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Students show school spirit at homecoming tailgate

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Go to any high school football game in America and in the crisp fall air and you will find the unmistakable smell of bar-b-que and grilled meat in the air. While the food, drinks and rituals change based on the part of the country, the tradition of Tailgating remains strong. Bellaire is no exception. Earl Dibbles Jr. said it best, “Roses are red, mud is brown. ‘Round here we party with the radio up and the tailgate down.”

Tailgating has always had a special place in the American social scene. It needs no introduction. It dates back to 1869 when in a college football game featuring Princeton and Rutgers spectators gathered around to grill sausage at the tail end of the horse, which is how the name originated. Gone are the horses, replaced by trucks, vans and cars and tailgating is flourishing with music, food and frolic.

At Bellaire High football has been a key sport since it opened in 1955 and along with that came a long and rich tradition of tailgating. Football fanatics usually gather in the parking lot of the field where people eat and grill hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, and other picnic staples. This year at Bellaire, everybody showed up to parade their never-ending support for their school football team. Lacrosse, soccer and other sports teams show up to show their support as well. Freshman Haillee Hernandez explained why she decided to go

“I decided to go tailgating because it’s my first year at Bellaire and I wanted to show support for my school.”

Whereas Jack Pittman decided to attend for other reasons.

“I decided to go because a bunch of my friends were going.”

No other social, loosely organized activity garners a 1000 students who are there cheering the Cardinals before, during and after the game. Tailgating truly really helps bring all of the student body together. As Hernandez says,

“It helps bring everybody at Bellaire together because all of the Bellaire students are coming together to support our football team.”

Bellaire High is a microcosm of the fun that Tailgating is. College and professional teams often encourage tailgating (Houston Texans have special sections in the gigantic parking lot at the NRG stadium reserved for large trucks and vans with tents, chairs, and TV’s). Tailgating is becoming a sport or activity in itself – the Houston Texans website has a tab for advice and rules regarding tailgating. While tailgating in general helps bring people of a common interest together, it can often get rowdy and on occasion minor violence can break out between passionate fans of opposing teams.

Maya Kanani
Senior Jahnari Ball protects the ball before diving into a tackle.

Fortunately, good spirits and sportsmanship prevails. I attended a recent tailgating event for Bellaire vs Lamar (our archrivals). This event was an extremely big deal at Bellaire and was publicized through announcements, flyers and pep rallies.

Fans typically try to outdo each other in finding ways to support their teams. Such as how Hernandez said,

“We got hyped up about the game by dressing up every day for spirit week and we went to the pep rally where all the players were featured.”

Traditions have also been developed for people tailgating through the years – every football fan knows the “Terrible Towels” of the football Steelers or the occasional Texas Longhorn fan wearing a mask with real Longhorns on their head.

At Bellaire fans have different rituals. Hernandez said,

“My favorite tailgating tradition is going to the game and eating the amazing barbecue that we cook and seeing all the cool tailgating sites at the game.”

Watching high school football is a storied tradition in the American society and tailgating makes that even more special.

 

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Students show school spirit at homecoming tailgate