A comment from Rich in the post below (about PSU parking lot rules) reminded me of why I don't always love the first game of the season.
The big unknown is always the Parking.
As you all (may) have read, I like tailgating in the "general parking" area -
My whole tailgating life I tailgated in either the ancient "blue" (back when there was only blue and yellow) or (the first, purple, and pink) reserved lots - up until 4 years ago.
That year we switched from the pink "reserved" lots to the general "parking" lots.
We'd always arrived to be there when the gates (or rope) opened - so that was no change - but what was different was the community -
In the Pink lot, we'd be the only vehicle in the area for the first hour - and, because people were arriving at all different times, our tailgate always had to be mobile - As I've written before, our tailgate got run-over, and our car(s) were hit twice as well.
In non-reserved parking, when you pull into that parking spot, barring some type of emergency, you're in. Everyone sets up their tailgates and gets about the business of celebrating our fine university and Penn State Football. Sure there's the occasional disagreement between inhabitants - but, for the most part, it's just a great atmosphere.
That is, once you get over the stress of parking. PSU has rules - rules about how the cars are supposed to be spaced - rules about canopies, beverages, noise, fire, etc. Some rules they choose to enforce (ie, open flames - if they can catch you) - some they occasionally make a fuss about - fire lanes, drinking - and some they blatantly ignore - canopies. But the rules are in place - and that's always a (totally unnecessary) worry driving up to the stadium in the wee hours of the AM.
And the rule that is sometimes enforced - but, it seems, only on those who get there early and wait in line for 2 or more hours, is the spacing - at 8am on a big game day they will park the first cars in with very little room to spare - it's impossible not to notice that in the later hours (and in lots farther away) this is not an issue.
It's interesting to me that the parking people (and I do understand that they are just following orders from above) would effectively punish their most dedicated fans.
And I'd like to note that just because you park in the non-reserved areas does not mean that you don't donate money to the University.
It's very difficult to have a mulit-car tailgate unless you park in the parking lots -
PERSONALLY, what I think Penn State needs to do - if they are determined to have "parking lots" - is to also have designated "tailgating" lots - lots, not spaces. We'll pay more if we have to (but the fan from Idaho who gets to town for one game a season should not have to pay more just to be able to tailgate - but I digress) - just give us a "first come, first park" area where we can set up our (non-award winning) tailgates without the worries.
And then you can park all those non-tailgating cars where ever you want - I have a few ideas.
Penn State proudly (I assume it's proudly) posts a placard outside the stadium touting its great tailgating tradition (the picture, of course, is of the "parking" lot) -
Penn State is known across the country as a great place to tailgate - to meet up with friends, enjoy the outdoors and our great team - if they want to continue this reputation - they need to make sure that they still have tailgates going on.
BUT HEY -
WE'LL BE HEADING UP TO STATE COLLEGE IN A FEW HOURS! TIME TO START THE FOOTBALL DANCE!
"it's Penn State Football time; it's Penn State Football time..."