Tales of the Tailgate Club

by Henry Butterfield '18

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Early in the fall of last year, Colin Boylan and I finished our Wednesday cross-country practice and saw that the Girl's Varsity Soccer team had a home game against Brooks. We noticed that there weren’t many students at the game, but decided to join the few parents watching from the stands. It was a beautiful day, and Mr. Hebert was watching the game with his son when he approached us and said that we should bring a grill to games and cook for the fans. On that day, Colin and I got the idea to found the Tailgating Club at St. Mark’s.

Colin and I had thought for some time that at St. Mark’s there was little to no fan engagement and very little school spirit at games. We created the club to increase a sense of community and fan involvement, hoping that by bringing food to the games and cooking for fans and players, more and more people would come to events around school. Each Wednesday, Colin, Pete Nugent and I would pick a game to tailgate. The weekend prior, Pete or I would go out and buy the necessary food for the game. During free periods on Wednesdays, we would bring the grill down and get everything ready for the games. We sent emails out to the school and made announcements at school meeting to make sure every student at St. Mark's was aware of the tailgated game.

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Last Fall we tailgated ten games for nearly every varsity sport, and we were able to tailgate away games too, including the New England Championship Girls Soccer game, which was held at Brooks. At that game we had hundreds of students and parents drive to the game to cheer on the team. The club has been widely successful in the fall and we plan on attending more winter and spring games soon. Go St. Mark's!