By Raoul Biron
What was the score to the game? For many students and alumni, the most important part of the homecoming game isn’t the football, but the tailgate.
“I think it means more to me now that I’m an alum because it’s a chance to get back into the college atmosphere for the weekend and it’s a good way to get together with people I haven’t seen since graduation,” said Kelly Hunt, a member of the class of 2015.
The college atmosphere was hard to avoid as cars and throngs of people made Boulder Field unrecognizable on Saturday morning. Even UNH’s football game against Elon University well underway, the crowd on the farthest end of the field seemed to grow. The sounds of music blaring from car after car and beer cans getting crushed almost fully obscured the marching band and stadium announcer.
Police cars and beer bongs don’t often mix, but on the field alumni from as far back as the class of ‘72 passed Solo cups and bottles back and forth with students. Students over the age of 21 could not bring alcohol in by hand and were given bracelets with clear instructions upon entering the field: “Alcohol consumption must end at the end of halftime.” Alcohol was only permissable if driven in by car.
“I went to the tailgate because it’s tradition and it’s good to see all of the alumni. I will probably go once I’ve graduated, assuming I’m near enough to make it, but not if they keep making it stricter every year,” said Lauren Beck, a UNH senior.
While the presence of alcohol was unavoidable and virtually impossible to truly regulate, students and alumni alike found ways of making the party their own. Tents, tables, Hula hoops, inflatable aliens, seemingly endless bathroom lines and the subsequent people relieving themselves between cars made walking through the tailgate feel more like a corn maze than a parking lot.
“I’ve been waiting for over 25 (expletive) minutes and this cop is just waiting for me to go piss in the woods,” one person shouted while waiting for the portable toilet to become vacant.
As the football team routed Elon, the festivities began to move in the direction of downtown.
“I was planning on going to the game and the tailgating but the non-student tickets sold out before I could get one so I just came to see my friends instead,” Hunt said.
Non-student tickets were unusually hard to come by for alumni, so leaving behind a wake of tire tracks, Solo cups and other unrecognizable pieces of trash, many chose to reunite in Durham’s bars instead of an extended tailgate.