Leighton from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Adam, love the blog.
Keeps me going during the winter season especially! My wife and I are big Hawkeye fans and particularly enjoy Big Ten Football Saturdays here in Iowa City. We've got a great group of friends who all tailgate together, and as luck would have it, over half of us are having babies for the first time this summer. Any advice on how to transition into family tailgating and/or how to keep my marriage in good condition as I face this significant college football fan challenge?
My answer was as follows:
This is a difficult situation. If I did it over again i'd say 4 or 5 is a better age to start them at the football games. My first son went to his first game at the age of 2 and a half and even then he got to spend the 2nd half of the game running back and forth in an empty section of the michigan state bleachers (thats right, his first iowa game was an away game!) he also ended up with an empty case of beer (just the cardboard) on his head looking through the handle (calling it a mask) because it was making passer bys laugh at him and egg him on. i hope those pictures dont surface when i run for
Until they are 2 i wouldnt recommend taking them tailgating either (even with someone arranged to watch the kids) since most of your attention and focus will be on taking care of the baby and not on having a good time tailgating. Id say for this year and probably next you and your friends are better off getting someone to watch the kids on saturday morning or trading off on who takes the kids to their house.
Also keep in mind that your friends without kids won't quite understand why they should need to transition into a more family oriented tailgate which you probably dont need to do until the kids start coming and are able to run around and throw a ball. The easiest is to find a place that has a large field (rather than a parking lot), think finkbine driving range, as there is a large field inbetween the course and driving range that cars cant go into, and golfers arent hitting towards which makes for a safe place to run around.
Needless to say i dont go to many games (without a babysitter at home) anymore but i do take the 2 year old, soon to be 3, to the tailgate to see my friends and let him use his extra energy running around and then grab a pork on a stick on the way home
where we watch the games.
One last thought if your wife isnt too big on going to the games, is to make sure she can do whatever she might like to do on the saturdays that iowa is away while you take the baby. I know coralridge mall or tanger outlet would love an amount of money equal to or greater than what would be spent on an average gameday
Hope this helps.
For all of you not familiar with Iowa City, Finkbine is the golf course. This coming fall should definitely be full of fun Saturdays as Thomas will be old enough to enjoy all the food and toss a football around at the tailgate, assuming my friends still decide to goto Finkbine's driving range. Otherwise it'll be backyard grilling before games.