1. You're having some beers and brats outside Notre Dame Stadium, just chilling with friends. If you could have one Notre Dame player or coach drop by to share a drink, a brat and some stories with you, who would it be?
I will assume this means any Notre Dame player, living or dead. If dead, I also assume that I have the power to regenerate them into the condition they were in while in their prime, rather than some horrible, zombified, Paternoesque version. If that is the case, then it's a no-brainer - George Gipp. Drinking, gambling, whoring - could you possibly pick a cooler dude to hang with? You'd be asking him about beating Army and he'd be doing body shots off a stripper while doubling down. Best.Tailgater.Ever!
2. What was your best experience with a tailgate party?
Since the question did not specifically reference football tailgating, I will relate an experience from a concert. Several summers ago, friends of mine decided to get tickets to a Bon Jovi concert at Giants Stadium (with apologies to Charlie, the guy is awful but, what can I say, I'm a sucker for peer pressure). It was an oppressively hot day (one of the many charms of Jersey being the six-inch-thick air in summer), and we had brought roughly a small distributorship worth of booze and little way in the way of food. Since drinking and heat go together like ambulances and hospital trips, in a short period of time, we were all in rare form and displaying all the grace, charm and joie de vivre that comes from drinking Hand Grenades on an empty stomach. As a result of our condition, networking among our fellow tailgaters became the order of business and we quickly made friends. Among these was a group of local ladies who, due to poor planning, had run out of beer and asked if they could have some of ours. Since we are firm believers in a robust system of capitalism that supports a free exchange of goods and services, we felt simply giving them beer would represent a form of welfare, thus taking us on a slippery slope towards socialism. So, in a moment of sheer inspiration, one of my friends asked if they'd be willing to show us their, well, how can I put this delicately...boobs, as compensation for beer. And so they did. So, dear readers, this is what made it the best tailgating experience ever. And yes, I just wrote a few hundred words so that I could tell you that I once saw boobs at a tailgate. Don't you dare judge me...
3. There are lots of great tailgate experiences around the country - what school's tailgate tradition do you most want to experience?
LSU. As history tells us, the State of Louisiana was founded as a refuge for French citizens who consistently rocked the party that rocked the body in their homeland and, simply felt that France was not nearly libertine enough for their tastes. As such, they took off for the new world and founded a place where, no matter how perverse a person might be, there was always someone else who could make you look chaste (his name's Sebastian). Several hundred years later, the modern citizens of the Bayou State still know that no party is complete without copious drinking, graphic nudity, fisticuffs and the occasional round of police brutality. That means that, while Big Televen fatties are sucking down brats and commenting on the foliage, LSU tailgaters are mud-wrestling drunken alligators. Count me in. I don't want to tailgate in a place where I might pick up an amusing anecdote; I want to tailgate somewhere that I'm likely to come away with a "Did I ever tell you how I lost the arm?" story. There is only one place for that kind of awesomeness - LSU, baby!
4. Indiana decides that their drinking laws are far too un-draconian (I'm from Wisconsin. I don't understand these things like "kids aren't allowed in bars," "your parents can't give you liquor if they are supervising" and "no alcohol purchases on Sunday"), and drinking is now forbidden on Saturdays. The Excise Police stop by your tailgate, and proceed to dump out the liquor you were attempting to hide from them. What do they pour out?
Tough one. Knowing that Indiana's answer to The Crucible would likely be playing out in my tiny piece of parking lot, I would probably plan in advance and bring several kegs of exceptionally cheap beer. Cheap beer so that I didn't mind so much that it got poured out. Kegs because, if they want to violate the sanctity of fandom by preventing alcohol consumption, they should really have to work for it.
5. OK, so I couldn't leave it alone completely. How do you feel about the impending end of the Coach Willingham era at Washington?
I'm of two minds on the subject. On the one hand, seeing Ty get canned is, at long last, vindication for Notre Dame's decision to "allow him to pursue other opportunities." On the other hand, watching the forces of karma impose soul-crushing loss after soul-crushing loss upon Mr. Willingham fills me with a kind of hyper-schadenfreude bordering on delirium. Watching his stoic, "stiff upper lip" performance on the sideline as team after team curb-stomp the Huskies is one of my true joys. It's so remarkably surreal that you can't help but delight in its execution. I'll miss that.