Sports and tailgating seem to go hand-in-hand, regardless of whether the game is a professional sports or collegiate event. There are even diehard fans that will choose to tailgate at high school games. Tailgate parties are a great way to get fired up before the game and socialize with friends. Many tailgate celebrations are quite elaborate, boasting food, activities and of course—alcohol.
Unfortunately, there are those that will take the alcohol consumption element to excessive levels, which is of concern not only to law enforcement, but to everyone in the stands and on the road. Intoxicated drivers intermingled with thousands of fans leaving the stadium, both on foot and in vehicles, is a recipe for disaster! Law enforcement officials from across the country can typically speak of countless driving accidents—some minor and some serious—that have occurred after sporting events, not to mention disturbances and other offenses that were clearly related to excessive consumption of alcohol at a game.
In recent years, there has been a push from beer and liquor distributors encouraging their consumers to drink responsibly. Millions of dollars have been spent on advertising campaigns, materials for restaurant servers and even safe ride programs encouraging those who are drinking to do so safely and conscientiously. Many sports venues now offer free soda and water for designated drivers and have also eliminated the sale of alcohol during the last hour(s) of the game. One community here in Wisconsin recently banned the sale of alcoholic beverages at any sporting event where the participants are under 18 years of age.
“Responsible drinking” is the key phrase here. This is something that needs to be practiced not only at sporting events but all the time. Our kids look to their parents and relatives as role models and take note of our behaviors all the time. Sometimes I think we get caught up in the moment and forget that kids are learning from us even when we aren’t aware of it.
So as we enjoy fall weather and football games, remember to have a good time and be responsible.
Oh, and GO PACKERS and BADGERS!