This article is also available in print: Quaker Campus, Volume 19 – Issue 6, dated Nov. 17, 2021, on the Whittier College campus.
The sun is at its peak; the food is sizzling; the beers are opening. The adults are mingling, and the children are playing. The tailgate was in full bloom, and the community was buzzing. The football team is ready to embark on their last game of the season.
Two weekends ago — Saturday, Nov. 7 — was Whittier College’s first official tailgate for the football team. The tailgate took place behind Memorial Stadium at the end of the challenging season. It was also their senior night — spotlighting the seniors for their achievements and perseverance throughout their athletic career at Whittier and commemorating their families for all their support.
Tailgates are a staple of college football. They bring friends, families, and students together for one purpose: to ensure that the football team feels supported. All types of people participate in tailgates — from those who have followed football since birth to newcomers. It is a great way to showcase your school spirit, strengthen ties, and create new relationships with fellow attendants. They bring together so many people dedicated to the school team that the unity is almost palpable.
The tailgate is ideal for the football team: it lifts their spirits right before tackling the field. It reaffirms they are being cheered on no matter if it is a win or loss. Nonetheless, tailgates are not just for the team — it is for the community to grow and flourish. The families greet you with hospitality, food, and gossip. Collectively, this is what aids in deepening the sense of community: feeling like you are a part of a team.
Afterwards, right before the game starts, everyone gets lost in the swarm of purple and gold — cheering, screaming, chanting — all while waiting for the endgame, and for the next tailgate.
While the poets did not win the game at the end of it, losing out to Redlands 65 – 7, the energy from the crowd showed the team the support they need in order to keep pushing.
This event is one of two that have occurred that were put on to show support for Whittier College Athletics. Midnight Madness took place earlier this month and once again brought in a large crowd.
If Whittier is looking to gain more support for all sports – not just football – they should look into putting on more of these events in order to attract more students to games.
Featured Image: Dafne Avila / Quaker Campus