A friend scored a pair of tickets to the Chargers’ final preseason game against Seattle. I don’t care much about preseason, but it would give me a chance to check out the Seahawks running back I have on my fantasy-football team and crash a couple tailgate parties.
I offered to pay for parking, but as we pulled up I was shocked to see it was $25. My friend was shocked to see I only had $11 in my wallet. He paid, we parked, and we crashed.
The closest tailgate party was all women. Neither of us had a problem with this scenario. We walked up and started talking.
I found out that a few of the women’s husbands have season seats. They gave the wives the tickets for this game so they could get a taste of the partying and fun. My friend leaned to me and said, “Boy, they got suckered. The preseason games that nobody cares about are the ones the husbands give up.”
Since most of them were drinking, I asked if they had a designated driver. One woman asked, “Are you an undercover cop?” I heard a laugh and something about a DUI.
I looked across the lot and saw a cop telling two people that they couldn’t have bottles. They then told two guys to stop throwing a football around. The guys continued their tossing when the cops drove off.
Since the women had a large spread of food and drink at their spot, I asked them about tailgating rules. “You can only use your parking space. You aren’t allowed to have bottles. The cops will pour out anything you have in bottles.” Another gal corrected her, saying that you are allowed to take two spaces. The first woman said, “What is this, a test? I failed high school.”
I asked the women if they understood football. One told me that her husband made fun of her during a Padres game because she said that they’d “scored a point” instead of a “run.” The other women laughed. As we talked, it became clear that they knew the sport.
A woman named Mari Jo asked me when I was going to leave, but the other women told me that it was cool to stay. A woman named Mia offered us each a beer. My buddy took one. I continued taking notes, which prompted one of the women to say, “What is it with you, reporter guy? Enough with all this.”
Someone told a story about her son playing JV football for Steele Canyon. Another had a daughter who’s a cheerleader at Mission Hills High.
I overheard a woman on the phone say, “Well, if she’s not here yet, she can go f*** herself!”
The ladies told me that they had arrived four hours before game time to relax and have some beers. One said, “You don’t want to drink in there; the beer is too expensive.” Another told us that the best deal for beer is the Wild Animal Park. “You can get a 64-ounce beer in a summer cup for $7.50. You’re looking at paying around $10 for a beer in here.”
One woman told me that she was from Seattle, but her husband wouldn’t let her wear a Seahawks shirt because “he was afraid of me getting my ass kicked.”
One of the ladies told me that they brought a bucket and toilet paper because the lines are too long in the bathroom. I wasn’t sure if she was joking until she held up the bucket.
They offered us more beer, but we decided to hit another tailgate.
We approached a group of about 75. A guy named Bob came over and told me that he does this for his clients every year. He handed me his business card — real estate.
He smiled and said, “I got four sales out of the party last year. I got three sales today.”
I saw a bucket of Red Vines and several desserts on the table and was tempted to sneak over and grab some, but Bob wouldn’t stop talking to me about his business.
A woman came over and said, “A few of us are from the Poway Elks Lodge. We have 18 members.” She then offered us sliders, which we accepted. She said, “I’ll get some off the grill.”
I looked at my friend and said, “Those other women didn’t offer us any food...did they?”
We ran into a guy who came by the last tailgate party selling newspapers. He said, “You don’t want to buy one now, do you?”
A few kids came by selling candy, which reminded me to grab a dessert. I didn’t know if Bob would think it was weird that I came over to his tailgate, chatted him up about his business, and then scammed some food. But, hey, it’s what crashers are supposed to do.
Elk lady came over and told us that she ran out of burgers.
I asked Bob about cooking for all these people. “Oh, well, I got my mom here to help with that.”
I said, “My mom would probably come to a tailgate party to cook, but she’d spend 20 minutes telling the parking attendant that she shouldn’t have to pay because she’s just cooking for a party and not going to the game.”
The game was starting, and my friend suggested that we go in. I felt defeated having left there without a single Red Vine, but we sat next to two women who offered to share their food with us. My buddy ended up with a phone number. I ended up getting kicked by the guy behind me. I got sick of listening to this guy sound off as if he knew football. Three times I heard him say, “Julius Jones used to play for the Cowboys.” And whenever he’d break down a play on the field, he’d get it completely wrong.
I wondered if the guy who gave his wife a hard time for calling a run “a point” would turn around and correct this guy. Or do we just do that to the ones we love?