By Nicholas D Hession, Opinion Writer
On September 18, I attended my sixth New York Giants game alongside my father, brother and close friend. It was the Giants’ home opener against the New Orleans Saints, which they won 16-13 due to a last second field goal. Attending the game itself was an incredible experience, but the preceding hours spent tailgating in the parking lot outside the stadium were amazing in their own right!
On game day, the road to MetLife stadium was lined with smoking grills, a sea of jerseys and RV’s full of people decked out in their lucky apparel praying for a win. I’ve spent several Sundays as a part of this crowd and my most recent exploit was easily my deepest excursion into fandom.
While my uncle and his friend showed up at the game with a setup large enough to intimidate any newcomer to football, in their eyes it was all standard to the tailgating experience. They arrived in an RV painted the Giants’ signature red, white and blue. Inside the RV, every seat was upholstered with the Giants’ logo and there was artwork all over the wall, as well as two flat screen televisions. The space above the doorframe was even signed by a few ex-players including legendary linebacker, Lawrence Taylor.
Just outside the bus was a U-shaped table covered entirely by trays of food: this was not your typical fare. The buffet’s highlights included breakfast pizza, bacon at least an inch thick and a turducken, which is a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey.
One may wonder how good food cooked in a parking lot could possibly be, but a determined fan can turn even the most basic tailgate food into something delicious when their favorite team is getting reading to take the field!
Next to the food was yet another flat screen TV reserved for tailgaters, who needed to watch ESPN in order to set up their fantasy football teams. On either side of the TV were two concert-quality speakers playing anything from Rage Against the Machine to Bob Marley: The setup was equivalent to even the best home theaters and it was all fixed to the side of the RV!
Another great thing about the tailgate was the location. We were situated in Lot L, which was only a ten-minute walk from the players’ parking lot. I took a walk over because my cousin was there, but didn’t stay for long because the line to see the players walk into the stadium was already too long.
My cousin, who had spent an hour and a half waiting at the front of the line was finally able to get photos and signatures from a few players, including receivers Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr.
Luckily for me, my family knows a lot of season ticket holders, so I was not limited to just one tailgate party. After about an hour at my uncle’s tailgate, we took a fifteen-minute walk over to my dad’s friends’ tailgate.
They had their own tailgate buffet going as well as a friendly game of two-hand-touch football going. Of course, the game was constantly interrupted by cars trying to park and security golf carts patrolling the lot, but it was a fun time all the same!
Tailgating before a New York Giants game is an experience any fan can enjoy: whether they show up with a fully loaded bus with two dozen people and private grill, or in their sedan with a few close friends and some choice snacks.
Much like the players on the field, the patrons at MetLife stadium always bring their “A-game” when Sunday rolls around!
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, September 27th print edition.
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