Tailgating: The New Picnic

No more lounging in a meadow—we picnic in parking lots now
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 12:17 PM CDT
Southern California fan Tim Wesley puts cheese on burgers while tailgating before the Rose Bowl between USC and Penn State in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
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(Newser) – The good old-fashioned picnic—a blanket, a thermos, the countryside—is a thing of the past. Its replacement: Tailgating, “jammed together, on asphalt, amid exhaust fumes and exhausting vulgarities,” writes Frank Deford for NPR. This new American tradition “crosses all ethnic, racial, and religious lines. You just have to like football and, likewise, alcoholic beverages. You don't even have to have a vehicle with a tailgate in order to tailgate.”

“Even late in the season, football fans will tailgate, foregathering on the cold, hard tarmac for hours, dining al fresco Americano, when it's cold and raw and very un-picnic-y,” the vaunted sportswriter continues. The same can be said for rock concerts—at least, those of the Bruce Springsteen or U2 variety, because “teenyboppers don’t tailgate.” The death of picnics is sad, but tailgating does have one thing to offer: “At least there are no ants in stadium parking lots.”