Tailgate Nation Part 1

I have always been in love with FSU. From the summer music camp I attended for 6 weeks before 10th grade, through the challenges of life, to today. The music camp was my first real freedom. FSU’s campus was still a small, slow paced remnant of past elegance and charm, centering on the old Florida State College for Women campus; a handful of old red brick buildings, that looked more like Pennsylvania than Florida.  The tennis courts were grass, just the other side of Landis Green. Montgomery gym had a retractable floor covering the swimming pool and the bowling alley had no automated pin spotters, so young guys like me could make a couple of bucks setting up pins. The softball fields had beautifully green outfields and dark red South Georgia clay infields. I was still youthfully pure at the time not yet corrupted by the narcotics of love and recreational spirits. I was an athlete and a musician/scholar, the beginning of a renaissance man.  I inhaled the wonders of it all, it was summertime and there was no football.

When I came back as a freshman almost 4 years later the campus was humming with change, it was my time now and I knew it. I was no longer unaware of the pleasures of the flesh. It was the 60’s man, shit was happening. I mean really happening, girls had birth control, burned their bras and within 3 years the hippies began the summer of love. Streaking first appeared on Landis Green; FSU became a center of radicalism and was dubbed the Berkeley of the South. And there was football, complete with the parties that went before and after the games. There were parties everywhere. I began to notice there were tailgates but they looked kinda tame for my tastes. Standing around talking to a bunch of folks that had JOBS seemed kinda dull, that is until I had a job myself and then it all changed again.

Just having the income that permits one to become a certified tailgater is the first step, that takes a few years for most of us, particularly those with kids. Then making the decision to buy (4) season tickets, become a booster, and travel to Tallahassee 6 times a fall for a 2 night minimum is a significant budgetary and time commitment. But suddenly what many of us realized was that we seriously wanted to go back and live those party days again, without all the dramas of adolescence. We wanted to be part of our tribe again and hang out with our own. So we did, and we do. And it is truly so much fun I sometimes feel guilty that I am not doing something more significant than having a good time. But not often and not for long.

It’s our 60’s man and shit is happening.


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