Tailgating has been going on since the advent of American football. Having a few beers in a wide-open parking lot with some delicious food, a few friends, and tens of thousands of strangers wearing the same colors is a great way to enjoy the moments leading up to a football game. Not only is tailgating perfect for passing the time before the game, it also provides a deep look into the American culture.
Stephen Black was born and raised in London, England. Black is using tailgating to experience the United States, and he’s doing a great job of it.
“When I go home this year I’ve seen a game at every NFL stadium,” said Black.
This is the fifteenth year Black has returned to the United States and has since been to NFL stadiums in 40 states. He goes on annual two-week trips that include NFL games, college football games, high school football games, and even some soccer games (which he calls football).
“It’s been an excuse to see a hell of a lot of America,” he added.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that roughly 79.1 million Americans grilled at some point throughout the year in 2016. Black and the millions of other sports fans who attend these outdoor parties have certainly contributed to the annual grilling (and consumption) statistics.
According to the Daily Advertiser, Black enjoys the tailgate more than visiting the stadiums or even watching the games.
“I love the experience,” Black said. “I’m very much a live-event person. Tailgating is an excuse to experience America.”
Though U.K. sports are immensely popular, the tailgating scene isn’t nearly as popular as it is across the pond.
Sports Gal Pal, Robin, a British sports fan, did a great job describing the American phenomenon:
“This is tailgating,” Robin said. “It’s the most popular sport in America. Occasionally they play a celebratory game of football at the end but people don’t care as much about that because you can’t eat or drink a football.”