Homecoming Tailgate: No Longer New, How Was Take #2?


Seniors gather around to learn the ways of a DJ during the Homecoming tailgate this past Friday. Photo from Weddington High School instagram @weddingtonhs

Homecoming Spirit Week is a busy time for the majority of Weddington’s student body- athletes, as well as members of Student Government, yearbook, and marching band spend the week preparing for and attending various events. Spirit week is a great way to build anticipation for Friday night’s Homecoming football game. Although Weddington has previously attempted to include an informal post-football game Homecoming dance to the checklist of the week’s festivities, it seems that the school has opted to go in a non-traditional direction with the addition of the pre-game Homecoming tailgate. Introduced last year, the tailgate serves as a chance for students to eat, relax, and hang out with friends before the game starts at 7:30pm. 

Present at both years’ tailgates was now senior Rohan Kothadia, also known as “DJ Roko”. Rohan’s selection of songs maintained an upbeat atmosphere that allowed students to enjoy their pre-game snacks and socialize as they pleased. Since he had DJ-ed the event two years in a row, when asked about the differences between this year’s tailgate and the one held last year, Rohan remarked “There were way less upperclassmen at the tailgate this year, and no games to keep people entertained.” 2018’s tailgate boasted lawn games such as cornhole, spikeball, and playing catch with a football, all serving as entertainment that was more structured. There were also several food trucks at last year’s tailgate, whereas this year the sole food truck was the aptly named “Tin Kitchen”, a silver colored vehicle that offered nachos, quesadillas, tacos, sliders, and salads with an assortment of drinks and sides. The cuisine offered by the truck was appreciated by many, and the line of people eager to get their hands on food was consistent for the duration of the event. 

At 2019’s tailgate, DJ Roko’s playlist consisted of a mix of nostalgic Disney Channel throwbacks, 2000s pop, and current hits that encouraged multiple students who had finished eating to stay and dance. Many students who were friends with Rohan or wanted to request songs sat on the benches behind his DJ booth, which proved to be positioned in a great spot because it was right outside the door to the bus loop and student parking lot. This was convenient, because the event sparked the interest of many people already leaving or entering the building. Staff members such as Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Bowers, Dr. Jay Jones, and 1st Sergeant Barlow also made an appearance and also enjoyed the food offered by the Tin Kitchen. Many marching band members took the opportunity to socialize with friends who attended the tailgate before preparing to make their way to the football field, and a few actors did the same before and after attending rehearsal for the fall play. A few athletes, mostly cheerleaders or football players, arrived at the school before their designated times and chose to take a minute to get something to eat. Additionally, some members of the soccer team stopped by after practice to catch up with friends.  

The more laid back and less established feel of this year’s tailgate has received mixed reviews. Some students feel that the lawn games from last year provided entertainment that this year’s tailgate lacked, and others enjoyed the smaller feel of the event. One of the advantages of a more informal activity like this year’s tailgate is that students can choose to stay or leave at their own discretion, enforcing the idea that the tailgate is not necessarily mandatory, but instead is a quick, casual, and easy opportunity to score some good food before the game. Based on feedback from the student body discussed in Abigail Martin’s article from last week here, it is currently unclear whether or not Weddington will continue to hold a homecoming tailgate or attempt to replace it with a dance.  Despite the difference in atmosphere and size between the event this year and last, the tailgate managed to highlight the importance of this year’s homecoming football game and contributed to what is already a very beloved Warrior Nation tradition.