With opening day, spring has sprung

Joseph Dorschel, Sports Editor

For many fans, opening day marks the beginning of the team’s home games. However, for some, this momentous occasion is synonymous with the beginning of spring. It brings the promise of warm weather, shorts, flip-flops, and summer ball games. Fans from all over Wisconsin celebrate the event. The atmosphere that surrounds Miller Park during opening day is electrifying. The Milwaukee Brewers will host the Atlanta Braves for their home opener April 4.

To truly get the most out of the “opening day experience”, one must prepare for the event. This includes dressing appropriately. I don’t mean the decision of whether to wear shorts, long-sleeves, or sunglasses. To each their own as far as layers of clothing goes. This is Wisconsin, where 50-degree weather feels like a heat wave. Instead, the question should be, how much Brewers gear can I wear to signify myself as a true fan? An abundance of jerseys, hats, t-shirts, and even jewelry are donned by the Brewer faithful. The application of face paint is common and encouraged.

If you don’t have any Brew Crew gear, try borrowing some from a friend. While not wearing the team’s colors won’t bring about the apocalypse, you may find that you are in the severe minority. Attending the event over the years, I have seen many creative and colorful costumes. Everything from blue and yellow spandex body suits, to a man dressed in a superhero outfit complete with blue cape and mask.

Choosing what to wear is fun and important as far as representing the team, however the bulk of the decisions lie in what to bring for the tailgate. A casual fan may come to the event near game time; watch the game, then head home. For many true fans, opening day is an all day extravaganza. This includes the massive tailgate at Miller Park.

Cars line the streets in all directions outside of Miller Park before the parking officials let the fans in early in the morning. While cars pile into the multitude of parking lots inside the stadium complex, fans start setting up their tailgate essentials. Grills small and large are wheeled out and fired up. Soon you can start to smell cooking brats, chicken, and hotdogs. Cheese is also in abundance.

Beer starts to flow out of cans, bottles, and kegs. Beer is found in abundance at this event. This seems appropriate considering the team’s name and affiliation with the brewing industry.

Fans pull out tailgate games. Some favorites are beanbag toss, washers, and of course beer pong.

One staple found throughout the tailgate is the beer bong. This tube of varying length has a funnel on top to pour beer into and a clasp on the bottom to stop the flow until the beverage is poured in. The top is held high so gravity will force the flow down. Quick consumption follows after the clasp is released and beer drains into the bottom of the tube into the mouth of the user. I once witnessed a group that had a 15-foot beer bong hoisted to the top of a RV that could fit six beers in the tube.

Rain or shine, the games begin. As the food gets consumed and the beverages flow, fans become increasingly raucous. People who have never met before become best friends just for the day, with the common denominator being love for the home team and all that goes with it. People start to trickle into the stadium to watch the game. Many fans start to cheer and sing traditional songs, such as “Roll Out The Barrel.” Win or lose, fans can enjoy the fact that the event is not only the beginning of the Brewers’ home games, but a symbol that spring has officially sprung.