(This is the 2nd post in a 3-part series concerning technology and it's impact on sports, Sponsored by Samsung. You can find these articles all across SBNation. If you missed it, be sure to check out our first post which talks about how live-streaming has changed our lives.)
Remember the first time you went to see your favorite team play? I do. My father took me to see his beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish host (and eventually demolish - you know, back when ND was good) the Washington Huskies. What I remember most from that day was standing in the bitter cold, throwing a football back and forth with my pop.
We had some hot dogs, I had Kool-Aid (I was 8 years old), and my pa and his college roommates ended up getting pretty inebriated while the other kids and I played tackle football on concrete to 'toughen us up.' And at the time, it was the greatest day of my life. I fell in love with tailgating. Even today, you can get me to any sport as long as we're tailgating. Unless there are circumstances that can't be avoided, I'm not a huge fan of just showing up at game-time.
Back then it was just a grill, meat, alcohol, and some sort of object to toss around? Nowadays? Well, let's just say that now we're beginning to bring most of our home with us, not just our appetite.
Not having a big football program at Villanova (yet!), I was craving some big-time college football during my junior year. My friend Jeff and I went to visit our friends at Penn State for the famed 'White Out' they were hosting that weekend. We'll skip through the mess that was Friday night and just say we wandered out to the tailgating area at about 5:00 a.m.
Now I'm thinking we're going to be the first people out there. Not a chance. We fought for a parking spot - and the game was at 8:00 p.m. that night! We're parked between Winnebago after Winnebago. The only thing going on is kegs 'n eggs (no complaints there). The tailgaters have Tivo'd the football shows from the night before and are watching them on flatscreens that are attached to the side of their truck.
It was the most incredible thing I've ever seen. We not only cooked and drank all day, we watched other football games! To this day, the 2nd greatest tailgating experience of my life (nothing will ever top ANY New York Giants game for me). And 15 years at my first tailgate, I'm not sure any of the 80,000 people in attendance on that cold winter day would have ever imagined that it was possible.
Back to Villanova basketball - those tailgates have been enhanced as well. Out in D-Lot, the students still get there early, tap their kegs, and light up the grills. Except now we've got fraternites and sororities renting out DJ's for the tailgate. We've got radio shows set up on-site discussing the upcoming games and all the other action that's gone on throughout the week.
It's more of an event in itself than a prelude to the game. You might even argue that the tailgate is just as much fun, if not more depending on the outcome of the game, than the game you paid for. The common theme here? Technology.
Without it, we're still stuck standing out in the cold mindlessly flipping burgers and wondering what's going on in the outside world. Thankfully, those days are over!