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Tailgate MVP Etiquette
Part of being a pro is acting like one, which is easy when you follow these M-V-P tips.


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Part of being a pro is acting like one, which is easy when following these tips.


You've got a parking lot full of like-minded enthusiasts. Tailgating is a perfect time to make new friends. Bring a little food or drink over to your neighbors to break the ice.”
As fall approaches, there are those who will spend much of their day preoccupied with what brand of charcoal burns best and how many packages of hot dogs theyíll need for the pre-game tailgate party. Yes, thereís nothing better than cheering on your favorite team with a cold drink in one hand and a messy link of sausage in the other. Tailgate parties brew up anticipation for the big game, while getting together with friends and neighbors you may seldom get to visit. Any seasoned tailgater however, can tell you that tailgating is a true art form in all its glorious stages; so here is some food for thought on how you can be a true tailgate MVP:

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1. Move over television. Tailgating is the "American party." Whether you are on the East Coast or West Coast, watching college or NFL, there is little doubt that football and tailgate parties go hand-in-hand. And while these events are very much about kicking back and enjoying good eats, good friends and a good time, donít forget your matches, barbeque grill and good manners along the way.

2. Montana, as in Joe. Itís certainly fine to toss the pigskin around and pretend you are a legend in your own mind, but remember to be respectful of other people, their space and their gear. Part of the fun of tailgating is that it is done in a large space with thousands of your closest friends, so unless you really are Joe Montana, donít try to "split the defense."

3. Muster up some restraint. Try not to buy the biggest tent or bring the most chairs on the lot. Space is a consideration when you are in a crowded area that is to be shared with others.

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4. Volunteer to do or bring something. Tailgating is one of the true potlucks of life and it would be unbecoming of a football legend to show up empty-handed. Most of the time everyone brings something to share. And while you might offer to bring a bottle of wine when invited for dinner, youíll be better received by bringing beer, a Frisbee or your iPod and speakers to your tailgate party. The name of the game is to ask what is still needed, graciously accept the challenge (even if you have never made potato salad or deviled eggs) and deliver the items without complaint.

5. Vacate your tailgate space properly. Make sure that you have picked up all of your trash (donít forget to recycle your beer cans and bottles) when you "break camp" and head for the stadium. Donít expect someone else to clean up behind you.

6. Volume control. Be aware of your surroundings and donít be "that guy or girl" ranting and raving at the top of his or her lungs, getting people riled up before the game even begins.

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7. Plan ahead. Check the weather and wear the appropriate clothing (team colors are always in good favor!). Regardless of how hot you might get during tailgate festivities, guys, keep your shirts on while going through the tailgate buffet line. And ladies, remember that this is a tailgate party and not a cocktail party, so leave your stilettos and opt for the sneakersónot only will this allow you to partake in the action-packed pre-game activities, but your feet will thank you later!

8. Pace yourself. Rarely is there a party without alcohol, but donít be the tailgater who doesnít make it to the game due to overindulgence. Pace yourself!

9. Pungent ring of fire. The tailgate grill can be a fiery work of art and a gathering place for heart-to-heart male conversation. What it should not be is a smoke bomb, an aerial nuisance or a fire threat. Practice safe grilling and be sure to let your coals cool before disposing of them.

10. Play nice with others. You've got a parking lot full of like-minded enthusiasts. Tailgating is a perfect time to make new friends. Bring a little food or drink over to your neighbors to break the ice. What's nice is that you already have a built-in conversationóthe game. Who knows, you may even have the same running back on your fantasy football team.

One last tip before you receive the coveted "MVP Tailgate Etiquette" trophy. Tailgating is an age-old tradition tied to football. Etiquette is an age-old tradition tied to good manners. Combining these two traditions will make your tailgating experience a memorable one, for all the right reasons. Go Team!

Diane Gottsman, a nationally recognized etiquette expert, is the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in etiquette training for corporations, universities and individuals, striving to polish their interpersonal skills. You can reach Diane at 877-490-1077 or www.protocolschooloftexas.com. You can also follow her on Google+.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.



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