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A Bruin Fan's First Rule: Maintain Fluidity

September 26, 2002|BRIAN LOWRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

There are no hard and fast rules for proper tailgating, but among true Bruin fans, a few simple ones generally apply.

For starters, tailgating is not really meant for teetotalers. Sure, you can walk proudly into the stadium without a drop of alcohol in your veins, but strolling in languidly (if not staggering) after a few drinks tends to make the first quarter much more enjoyable--especially based on the team's uneven performances in recent seasons.

The Rose Bowl, moreover, is a beautiful venue at which to sit outside enjoying a cold anything, with the mountains providing an idyllic backdrop--assuming the smog doesn't obscure them--as you watch the eclectic, attractive crowd file into the stadium.

In fact, my friends and I have distinctly noticed over the years that the crowd keeps getting younger--the only acceptable explanation for how we perceive, and are perceived by, all those marauding groups of sorority girls.

My personal choice of beverage, by the way, is a self-devised concoction of vodka, lemon-lime soda and lemonade, with Triple Sec and a splash of orange juice--perfect before noon, preceding a 12:30 p.m. kickoff. This libation alone has more than once provided me with the fortitude necessary to enter the Coliseum for the UCLA-USC game, knowing full well that I will be subjected to 3 1/2 hours of the dreaded, droning Trojan band playing "Conquest" and "Fight On" without interruption.

Bringing food is a good idea too, although the planning that goes into meals outside the Rose Bowl can be somewhat jarring--especially seeing folks lay out elaborate spreads complete with tablecloths and wineglasses.

Those of us who prefer grabbing sandwiches from Bristol Farms or the local deli would like to remind our fellow ticket-holders that they are attending a football game, not the Hollywood Bowl. Besides, overdressing for casual occasions is traditionally a Trojan trait.

One more thing to remember: No matter how good your tailgate party is, memories of the day will be poor ones if your team goes out and stinks up the field. Of course, if you've done a proper job of tailgating, it does tend to dull the impact of a subpar performance without missing out on the fun of being there. As for being clearheaded enough to savor every play, well, isn't that why they invented VCRs and TiVo?

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