They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder. Never has such a cliché been more true. It’s strange. In 2020, I was still able to watch the Brewers. Was still able to have a beer. I was also able to grill out and have a brat or two. But there’s just absolutely nothing like tailgating outside the ball park before a game. An experience I’m longing to return to in 2021.
The second the car is guided into it’s spot and parked, it’s as if a challenge on Survivor has started. Everyone floods out of the car as the trunk, hatch, or tailgate is opened. Tables are set, chairs are unfolded, music is playing, the grill is prepped and ready to rock, and of course, the coolers are out and drinks are distributed.
Getting to the lot early early is quite the site to behold. Seeing a steady cloud of smoke starting to rise above the cars is shortly followed by the smell of charcoal as the grills get lit. Then an overwhelming aroma combination of brats, hot dogs, sausages, and hamburgers floods the lot as all of your fellow tailgaters break out their various yard games.
To your right, you hear the familiar *smack* of a bean bag hitting a corn hole board. In the distance, the *pop* of a baseball hitting a glove as a father and son play catch. To your left, cheering, for a group of guys have set up a TV and Playstation in the back of their SUV.
It’s such a communal experience. I remember one frosty Saturday afternoon in early April. We had forgotten to thaw our brats and burgers. We were all bummed until a group of guys from Hayward noticed our struggle and offered us some of their turkey chili they had going on propane burner. Another instance occurred where our propane tank ran out just as we laid our food on the grill. Again, our tailgating neighbors helped us out and fed us from their stash. Wisconsinites are just the best.
Not a cloud in the sky. It’s a perfect 75 degree afternoon day in June. You have one last brat. Pack up your chairs and tables. And grab one last beer for the walk as you head towards beautiful American Family Field and get set to enjoy another great day of Brewers baseball.
We all missed a lot of things in 2020 and tailgating may have been thing I missed the most. The comradery with your friends. Enjoying the summer outside. Now that the powers that be within the Milwaukee Brewers organization have approved tailgating for the remainder of the 2021 season, you can bet your bottom dollar that’ll I’ll be there, tongs in hand, never ever taking the greatness of tailgating for granted again.