Comedian Natasha Pearl Hansen reveals the Heroes of the Tailgate.
When it comes to hosting the most awesome tailgate ever, we can find articles upon articles about how to grill, what to bring, what to wear, the location to be and how to stock your cooler. But personally, I have always found the importance to be in the PEOPLE you have in your corner. Yes, my friends- the tailgate heroes.
As a kid growing up in southern Wisconsin, I had always looked north to Green Bay as this mystical land where giant pigskin warriors lived and thrived in a frozen tundra, unbearable for the likes of us regular folk.
A land where houses were made of cheese, and Favre ruled on a green and gold throne
donning a velvet cape and an emerald scepter. That on days the Pack won, neighborhoods around Green Bay would shoot fried cheese curds and money out of cannons, and beer would be free to all who lived within the city limits for a week, creating a sort of 7day adult snow day.
Play play play.
Dream dream dream.
So, maybe this land was all in my mind, but never being able to get my hands on the highly
coveted Lambeau tickets, I had to create my own amazing world in which to enjoy the game days.
Welcome the tailgate party.
Meet the folks that make every game day the best day ever, even if the closest you can get to the game is the parking lot. Below I introduce the Heroes of the Tailgate. The pals you need around to make a football party fun, lively, ridiculous, delicious, and all around badass.
No need to bring your own cooler, that’s this hero’s domain. The Influencer arrives before the party has even begun. The parking lot is empty, and this person uses that chance to start recruiting new gameday friends, whether they like it or not.
In charge of beer, booze, and all things in the form of liquid fun, this person is willing and able to rally passers by that also seem capable of joining the coming festivities.
Don’t have a beer in your hand? The Influencer will change that. Want whiskey? They’ve got it right here, in this flask! Need something more low key? Flavored rum. Bam. Want to look like a super champ for the ladies? This guy or gal can bust out the beer bong in a super flash. They are extremely convincing, and can even make grandmother’s grudgingly accept a shot of gin without much of a hesitation. They will not go down without a fight, and hopefully, leave not a soul sober.
Dangerous, but wonderful, The Influencer is a musthave at any true party.
Skills on skills on skills for games you could never have a real career at. The GameMaster likes to make money placing small bets on party games. And today, bet you shall, because this hero is the master of them all. Bets can be in the form of money, or shottaking, or dares. Either way, this person wants to see people lose and win in the most awesome way possible.
Cornhole (beanbags, bags, whatever…), beer pong, flip cup, dice, lawn darts if things get real cray, this skilled hero can play them all, and with mastery. It’s serious business.
A skilled game day game player is an absolute must, because someone has to show the regular folk that not everyone can just walk up and excel at these games. It takes years and years of practice and sweat, a lot of gusto, and the ultimate of confidence to be able to kick ass at beer pong like this!
However, they delight in rallying people during lulls in the game, and cultivating a competitive and vibrant spirit throughout the night. Let the other games begin.
God of the Grill
‘Have grill, will travel’ is their motto, and their vehicle even has grill attachments for backup. Ninja of tongs. Master of meats. Collosus of coals. Prince of propaine. People flock from neighboring parties simply to see what this one’s acookin. Revel in it. How do they burn nothing? It is true mastery. An art.
Oooh, is someone a vegetarian in our midst? What a shame. Ignore this hero’s disappointment as they retrieve the box of ‘just in case’ bean patties and reluctantly place one on the grill next to the luscious beef, whilst they mean mug you.
“I won every game I ever played in highschool wearing THIS EXACT jeresey. I wear it every game day. Never been washed. Can’t do it.” Great dude! Febreze away!
Let this pal live and breathe in his bubble of mismatched socks, omens, random
sportsunrelated paraphernalia and lucky wardrobe pieces. It makes for a hilarious spectacle. Remember, the outcome of each game rests solely in the hands of the superstitious fans.
Forgot your lucky dirty sneakers from that fluke track game you won in ‘99? AND the Viking’s lost? Not coincidence… All. Your. Fault.
My personal favorite of all the heroes. This person goes BIG.
We’re talkin’ body paint, jerseys, hair color, any specialty item that has ever been sold in your team’s sporting goods stores EVER. They’ve got it all.
Need to know a stat? Logged in that brain like a champion lie the most random, seemingly useless bits of facts, stats, halloffame trivia and numbers that come in handy every time a major play occurs. The breadth of knowledge this human carries with them is ASTOUNDING. Who needs Google when you’ve got a mind like the ultimate fan? Not this party.
Not only is this hero full of information, but they’re also the loudest person watching the game. “We” and “Us” are commonly used because, in their brain, THEY ARE ON THE TEAM. Appreciate this ultimate fan for the intelligence and energy they bring to the party!
Do you fit more than one of these fantastical qualities? Wow. Good job. Your friends better appreciate you and your vital and multipurposed presence. Or get new friends.
Not one of these heroes? Cool. Because any trait can be useful in a group of rando’s. Got mad skills DJing on your iPad? Bro. Necessary. Are you the person who always has a band of hot chicks with personality hanging around you? Uber necessary. Are you the person who can turn your perfect locale of a driveway into a makeshift parking lot for strangers to palm you cash to use? You’re the person who saved many a party house in college from going broke. We thank you.
Even the most useless of talents have a place at a party.
Find your skill. Find your crew. Have a blast. Watch some football. Eat great food. Laugh a crap ton. Throw a shindig to remember.
BE A HERO!
Or be boring and each chips alone on your couch. Your call.
Photos by Justin Schwan
Natasha Pearl Hansen is a comedian and actress based in Los Angeles, California. Having come up as a performer at Second City Chicago a decade ago, she writes, produces, and loves all facets of comedy. Being Wisconsin born, she also loves everything to do with drinking beer, sports, and fun-loving people. @NPHcomedy on both twitter and instagram.
Justin Schwan is an actor and photographer also based in Los Angeles, California.
Natasha and Justin produce their photo shoots in their own home while drinking whiskey.