Monday, September 7, 2009

And the Crowd Went Wild...

Exactly 112 days after Graduation, 111 days since our last night on the town together, and 109 days since our last "goodbyes," 15 friends were reunited in St. Louis to celebrate one beloved tradition. The tailgate: a spinoff of the happy hour mainly used for college and professional athletic events. It is, however, a much more meaningful form of cocktail engagement because of its strong promotion of camaraderie. In no other social drinking situation is the sharing of food, beverages, high fives, and chanting more prevalent. What this most importantly amounts to though, is a lot of great memories and folklore.

While we all may have dispersed to various parts of the country, trading in our backpacks for leather brief cases, the basic philosophy and principles of the tailgate have not been lost on any of us. So with the 2009 Mizzou football season set to kickoff in St. Louis over Labor Day weekend, I found myself in the most fortunate of positions to be reunited with some of my personal favorite legends of game days past. The one thing we all just had to remember was that with a morning of tailgating, a 2:40 kickoff, and a city full of late night establishments, the day was to be a marathon. Not a sprint. Well needless to say, we all came down with short-term memory loss not long after that reminder.

The reemergence of such fan favorites as the "beer bong" and "Natty Lite" really brought that ol' college spirit out in everyone and kicked the day off in the right direction. By the time we actually made it Downtown for the real tailgating, St. Louis could not have been prepared for such moves as "Hot Legs" and the "Irish Jig." With the buddy system put in full force though, a good laugh lurked in every turn, and sometimes fall, that was made. I guess you could say we took the city by well as some bratwursts and potted indoor floral arrangements. But when the last unslurred word was spoken, and we knew it was time to head home, we were still able to maintain enough responsibility to hail a couple of vcabs. [A vcab, for those unsure, is a van cab. Well at least we think this was what one friend meant when telling me so via text at an unspecified late night hour.] So after another great journey we all made it home safely-that is to say until someone met up with the thermostat and jeopardized our chances of avoiding hypothermia.

While we may not be in college anymore, we did ensure that all principles and standards of the tailgate were still met. The most important one actually showing through more than ever: camaraderie. The amount of food, drinks, high fives and laughs shared in those 15 hours were insurmountable. If ever we needed a reminder that the good times would never really end, this weekend was it. Yes, it has been 109 days since our last goodbyes as students in Columbia, but not a day was lost on any of us. Because the thing about a "goodbye" is that it's not an affirmative end, but a lead way into the next "hello."

*There actually was a game played Sept. 5th as well and the good guys won. Mizzou beat the Fighting Illini 37-9.

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