaraderie knowing that we’re all there for the same reason. We want to enjoy the game day experience.
But it doesn’t come without challenges. Many people feel overwhelmed by the amount of planning that goes into tailing and others feel intimidated by the sports crowd. They’re fans, but don’t feel comfortable joining the conversation once they get to the tailgate or game.
Here’s how to tackle game day preps and conquer conversation fears at the same time:
1. Know before you go – Take 5 minutes to do some prep work. Turn on SportsCenter or sports radio while making your menu checklist. You won’t hear every headline or sports story, but you’ll have a good idea of what everyone else is talking about. And you’ll be ready to hit the grocery store for your menu selections.
2. Plan to contribute – Just like you would bring a side dish to contribute to a tailgate party, be prepared to contribute at least one good sports topic or conversation starter. Your guests and fellow tailgaters will appreciate some direction in the conversation, and you will look like a rock star.
3. Don’t over think it – Gourmet tailgates offer a nice change of pace but don’t over look the old standbys. There’s a reason they’re favorites. The same thing applies to sports conversations. No need to turn it into an hour-long commentary. Just showing an interest in a particular sport, player or game can be enough to get a conversation going.
There you have it. A few things to think about as you make plans for a Seahawks tailgate this week or perhaps you’re thinking ahead to the Apple Cup matchup a couple weeks from now in Pullman. Either way, enjoy and happy talking!