Whether a rookie or veteran, Dolphins tailgating is a blast (Credit: Niema Hulin)

Whether a rookie or veteran, Dolphins tailgating is a blast (Credit: Niema Hulin)

Tailgating is pretty much the same everywhere. Grab some friends, a couple of beers and some great food and you’ve got yourself a party. However if you’re new to tailgating, you might not know what to expect and the last thing you want to do is look like a newbie. So follow this advice and you’ll be tailgating like a Miami Dolphin in no time.

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Rule #1: Arrive Early

It may be fashionable to be late to clubs or parties in Miami but it’s downright rude to show up late to a tailgate. Sun Life Stadium opens its parking-lot gates four hours before game time so tailgaters can arrive early to set up their decorations and cook their food. If you roll in late, the entire parking lot is filled with canopies and slightly buzzed fans. The last thing they want to do is stop their fun so that you can park your over-sized vehicle while trying not to knock over the decorations that they have so carefully set up. So arrive at least three hours early to park and get your own party going.

Rule #2: Remember that Tailgating is Camping Meets College

There is a certain carefree spirit that goes along with tailgating that makes it so much fun. In order to acquire this spirit, you’re going to have to draw from life experiences. If you’ve ever been camping or gone to college or both, you’ve noticed the similarities to tailgating. Camping requires an outdoor grill, a makeshift shelter, a cooler and food while college is all about the drinking games and hard partying. Tailgating is all of these things without the drawbacks of wild animals stealing your food or House Mothers supervising your fun. Now, if you haven’t been camping or to college, rent “The Great Outdoors” and “Animal House.” They’ll give you an idea of the spirit you’re supposed to have. Just don’t take it too literally and show up in a fishing vest and a toga.

Rule #3: Share, Share, Share

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Tailgaters are united in the spirit of gluttony, hydration and pigskin pride and if they see a fellow tailgater without food or drink, they are obligated to offer them some of their bounty. Call it unselfish but it seems that all of the petty differences of the world just melt away a couple of hours before game time. Even the fact that you’re not rooting for the Dolphins can’t stop the kindness and any grievance is soon forgotten over a can of beer and grilled hot dog. Tailgaters are people at their best.

Rule #4: Clean Up Your Mess

Nobody likes a messy person, so naturally they don’t like a messy tailgater. After you’re done tailgating, pick up all of your food and decorations and pack them back into your car before heading into the game. Leaving these things out is tacky so show some common courtesy and clean up your mess.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

Niema Hulin was born in Newark, NJ but raised in Lexington, South Carolina for the bulk of her formative years. In 2002, she moved to Miami after graduating from the University of Florida. Since then, Niema has worked in film, television and commercials as a Production Assistant and Production Coordinator. Some of her films have included Bad Boys II and I Am Number IV. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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