Football Season

The Ten Commandments of Tailgating

Don’t enter a tailgate uninvited, and other unbreakable rules.

By John Lomax September 1, 2014 Published in the September 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Football season brings tailgate parties, and tailgate parties bring temptation and sin. But there is another way, according to Steve Perry of the Texans Liberty Tailgaters, aka Mr. TLT, aka the Moses of tailgaters. 

I. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s tailgate. Don’t enter a tailgate uninvited. Don’t take somebody’s beer; don’t take somebody’s food. “Which should be common sense,” says Perry. 

II. Honor thy fellow tailgaters. “Always have a smile on your face. Welcome people into your tailgate. At the end of the day that’s all tailgating is: one big party.” Still…

III. Thou shalt drink only in moderation. “Lots of people come out to a tailgate and think it’s college all over again. The last thing I want is a bunch of drunk people. They are always the hardest to get to go home.” 

IV. Thou shalt not think a loss is the end of the world. “As someone who started a tailgate 12 or 13 years ago and grew it from four people to 120, I am heartbroken when we lose, but on Monday morning the sun is gonna rise and I am gonna put my pants back on and I am gonna go back to work.”  

V. Thou shalt be respectful toward adjacent tailgaters. You like rock, your neighbor likes country, and so you do…what? Crank up a battle of the bands? No, you don’t. “That’s just gonna piss everybody off.” 

VI. Thou shalt not steal. “I’ve heard of people who’ve had their chairs stolen, their generators stolen.” 

VII. Thou shalt not be a cheapskate. Bring hotdogs, a 12-pack of beer, something. “If you are a guest at a large tailgate, you need to know that we’ve been working on setting that up since Wednesday, going out shopping for beer and food. It’s not just something that pops up by itself.”

VIII. Thou shalt not pathetically attempt to relive thy teenage gridiron glory days. If you weren’t Dante Pastorini in high school, don’t throw a football in the parking lot. “I’ve seen it happen so many times. You’re just walking around and this football comes at your head from nowhere, and you’re like ‘What the hell? Come on, dude!’”  

IX. Thou shalt keep thy shirt on at all times. “This one applies more to college tailgates, where the bros are still in decent shape. We don’t have much of a problem with it in our tailgate.” 

X. Remember to watch over thy flock on the Sabbath. “Be a true friend and make sure that if they do over-drink, take them home. Reliant Stadium lets you leave your car there. You can pick it up the next day.”

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