Monday, September 17, 2012

A Street By Any Other Name

I attended the SMU-Texas A&M football game and more importantly I attended The Boulevard, SMU’s submission to the world of tailgating. My son is learning to drive and as he was doing some driving on Saturday he asked for a reminder of what it was called when someone is following too closely. Tailgating. In classic American language tradition we have a single word that has two completely different meanings.

 As with The Grove at Ole Miss, there are no real tailgates at The Boulevard. You have a grassy commons area with tent tops every few feet. The Boulevard seemed more like a state fair atmosphere, with several retail/commercial tents hawking products and services. A detraction, in my opinion. You can separate The Boulevard into two parts: the student section, and the family section.

The family section is your more traditional tailgate setting. Older alumni mixing with the young’uns, and visiting fans mooching for what they can. You got your grills, and TV’s, and food trays. All in all a relatively wholesome area.

To the north, and I noticed with less tree coverage and so less shade, is the student section. To be more precise you might call it the Greek section, as fraternities and sororities have their own tent tops. A multi-ring circus, so to speak. Here you have pounding music, and preppy guys (yes, in case you are unaware, 80’s preppy is in for male college students), and girls who seem dressed for an evening at a cocktail lounge. Lots of dresses and skirts, riding up as they jump around to some rap song. No one really dances anymore. They either jump around in unison, or do a line-dance. In unison appears to be the common thread. Occasionally someone will show off their choreographed dance moves and then you get mostly spectating.

In the student section my 17 year old daughter was appropriately put off by the raucous display, and my 16 year old son appropriately bugged-eyed.

Tailgating was originally conceived as a means of distraction while you wait for the football game. What you have at The Boulevard is tailgating accompanied by the distraction of a football game.

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