It’s that wonderful time of the year. Autumn is just around the corner and tailgate season is underway. While football is not my favorite sport, I still like it and the CSU Rams have been great to watch the past few years. This also affords me the opportunity to hang out with some friends I don’t get to see as often as I would like because things like life happens. But every other Saturday for 3 months I have a standing obligation with some decent dudes and darling dames.
There was once a time when these tailgates were merely an excuse to get drunk, and the game was just something to watch while I was sobering up. Like many other aspects of aging, the binge drinking has lessened. Drinking at these tailgates is now but a small aspect of the entire day.
The exception to this is the Rocky Mountain Showdown. The annual game between the mighty Colorado State University Rams and the evil Buffalos of the University of Colorado. I don’t know if it’s because this is generally the first game of the season, or the extra hour of tailgating we get, or our larger than usual posse and increased peer pressure, but at the Showdown I always go full Beldar and consume mass quantities.
The 2014 Rocky Mountain Showdown was this past weekend and due to the results of my most recent blood tests, I was not allowed to drink. I discussed recently being several months sober and how it hasn’t really been a big deal, and it still isn’t, but for a fleeting moment during tailgating I missed it so very much.
There have been times when I have been the DD or haven’t been drinking for whatever reason, but this felt different and I’m not sure why. When the day started we were all in the same boat, the same dry boat. Then everyone drew their anchors while I stayed tethered to the dock. Then the fog rolled in and I lost the metaphor.
It was enjoyable to be front row in this theater of the absurd that is social drinking. I was expecting it to be a slow build with everyone gradually becoming more inebriated, but it all seemed more instantaneous. It was like a Popeye cartoon: completely normal one moment, then the consumption of the contents of a can caused this drastic change, and Bluto got his ass handed to him. I’ve never noticed this before because I had been keeping the same pace. Change is easier to see when you’re on the outside than when you’re changing too. I think that’s some deeper meaning about life or something. I haven’t totally cracked that code.
It was while the majority of my fellow Ram fans were at their apex of drunkenness that I missed it. While I never felt excluded, I did feel like I was missing out. Everyone appeared to be having more fun than I was, or maybe they were just more easily amused. I don’t want it sound like I wasn’t having a good time, I had a blast. Every situation is what you make of it. But watching Keith laugh his ass off when he threw a carrot at me reminded me that alcohol can improve some things. But not drinking is meant to improve me so that I can enjoy more of these simple moments with friends.
And I got to spend the game not being the sloppy, obnoxious, mess that inhabited most of the stadium, and that’s a win for all.