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Transcription of Interview - Party in the parking lot


ML:

It is a crisp, cool Sunday morning. The sun is peaking over the city’s skyscrapers scattering the warm light across the field where warriors will battle to the finish. The spectators arriving in droves, each one with the same purpose, to eat, drink, and cheer on their heroes.

Tailgating has become the Sunday ritual in many cities. Why do these fanatics gather more than four hours before the big game? At first, there was a common reason.

P1: They wouldn’t let us in the stadium any sooner so we had to party in the parking lot.
P2: To get drunk. [laughs]
P3: Socialized drinking, talk about the game.
P4: $6.50 a beer in the stadium, that’s a good enough reason to get here early and drink.
ML: Other than drinking, there has to be some other reasonable explanation. Victor Shelton and Irv Norman from Ravens Roost #35 in Annapolis have that answer.
VS: Camaraderie, because mostly everybody here in the tailgate lot, we kinda know each other over the years since the stadium has been open. So we all see each other every Sunday.
IN: And that’s another good thing about tailgating, you get a chance to meet a lot of different people and, um, it’s sort of networking. Ya’ know, so that’s the good part of it.
ML: Tailgating is not a new practice. According to the tailgating.com web site, the party in the parking lot dates back to the first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton in 1869. Of course, we can’t be sure of its validity, so I asked the experts when and why they thought tailgating began.
P1: It’s got to be in the South because those people are crazier than we are. I would say like in Alabama. Ya’ know, they got nothing to do down there, there’s nowhere to go to have a party or a lifestyle. So, they probably just go to a big parking lot and drink.
P2: It probably started at the most played college rivalry, the Lehigh-Lafayette game. Way back in the 1800s or whenever they started playing that rivalry. But, uh, it’s just a bunch of people coming out for a good time.
P3: I’m gonna guess that, uh, either Green Bay or Milwaukee.
P4: I think the Roman gladiators. [laughs] They parked the chariots out back before they got ate by the lions.
ML: Another reason to arrive early is for the events that take place. For the kids, the team provides a football toss, tackling dummies, and other physical activities to keep the small ones busy. You also have a chance to watch the Baltimore Ravens marching band practice before the big game. As with all good parties, you have to have a great feast. These partygoers have set quite a table.
P1: Well, we got the Italian sausages, the regular sausages in the morning, the hash browns… then we’ll move into swordfish, the rack of lamb, pork loin, we’ll have goose and duck ’cause it’ll be hunting season.
P2: We got pork barbeque, we have pork tenderloins, kosher dogs, burgers, crab soup, salads, anything you want babe, help yourself.
P3: The average cholesterol here is 750. [laughs]
ML: As with any meal, a good drink to clear the palette is always needed.
P1: Well, since it’s not quite ten o’clock, we’re working on the Bloody Marys. Some of the guys are drinking the Red Bull and vodka, which ya’ know they call that liquid cocaine. Around eleven o’clock, we’ll switch over to the beer.
ML: With all the partying going on at a tailgate, there’s always a few strange things to see.
P1: Oh yeah, them girls came down for the Tennessee game. [laughs] She gave me a little kiss goodbye. Damn near put her tongue down my throat. I’m like, whoa, I found a new best friend.
P2: Um, some older lady getting in a fight with a guy with a football.
P3: Some people’s outfits.
P4: I seen a guy in a Jiffy John get pushed over a while ago, he was inside the Jiffy John.
P5: My brother-in-law here got naked one time and passed out.
ML: With any good competition, rivalries form between the fans and the visiting teams. Here in Baltimore, our rivals are the Pittsburgh Steelers and the much-hated Washington Redskins. The tailgaters all reacted the same when I asked them if they would party with their foes.
P1: Hey, would we party with a Steeleers fan?
All Never!
ML: What about a Redskin fan?
P1 P2: No! Just as bad.
ML: [Talking to another group]
Would you guys party with a Redskin fan?
P3: No way!
P4: No, because the Redskins beat my team in the Super Bowl and I don’t get along with them very well.
P5: I would sell my children to the gypsies before I would root for the Redskins. So, that’s a definite no. Nah, they’re obnoxious, they’re like Yankee fans. They’re just obnoxious.
ML: It doesn’t matter if you’re six or sixty, as long as you have a passion for the game and the desire to have a great time, this party could be for you! So, this Sunday, wake up and try another type of warship.
P1: It’s like church. This is our church.
P2: It is like church, he’s even got his holy shirt on today, look.
ML:

Whether you attend the Sunday ritual or not, it remains a fact that at every Ravens home game, you’ll find a parking lot filled with fans enjoying all sorts of food and drink. So, pack up the kids, break out the grill, stick a shrimp on the Barbie, and get yourself to the pre-game festivities.

P1: My friend Steve over here says it all the time – he likes the tailgate better than the game. It’s football; it’s what you do before football games.
ML:

From the party in the parking lot at Ravens M & T Bank Stadium, I’m Mike Lyon for Baltimorestories.com.

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