Once football season starts, the sights, sounds and smells are always the same in the Queen City on Sunday morning. It doesn't matter if the Panthers play at 1 p.m., which parking lot you tailgate in or if you even like sports at all, you'll know what day it is as soon as you step outside.
Hamburgers, beer, vomit, porta potties and faces that will scream, "I'm hungover" at work the next morning. *Inhales deep,* oh yeah, that's what Sunday Funday and football are all about.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a huge sports buff. I know, gasp, a social faux pas that most sports fanatics would argue is way worse than previous blunders, which may or may not include throwing up in an Uber. However, I try to redeem myself by throwing on a Panthers jersey and finding the nearest bar to rally with the best of them.
This past weekend, for instance, Buffalo Bills fans came out in droves and took over the city. My girls gathered to celebrate a birthday at Suffolk Punch in South End on Friday and instead of going to our usual watering hole, we decided to spread our wings a bit. For our first stop, we settled on "the new Gin Mill" aka The Brickyard. In case you're wondering, nothing's really changed other than the tunes playing over the speakers — you can even still get popcorn.
After a drink, we closed out and rounded the corner. While one of my friends is a Buffalo Bills fan, I was completely oblivious to the fact that we'd be stumbling into a Friday night tailgate complete with cornhole boards, pajama pants and bros. The tailgate scene in the parking lot shared by Tavern On the Tracks and old Gin Mill was terrifying and thrilling all at the same time. It was only Friday, two days before game day? Now, that's what I call a pregame.
Fortunately, everyone was already so drunk I didn't have to concern myself with playing the part of "my team is better than yours," and we were able to slide into a few chairs on the patio outside of Tavern and "politely" takeover someone's table. We watched the madness unfold from a safe distance while someone serenaded us with live music. I could see the excitement building in my friend's eyes as she turned to our other friend to remind her how much fun the tailgate was going to be on Sunday. Hell, I wasn't even supposed to be going with them and I already had FOMO.
On game day, tailgaters were up and at 'em by 9:30 a.m. No lie. I woke up to a text from my girl, "Guys. 'Member when we were gunna be good? I know, I may have been the only one that said it. But I didn't do it. But the mother fucking Buffalo Bills are here bayyyybeeee." I cracked up immediately thinking about how lit she must have been the night before and here she was, texting us at 9 a.m. ready to go. I knew a tailgate party would be a terrible idea for my Monday morning, especially when they ended up getting there at 11 a.m. (Little did I know I would end up going out after the game anyways.)
I settled for watching all of the Snapchat and Instagram stories of tailgaters having the time of their lives. It was the first Panthers home game of the season, the so-called Bills Mafia was in full effect and everyone was ready to get lit. I moped around the house wondering whether I should get in on the action for a few hours or attempt to adult. That's when I discovered that my washing machine was broken and had leaked into the condo beneath mine. Yeah, after a series of unfortunate leaks and random repairs, this was just the icing on the cake. Naturally, that meant I needed to go out and unwind. Don't ask me why, we'll blame it on that Panthers "W" and those rowdy Buffalo Bills.
As I walked to work the next morning, I counted the beer cans along my path littering the street. I felt like I could still smell the scent of PBR and vomit in the air. While the idea of either was completely nauseating, I smiled thinking about how even though I knock it, football season is really one of the most exciting times to be in the Q.C. Y'all might just make a true fan out of me just yet! What's your favorite football season memory in the Queen?