It’s week five of the NFL and the Carolina Panthers are at home battling the Seattle Seahawks. Bank of America Stadium will be celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness, so wear the official pink Panthers shirts available for sale in all of the local Walmarts and Targets.
All over the Carolinas, rabid tailgaters are prepping their grills and stocking up on chips and dip. Have you ever wondered just what kind of people show up to the pre-game parties in parking lots all around the BofA Stadium? This is the south, so tailgaters around here tend to be both charming and a little wild. Consider these typical profiles so you can identify them the next time you attend one of the legendary Panthers tailgates.
The Pit Master: If it’s the Carolinas, it’s gotta be vinegar-based barbecue! Follow your nose to locate this guy – he’ll be standing next to the enormous custom-made mobile barbecue, complete with real coals and a few first-place ribbons hanging proudly by his luxurious outdoor picnic area. There will always be a group of admirers around his tailgate, gazing fondly at the ribs he has been slow cooking since 6 a.m. Don’t ask this guy if you can throw a few hotdogs on his grill – he might bite.
The Matriarch: You will always be able to identify this proper southern lady in a crowd by the large pitcher of sweet tea. “Ya’ll need a little more?” she’ll ask as she fills your cup to the brim. On her tailgate table will be potato salad “just like mama used to make” and probably some macaroni and cheese and sweet potato pie. Be careful when accepting her offer for more tea because you never know when there might be a little bourbon in the mixture, just to keep things interesting.
The Good Ole Boy: This guy is usually found sitting in the back of a pickup truck drinking domestic beer while Lynyrd Skynyrd blasts from the ipod. These tailgaters tend to hang out in packs and can be easily recognized by their camouflage baseball hats, cowboy boots and Levi jeans. They are friendly, but approach with caution if you are a fan of the other team as these boys are always looking for someone to hoot and holler at while waiting for the game to start.
The Southern Belle: This one’s never difficult to spot in a crowd. When in doubt, just look in the same direction as all of the Good Ole Boys and you’ll spot this popular Carolina tailgater. She may be tall or she may be petite, she might be thin or she might be curvy, but the Southern Belle will always have one thing in common: she will be as sweet as honey if you are nice to her and as sassy as vinegar if you cross her. A proper Southern Belle will be just fine if you offer her a beer, but could you put it in a chilled glass first?
The Moocher: Always searching for an invitation for free food and drink, this guy will walk from party to party until he finds a sympathetic group that will feed him. He might have an acoustic guitar and will probably ask to use your bathroom. Don’t introduce your daughters or nieces to this one – send them over to mix and mingle with the Good Ole Boys instead.
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
S.L. Schmitz is a published author, specializing in the speculative, mythpunk and horror genres. Schmitz recently resigned her position as a Board Member and Social Media Manager of Dark Continents Publishing in order to work with a small group of entrepreneurs to create a new publishing company. When time permits, she participates in a variety of writing and horror conventions. She is an active member of such author affiliations as the North Carolina Writer’s Organization, the Charlotte Writer’s Club, North Carolina Reading Association and the Union Monroe Reading Association. Her novel is titled Let It Bleed, published via Dark Continents Publishing, and is available wherever books are sold. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.