For most Houston Texans fans, tailgating is a pretty simple thing to do. You get on a bus (or drive a car if you have a parking pass), go to the stadium, wander around, and eat and drink until you forget a football game is even going on.
But what of the Texans fans who aren’t in easy traveling distance to Kirby Drive? Are they just supposed to sit, turn on the game, turn off the game and go on with their lives?
Friends, fellow members of the Texans diaspora, fear not, for I have some handy tips to make your gameday experience, win or loss, a great one.
Step One: Finding the Game
This is vital, for obvious reasons. If you can’t watch the game you’re not really tailgating (or homegating), you’re just having a big meal laden with fried foods and beer. If you don’t live near Houston, finding the game is difficult but doable. If you live outside of Texas, you might as well try to watch the game on the Moon because you’ll have more luck that way than watching the Texans at home.
But I’ve got your back.
Here’s some options for you to get the game, either at home or near your house; far-from-homegating, if you will.
NFL Sunday Ticket
This is probably the easiest, most consistent way to get the Texans into your house. The only drawback to this, for now, is the certainty that to get it, you would have to switch to DirecTV and THEN pay an additional ~$300 a year to get it on top of whatever you’re now paying for satellite television. And to add insult to injury, going this route you’re essentially spending hundreds of dollars and making a significant change to your life and adding more bills to your life just so you can watch the Texans go 4-13 on the year.
Maybe it’s that I’m cheap or lazy or possibly both that I don’t mess with Sunday Ticket. I let others do it for me.
That’s why I usually resort to this, instead:
Going to a Bar
OK, sure, if you want to get technical, this isn’t “home”gating but since you can’t exactly get to Kirby for the tailgate party if you live way away from Houston, this is the finest of options.
When you become a regular at a bar to watch the Texans play, you start getting more attention from the waitstaff, you know the bar’s rhythm and your waiter or waitress (if it’s the same person) will learn what you like and don’t like and remember you and your order. Pro Tip: Tipping your waiter above and beyond (like if you don’t drink but you tip like you did) will accelerate this learning curve really quick. You should tip your waiters/waitresses anyway but I won’t go into that here.
Not only that, you’re not completely changing your living situation and taking on additional expenses to watch a bad team play football. THAT is a great call.
Step Two: Comfort
If you’re at home, this is easy, you just settle into your chair with snacks at your side and get really annoyed at the television for three hours or until you doze off, whichever comes first. The really important part here is establishing what YOUR chair is. I’d wager that most of us have somewhere in our house or apartment or whatever a chair that’s maybe seen better days, is just getting a little threadbare, but we hang onto it despite its imperfections.
Because it’s THE chair. It’s the one that’s molded to your body after months and years of sitting. You’ve finally got it in the exact perfect way you like it, you don’t let others sit in it out of fear that they’ll screw the chair up, that you’ll have to recalibrate the chair to your exacting specifications. It’s a bit like when a baseball player conditions their glove, except for your butt.
Step Three: Friends
This part is tricky if you live far from Houston. The further away you get from Houston, the lower the chances of finding fellow Texans fans to watch the game with. If you have friends who are Texans fans, then your solution is pretty easy about getting them. For the sophisticated far-from-homegater such as yourself, you might not be that lucky to have Texans friends nearby. Make sure you prepare your house early, you never know when people will start trickling in. Some people are weird and arrive way earlier than they need to.
Step Four: Food and Drink
Don’t be ridiculous, of course you have to have food at your far-from-homegate, whether that’s watching at home or at your local Texans bar (if you have one).
If you really want to go all out, then do it! This is your adventure! Get the hot wings, the onion rings and chili and fries, coat it all with cheese and guzzle it down with your favorite beverage (I recommend Coke Zero Sugar Dreamworld. Don’t ask questions, just try it.).
“But Patrick, that doesn’t sound like a very sophisticated spread for a far-from-homegate party.”
Well, you’re right. To which I have three things to reply.
- The homegate itself doesn’t have to be sophisticated. Just you. And you read this blog and are currently reading this so clearly that means you are a sophisticated fan, my friend.
- Have you considered maybe putting little top hats on all the onion rings and stuff?
- If you feel like going full gourmand, then by Durga do it! This is just a primer, you can go above and beyond our suggestions here.
The important thing is that you have a good time, whether that’s at home, at your local watering hole, or if you find yourself at an honest-to-goodness tailgate party on Kirby. The goal is to have fun, during the game or despite the game. Because enjoying yourself watching Texans football (not necessarily mutually exclusive sometimes!) is the greatest call of all.