Everyone knows there is nothing like football on a crisp fall day, especially when it’s Homecoming, Senior Day, and Saints day. This year, the class of 2017 continued the tradition of tailgating before the Homecoming game kickoff this past Saturday, November 5. For the past few years during home games against arch-rivals St. Chris, seniors have gathered as one to eat, laugh, and prepare for what is arguably the most anticipated Collegiate football game of the year, producing the largest fan turnout. A tailgate is exactly what fans need in order to get into the proper mindset before a big game like Saturday’s.
Preparation for the tailgate started nearly a week before game day, with a group of six senior boys coordinating the logistics of feeding and motivating Cougar Nation. Food, activities, sign making, and face painting were all things that needed to be planned for in order to make the tailgate as successful as possible. Daily meetings after school during Spirit Week were necessary to get things prepared. Grant Villanueva (‘17), Noah Coleman (‘17), Chase Smullen (‘17), Fisher Mountcastle (‘17), Rob Sheehy (‘17) and myself were the men working behind the scenes to pull together this tailgate. I was the man working behind the grill and was responsible for purchasing everything necessary to satisfy the hunger of upwards of 60 seniors. In order to pull this off, I purchased nearly 15 pounds of ground beef to be formed into patties and roughly 15 hot dogs, as well as all the buns and condiments needed to compliment all the food. The rest of the crew was responsible for purchasing waters, soda, chips, dips, and veggie burgers for those who requested them.
The church lot is typically a dreaded part of campus, as the school requires a group of juniors to park there for a month at a time, forcing them to walk across campus in order to get to class in the morning. However, this past weekend it was a welcoming place. It was the site of this year’s tailgate, and it has been for years. It transformed into a hub for enthusiastic fans ready to cheer the Cougars to victory. The smell of burgers on a grill, the sight of Corn Hole bags soaring through the air, and the sound of some classic rock, courtesy of Alex Dinardo (‘17) and his speaker, were what set the scene on Saturday.
This year’s senior class loved carrying on this tradition and even created a new tradition of its own. On Friday night, prior to the Homecoming game on Saturday, a group of senior men camped out at a house nearby. This experience is one that I will remember for the rest of my life and provided us with valuable time together to reminisce during a year that moves by far too quickly for many seniors. Time really is limited, so adding a Friday night campout to the list of activities during Homecoming weekend was tiring. However, it was well worth it. Apparently all of this preparation and hype created by the students and other fans worked, because the Cougars defeated the Saints this year 30-22.
Student thoughts on the tailgate and Homecoming weekend:
“It’s the start of a great tradition that needs to be continued for generations to come.” – Chase Smullen (‘17)
“The tailgate is not only an incredible community bonding experience, but it is also a demonstration of active students who have an idea and can put their idea into action.” – Grant Villanueva (‘17)
“It was really amazing to step back and watch the class of 2017 come together to support our school in one of the most amazing football games I have ever witnessed here at Collegiate. The light-hearted mood, fun games, and music filled me with an overwhelming sense of Collegiate pride and made it a Homecoming to remember.” – Toler Innes (‘17)
“[The tailgate] was a great start to a full day of Cougar pride and school spirit. The tailgate was a fun way for the senior class to kick off their last Homecoming!” – McGee Roman (‘17)