New Age Tailgating


There’s an app for that.

by André Natta

One thing I’ve learned living down South is how much life in the fall revolves around football. It’s supposed to be fun, and it’s as important to becoming part of the community as any other indicator.

The Garrick McGee era of UAB football is in full swing on Birmingham’s Southside. Fans of the Blazers have hopes it will potentially bring large crowds back to Legion Field, the Old Gray Lady, on a regular basis. Alabama State and Alabama A&M fans from around the country don’t have much time left to figure out what they’re going to do when the Magic City Classic visits the 85-year-old college football monument at the end of the month. Don’t forget we’ll also have some visitors from out of town courtesy of the BBVA Compass Bowl early next year.

They’ve already been thinking about what’s going on the grill for months, though. I hope you have, too. If not, perhaps it’s time to turn to your smartphone or laptop for assistance.

Granted, there is some pretty good information out there already if you’re heading out for your first visit this season. On its athletics website, UAB posts the tailgating policies for Legion Field along with information about alternative routes and what’s not allowed in the facility. Many who attend the Magic City Classic would argue the tailgating is almost as big, if not bigger, than the game itself, leading to additional information being made available on their website. Visiting these sources of information alone should help, though there’s more.

You’d think there would be a crowd-sourced collection of information available and you’d be partially correct. There is a Tailgate Wiki, built to provide information and tips about venues for practically any sport. There is a page built for UAB and Legion Field, there just isn’t anything posted to it yet. Perhaps a few of you will head over there once you finish reading this column and help them out.

Fans in possession of an iPhone or iPad may want to consider downloading Tailgating from the App Store. This comes in especially handy if you’re tired of recreating lists every time you’re heading to the stadium. Those using an Android device will want to take a look at Tailgating Planner if you’re looking for the same features. Another web-based application for mobile devices is Tailgate Scout, a site that will help you locate where your friend’s tailgates are while also making it easier for them to find yours. It relies heavily on you being willing to log in using your Facebook account, but it does work as advertised (meaning it will be just as useful for those heading to Tuscaloosa and Auburn as well).

Maybe as we see more tailgating at UAB games we’ll see some of the ideas tried at Tuscaloosa and Auburn make their way here. Just last month, Auburn announced they would be using Pinterest to help conduct their Tailgate Awards contest during home football games this season. Winners from each game day will be posted to the account, meaning the winning ideas could be shared across the country and influence a lot of people. Maybe Legion Field will see someone like Coach Hal set up shop during the season.

Hal Humphrey works during the week as a professional engineer. During football Saturdays in the fall though, “Coach” Hal serves as the motivator of a pretty eclectic tailgating community down in Tuscaloosa. His website, http://coachhal.com, and fan page on Facebook have both quieted down, but his Twitter account is just as busy as ever, helping folks interested in showing up know exactly what’s going on. If you want a taste of the fun, you may want to take a look at the first of two videos made by Coach Hal shortly after Nick Saban was named the new head coach at Alabama.

It’s a game, folks; it’s supposed to be fun. It’s one of the reasons you should take advantage of whatever tools are available to make it easier to organize and easier to share time with friends enjoying the game, and each other.

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