The Tailgater's Handbook How-To Section or (Tailgating 101)

The Four Cs

Do you know what the four Cs are? If you don't it's probably because you're a man. However, I'll bet your woman does. The four Cs are the considerations people have when buying a diamond. They stand for cut, color, clarity and carrot weight. When a man buys his gal a diamond he looks at the four Cs and gets the best deal he can making sure the color, clarity, and cut are what he wants. Maybe more important, he gets a certain carrot weight. That's because everyone talks about a full carrot or a two carrot diamond and so on. Interestingly, the cost a man will spend on a diamond for his fiancee is always the same. It's, “All he can afford and just a little more.” Tailgating should be just like buying a diamond. You should think about the four Cs.

Grown up tailgaters don't paint their bodies. They don't drink too much beer. And they don't overeat. An adult tailgate party is a social event, much like entertaining friends lavishly on your deck or patio. There are drinks and hors d'oeuvres and socializing. Since some people only occasionally come to games there's often a lot of catching-up to do. Then there’s a meal, where you should enjoy top quality food. And it's enough

food to allow you make it through three plus hours at the stadium. Sure there is food and drink available inside the facility, but it doesn't compare to the menu of those focusing on the four Cs. And standing in the concourse isn't near as enjoyable as sitting in a colorful canvas chair with friends.

When I do media interviews the first question is always, “What does it take to have a great tailgate?” My answer is always, “The four Cs.” Then they ask me what that means. Briefly it can mean Champagne, Caviar, Cashews, and Camaraderie (or sometimes Cashmere if I really want to make a point). By this I mean don't skimp or cut corners in your food or your dress. There is no reason to skimp because even if you are the most avid tailgater you'll still only have six or seven home games a year. So serve the good brands of foods and have top shelf brands in your bar. Find good recipes for foods that are special. You wouldn't serve hamburgers or hot dogs or fried chicken to patio guests five or six times in succession, would you? Substitute champagne for beer once in a while. Serve huge cashews in a silver bowl. Caviar makes a great hors d'oeuvre with little toast wedges or even nice crackers. I'll bet your guests will remember it too.

Except in the coldest weather, you should dress nicely and in school colors. Remember that this is a social event, not a boorish rib cook-off or beer bash. It's OK to wear a tie to a tailgate party too if it's in bright team colors. You see lots of these at college games in the southeast. Cashmere sweaters, good in cooler weather, are available in all team colors. So dress for a social event, not a hike.

Finally, boorish behavior is not appropriate. People who pass by from the other team should be treated as nicely as you would treat a neighbor that passed by. Offer them a drink. Kill them with kindness! Lastly don't drink too much alcohol. A drunk is not funny.


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