It's been called "The Holy Grail of Tailgating." Why someone thought that metaphor makes sense I do not know, but the point remains that tailgating at Ole Miss is some of the most unique and celebrated tailgating in all of these United States. As such, hundreds of thousands of people descend upon Oxford, Mississippi every fall to experience what it is that makes the Grove so different and highly talked about. Many of these people show up without an inkling of a clue as to what it is that is expected of them as Ole Miss football tailgaters, and nobody likes them.
We want to do those people a service, so if you are new to the University of Mississippi campus, just visiting, or simply bad at picking up on social cues, then here are a few things you'll need to make sure you have with you for any and all Grove tailgates.
Bourbon You Can't Afford
"Oh... this is totally in my grove bourbon price range. I always drink Elmer T. Lee." It's a sad moment when someone shows up to the grove with cheap, cheap bourbon and everyone has to stare at them and wonder, "is this some kind of game to you?" If you have to miss a meal or two in order to justify spending 40 bucks on a bottle of bourbon, so be it. Do you want people to think you're a poor?
Cajun or Creole Food When We Play LSU
We hate their fanbase and all the purple, bedazzled pimp cups that go with it, but damn if they don't have this whole "seasoning" and "ingredients" thing figured out. Jambalaya, gumbo, étouffée - make some of it. Serve it to your friends and demand they compliment your craftsmanship. Then scold the people who show up at the tent with a donut tray from Kroger. If you make boudin, expect at least half of the tent to look at you oddly. The other half will likely say, "mmm... give me some of those discarded pork pieces." Some people just aren't adventurous eaters. These people aren't your friends, no matter how much you have convinced yourself otherwise.
Your Own Damn Chair
There's nothing worse to hear as a tent owner than, "hey, I brought six friends with me. Where can we sit?" While the tent owner may say, "oh sit anywhere you'd like," what they mean is, "oh, I don't know. Maybe you should have thought about this while you were stuffing phyllo cups with chicken salad." If you had to fly on your trip, you get a pass. Other than that, you only sit when someone offers you a seat. Don't just assume you can sit in the seat of a person who planned ahead. Show up to our tent uninvited and eat our food, and we probably won't say anything. Mississippi's the Hospitality State, afterall. But we're also dangerously fond of sitting down; do not sit in our chairs.
All bets are off if you're the hero who remembered to bring a case or two of bottled water. Seriously. Who remembers to bring liquid that isn't alcoholic or a mixer? Batman, that's who. And that's who you can be if you bring water. After many hours of daydrinking, the one thing everyone wants is a cold bottle of water. It fights off the hangover before it even gets there! If you can provide them with this, you'll be viewed as a god. Sit wherever you'd like.
The Chik-Fil-A Nugget Tray
So you didn't have a couple hours to kill to make that signature dish that everyone loves? That's fine, as long as you've arranged things ahead of time with Chik-Fil-A. No one will mind that you're a lazy asshole if that laziness yields morsels of cow-beloved, fried poultry. You don't want to make your own fried chicken at home because it doesn't ever come out right? That's fine. Eet mor chikin.
A Fully-Charged Phone
You'll need a phone for two reasons.
1. A portion of your friends probably won't know where your tent is set up. If they can't get in touch with you, it's no problem. They can probably find your tent. There are only THOUSANDS OF THEM.
2. Some of your friends will invariably leave at different times of the game. Because you're a good fan, you won't. When the game is over, you'll wonder which tent your friends are visiting. Again, calling is likely a more successful method of acquiring this information than blindly hopping from tent to tent would be.
You'll also want to Tweet, take boring pictures to upload onto Instagram, and all that other dumb nonsense you do on the day-to-day to make sure your online friends still like you. (And now for a friendly reminder to follow @RedCupRebellion on Twitter!) You don't want to borrow someone else's phone to do this, right? Like they'd let you anyway, you drunk mess.
I thought about saying something lewd and stupid about "peepin' babes in sundresses" but, in reality, you're going to be outside for a long time. Proper protection against the sun is good to ensure healthy skin and eyes, y'all. Also, nobody looks good when squinting.
"Oh, uh, hey, I'm gonna go to the ATM real quick. You stay here." Those are instructions that no scalper in the history of the black market ticket industry has ever followed. Cash is also helpful when settling impromptu bets ("Bet you five dollars you can't peg that Mizzou fan in the ass with this sausage ball.") and paying for taxis, because you're a terrible gambler and drinking and driving is never a good idea. And while they do take credit cards at concessions stands, it's much quicker to just pay in cash and be on your way. Nobody wants to hold up the line because you've got to wait on a receipt to print.
[IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE UNIVERSITY POLICE DEPARTMENT OR ONE OF THE UNIVERSITY'S CONTRACTED SECURITY FIRMS THEN THIS IS THE END OF THE STORY NO NEED TO READ ANY FURTHER HOTTY TODDY Y'ALL AND THANK YOU FOR KEEPING US SAFE!]
This one isn't on the list to please others. This is all about you and the aforementioned expensive liquor. You're going to want some of that in the game with you, right? Or do you want to pay close attention to the Southeast Missouri kicking game in warm-ups? Well until they allow people to bring bottles of liquor into games, your only real option is to conceal a flask somewhere in your clothing. The crazier the better. This gets much easier when you're no longer a student, as the security guards really don't care. I once walked in with a friend who was drinking a cup full of coke with no problem. After we had entered, we both noticed, and I was saddened the coke had not been spiked.