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Where I Come From: Coliseum Tailgating Traditions

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This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.

Since Paragon and DC live on the east coast and don't get to venture out here in LA on college football Saturdays, I guess I'll carry the torch on this one and discuss some of my favorite tailgating traditions at the Coliseum.

Growing up, my family generally was very disappointing when it came to pre-game festivities. For one, there was no alcohol involved (my parents would just drink pinots post-game) so the mood was sometimes flat. You'd think that it being USC and all, we would have been at a few keggers but it wasn't in the cards. Secondly, we often neglected tailgating altogether. My dad, a dentist, sometimes worked Saturdays so we didn't get down to the game much before kickoff. That meant, a quick drive-thru at the Subway and a short walk to Section 24 at the Coliseum. There wasn't a whole lot of time to kick back a few.

Luckily, as the years progressed and the team started winning, we made a habbit of getting down to campus early and partaking in a variety of tailgating experiences. Sometimes, we'd keep it simple by heading over to The Pantry downtown or La Barca over on Vermont. Either way, a plate full of pancakes or an enormous burrito would certainly satisfy any pre-game hunger. The Galen Center over by Heritage Hall, the athlete's dining hall, was also a common destination due to the number of T.V.s it had. Hey, we always had to keep tabs on how the rest of the Pac-10 was doing. Could't miss the beat-down said team was putting on the Bruins.

Over the last few years, however, we started making a habit of befriending some fellow 'SC fans (it was about time) and tailgating just outside the peristyle end of the Coliseum near the Sports Arena. The spread didn't consist of much more than burgers, dogs, cokes, and beer. With our new tailgating group, we made frequent trips to the Rose Bowl for games against UCLA and for New Year's Day. In 2007, we made the trip to South Bend for the Notre Dame game for I was considering becoming a Domer at that point in time.

Looking back on my past tailgating experiences, excluding my first year at 'SC which I won't get into, nothing too extra special really happened. In general, tailgating was pretty nondescript for my family. We ate food in a small group, watched some of the other games, and talked football. But that's what makes tailgating special. It isn't the quantity or quality of food. The number of people. The number of drinks you have. Whether the game is against a top-25 team or not. It's about spending time with friends and family, eating, talking football, and throwing the 'ol pigskin around outside the stadium. That's what important. And growing up, I certainly had all of that.

What are your tailgating stories?