Tailgates and touchdowns: seeing both

Shelbie Graham, nursing junior, Beth Townsend, early child education sophmore, Chierra Truett, nursing sophmore Paytan Deloof, education freshman show their spirit in a selfie during the tail gate at the MSU v. TEXAS A&M-KINGSVILLE at the Memorial Stadium on Sept 16. Photo by Marissa Daley

Laughter, and loud music filled the air. Students sporting maroon-and-gold attire scattered throughout the parking lot outside of Memorial Stadium.  At the first two home games of the semester, several hundred people– ,mostly members of the Greek community participated in tailgating. And most leave– never attending the game.

Head coach Bill Maskill has a solution.

“The key would be having an association with somebody that’s actually involved in the game,” Maskill said. “The cheerleaders, the band the players, maybe some of the coaches. The kids know the coaches and just develop a relationship with the team, so they want to be there to support the guys and girls that they know.”

To persuade more students to stay after the tailgate, Maskill suggested having activities for them.

“If the fans make [a field goal] they can get Dr Pepper for a year, they can get Chicken Express for a year — something of that nature,” Maskill said.

While Maskill said he would like a larger crowd, he said that the team still has motivation to play despite the numbers.

“Our kids are excited about playing because that’s the reward of working all year long is to play a game,” Maskill said. “Last year we played Oklahoma Panhandle on a Sunday afternoon after the big rains and lightning on Saturday night— and there wasn’t but 100 people there.”

Peter Marrufo, nursing junior, said who started tailgating at 4:30 p.m., believes the attendees who only come to tailgate “just like to hang out with everybody.”

“I mean it’s a big gathering,” Marrufo said. “a lot of people are here, everybody wants to see their friends and hang out in a big setting.”

Marrufo also stated that planned to stay to support the team and that the tailgate should be extended.

I know here we stop as soon as the first quarter starts, I think it should be a little bit longer,” Marrufo said.

Thomas Cook, business administration senior, not only agreed with Marrufo on the reasoning behind students not attending the game, but suggested a few locations for an on campus stadium.

“It should be on the president’s lawn,” Cook said. “If the president decided, you know, to tear down her house because she doesn’t really enjoy her house being that big I guess, or one of the soccer fields and the free play fields.”

 

Yet, according to some students, there is hope. Ricinda Turner, mass communication senior and Mustang Maniacs co-chief, said game attendance has increased.

“Our student section, it’s gotten a lot better,” Turner said. “Throughout the years we’ve grown and this year they’ve come out, especially the freshmen.”

In contrast to Cook and Marrufo, Turner said she believes the current length of tailgating is suitable.

“It ends at the perfect time. You get your little fun in, come in and enjoy the game like tailgating’s supposed to be,” Turner said. 

Turner said she also believes more students would attend games if there was an on campus stadium.

“There’s the factor of people who don’t have cars,” she said. “So they may not want to find a ride or may not catch the bus in time to come to the game. So if it’s on campus, as in walking distance, maybe more people would come.”