Football season is here! Since Joe and I met through our love of football, the start of football season is always an anniversary of sorts. At the time, we were fans of rival college teams in the same conference. It was me, Joe and a bunch of guys who were alumni and fans of college teams in the Mid-American Conference on a message board. We harassed one another on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis on “the board,” and on football “social media” aka chat rooms. And like wine is now, football was the thing around which our lives revolved.
When we met, Joe lived in Ohio. And Texas has nothing Ohio when it comes to football fans, rivalries and tailgating. In fact, before I met Joe I had only been to “catered” tailgate parties. But for Joe — tailgating for the University of Toledo Rockets Football games was a religion, and we became master tailgaters! It seemed that our Lot 10 tailgate spreads became something of a legend, because every week Joe insisted that it had to be bigger and better. We’re not talking just hotdogs and hamburgers, or picking up a bucket of chicken. Early in the season it’s pretty easy in Ohio, because you don’t need a roaring fire to keep things warm. And unlike Texas, the evenings aren’t so hot that you can fry an egg on the parking lot at 7 p.m.
While the beverage of choice was usually beer, there were a few times we did serve wine. And that’s when the Toledo Rockets played the Redhawks of Miami University. Now for those of you ill-informed, we’re talking about the original Miami University, not the one in Florida. The one where Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played. Located in Oxford, Ohio, 35 miles north of Cincinnati, Miami U was established in 1809. The school was named for the Miami Indian Tribe that inhabited the area now known as the Miami Valley Region of Ohio. (The school with the team that takes its name from that horrible sucking wind that creates Gulf Coast devastation was not established until 1925).
So why did we serve wine at these games? For some reason the fans of Miami had a reputation of acting Ivy League — whatever that means. So the fans were nicknamed “The Brie.” It’s funny because I have never met anyone from Miami University who acted snobbish, or pretended to be from a private school. That’s another misconception — because Miami is a public university. So when we hosted our friends from Miami University, we served brie and Merlot, which is really not a good pairing at all. But back then we didn’t know!
Since we do know now which wines to serve at tailgate parties, we’ll be reviewing one each week. Joe may also post a few tailgate recipes because when it comes to football and tailgating, you don’t always have to stick to Ice Cold Beer! Stay tuned!
Oh, and Go Rockets!