I believe that everyone should have a bucket list - as the movie with that title said a few years ago, a list of things you do before you kick the bucket.
I have big ones that are probably more of a pipe dream than a reality. I want to visit every baseball stadium in the United States of America. I want to be on a reality television show, preferably one where I can win a lot of money.
My biggest bucket list item I share this with one of my best friends, Eric. He and I, both born on April 13, always celebrate our birthdays during The Masters golf tournament. Our bucket list dream is to sit on the 18th hole at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 13. Now that would be living the dream.
I realize those dreams are a bit of a stretch. I do have things I want to do at some point in my life that are A: closer to home, and B: a bit on the cheaper side. And this past Sunday, I crossed one more thing off my bucket list.
For the first time in my Cleveland Brown sports-loving life, I tailgated in the Muni Lot. And the Browns won. Coincidence? I think not.
I know, I know. People are probably shaking their heads and questioning the fact that I, Dana Sulonen, have never participated in a tailgate festivity. The answer is no, I have never been to one, prior to Sunday.
I don't know what I was more overwhelmed by, the fact that I got there at 9 in the morning for a 1 p.m. game and I was two hours late to the party; the number of buses there that were repainted into some sort of Browns bus; or the amount of cornhole boards I saw lining the parking lot.
I didn't know what to do first. I quickly found out that cracking open a beverage was the first thing to do. So I did it.
But after that, I had to sit back a second and take it all in. The amount of people there, showing their support to a team that hasn't won a title in well, too long is a sight to see. I think that's the part that I loved the most - a bunch of people up there, not knowing each other from Adam, but all coming together and feeling an instant sense of camaraderie, simply because they root for the same team.
However, in the fact that it was my first time and I didn't know what to expect, I don't think I did it all right - and even if there wasn't a "wrong" and a "right" there were definitely things that I did not do, or better put, fully experience.
The biggest one is the food experience. I've heard stories of grand tailgate cuisines - that, unfortunately, was not a part of our day. We had a few dogs and I snacked on some pasta salad, and I do believe that my partner in crime Candace stole a sausage sandwich from some very nice guys we met, but that was the extent of our tailgate eating. So next time, I'm focusing on the food, because I know I could do better.
And speaking of the stolen sausage sandwich, I would like to give a shout out to the very nice guys that Candace and I met walking through the Muni Lot. In a random case of "it's a small world after all," they were from Warren, and after one perfectly placed drop of the phrase, "Read about it in tomorrow's Tribune Chronicle," they recognized me and thought that it was pretty stinking cool that they were tailgating with "The Girl" from the Tribune. Thanks, guys! You made my first tailgating experience quite memorable.
Contact Dana at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Facebook at "Dana's Daze."