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(9th mechanical engineering), like other devoted tailgaters, continues
• the afternoon's ball game.
, Oct. 9, 1981
, 4 t
Tailgating - a spirited PSU
By ANNE CONNERS
Collegian Staff Writer
It has attracted almost a cult following.
Without it fall wouldn't be fall, football
wouldn't be football and even Joe Paterno
wouldn't be quite the same. It's sun, laugh
ter, beer, food, babies, old people, young
people, flags, buses and motor homes.
It's blue and white blue and white
shirts, blue and white hats, blue and white
signs, blue and white tablecloths, blue and
white flags, and blue and white bumper
stickers. It's a Saturday afternoon. It's
Penn State. It's tailgating.
The tailgaters start arriving in droves
around 10:30 a.m., vying for choice spots
in the acres of grassy field surrounding
Beaver Stadium. Sororities get together
with fraternities, men's and women's
dorm floors get together, friends get to
gether with friends and the party begins.
Beer kegs are tapped, bars are set up,
hot dogs are roasted and banquets are
spread. Why? What's all the celebration
for? Most people have a fairly simple
"We love Penn State, that's why," said
Gordon Rockmaker, a University alumnus
from the class of '32. "We haven't missed a
game in the yellow bird (a motor home)
for 15 years."
Some fans are real diehards. Michael G.
Croce, an alumnus from the class of '47,
said, "I've never missed a Pitt-Penn State
y`.~2 f ~l I mil
/I ~ g
game since 1940 except for the two war thing."
years." "Once it gets to the third week in August,
Croce said he charters a bus for every the kids start thinking what we'll do for a
home game from the Greensburg' and 4iilgate," Claar said.
Jeanette area full of University alumni Brian Strathmeyr (4th-ornamental nurs
and friends. ery management) said tailgating was a
For some, tailgating is a tradition not part of his way of life. "We've been coming
just boring, rhetorical tradition but a to tailgates for as long as I can remem
part of their lives' tradition. Take, for ber," he said. "And we always invite our
example, the Siamese Elephants. Yes, the friends."
Siamese Elephants they even haye a - For some youngsters, tailgating even
flag. marks an initiation.
Dave Williams (10th-management) said One man said his child said to him one
the elephants have been around for 15 day: " 'Hey, Pop, how about giving me a
years. Current University students recruit bottle?' And the mama's gave me hell but I
more students, and the alumni come back said you're no longer babies, you're Penn
for tailgates. Staters now."
But why the strange name you astu Well, And• tailgates can go on and on .. . "We
if you really want to know, the rationale is were here one night till 9:30; we watched
something like this: them turn on the lights," Claar said.
"In eighth grade a coach did Siamese "People would think we were nuts —we
elephant imitations to get the team fired don't even know when to go home. We just
up. He wasn't playing with a full deck," keep partying."
Tom Vandergrift, an alumnus from '79, The food at the Claar's tailgate might
said. .!).; Neve something to do with the length of
Understand? Don't worry —the reporter time they "party hearty." The card tables
didn't either. looked as if they might collapse under the
Just like Mom, chocolate chip cookies weight of fresh fruit, cheeses, crackers,
and Christmas trees, tailgating has be- wine, mixers, chocolate chip cake, strom
come part of American (oops, maybe just bolis, marinated vegtables, chicken
State College) family life. stuffed with shrimp, black forest cake,
"We've been bringing ours (children) turkey, brownies, chips, pretzels and .. .
since fourth grade and one's a freshthan at If - the alumni know how to eat, the
Penn State now," said Mary Anne Claar, a students know how to guzzle. Hotdogs and
State College resident. "It's a nice family beer are the standard student tailgate
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A men's house from Hamilton Hall and a
women's house from Thompson Hall got
together to socialize, drink and . . .
"Oh, yeah, we're regulars," Sue Shaffer
(10th chemical engineering) said. "We
socialize, meet new people. I go whenever
our house has them."
However, there was one student who was
as rare as a whooping crane in the halls of
Old Main. "It's (the tailgate) the pits.
There's no soda," Tami Akins (11th-geog
raphy) said. Responding to looks of disbe
lief all around her, Akins added, "Yes, I go
to PSU and I don't like beer."
"Headin' back to Penn State," pro
claimed the sign in the back of one out-of
state car. And, indeed, people come from
all over just to hear the Nittany Lions roar.
John Zazworsky and Linda Knisley from
Arlington, Va., travel five hours to get to
Beaver Stadium and sometimes go even
farther to see the Nittany Lions play.
Zazworsky and Knisley said they had been
to Nebraska, Mississippi and Texas for a
football game. Are you reading this, foot
ball players? That's dedication.
It would probably take something ma
jor, "like a funeral," Knisley said, to get
her to miss a game.
Zazworsky agreed, "My nephew would
have been here but he went to a wedding,"
he said. "He didn't like it. He thought they
shouldn't have gotten married on a foot
John Haasis, (10th-biology), and John Kiloran, (7th•nuclear engineering), enjoy an ice-cold
draft. During the early part of the season, beer as well as wine and liquor, works as the
coolant for loyal Penn State fans in the late summer sun. Then during the later part of the
schedule, as an anti-freeze to keep their blood pumping.
Collegian Magazine Friday, Oct. 9, 19