The Occidental Programming Board hosted its first “Liberal Arts Tailgate” prior to the men’s soccer (6–3 overall, 3–3 SCIAC) matchup against Chapman on Saturday. This pre-game celebration, however, was not a typical tailgate.
While students were treated to classic tailgate foods such as burgers and soda, Programming Board also offered a variety of vegan and vegetarian options, like kale and V8 vegetable juice.
The differences between stereotypical tailgates and Occidental’s Liberal Arts Tailgate went far beyond food. Instead of the usual classics like cornhole, washer toss or ladder toss, the Programming Board offered games such as chess, checkers and Twister as the primary source of entertainment.
“The idea behind the Liberal Arts Tailgate was to essentially make an ironic tailgate, one that kind of broke down the ideas behind the stereotypical sports tailgate,” Programming Board member Aili Osteraas-Constable (sophomore) said.
In a twist on a tailgate convention, students crafted various soccer signs and decorations to adorn the tables. But signs with messages such as “Be Careful” and “Oxy wins at sportsmanship” continued the ironic theme. At the conclusion of the festivities, students were allowed to take these signs to the game to cheer on the team.
Although the food and games found at the tailgate were a bit of a shock to some of the fans, most seemed to get behind the satirical theme. According to Osteraas-Constable, the event drew between 65–85 fans.
“It was definitely a little bit of a surprise when I first showed up and saw that they were serving artisan cheese and crackers,” Colton Bares (sophomore) said. “But overall I though it was a pretty funny and interesting idea.”
While the event received positive feedback from those who went, it has not been determined if it will become a weekly event or expand beyond soccer.
“I definitely hope they have another [tailgate]. I thought the vegetarian food was pretty tasty and I had my chess game on point before I left for the soccer game,” Sebi Ohara-Saft (junior) said.
Aside from providing a place for students to get some free food and play games, the tailgate also acted as an attraction to boost support for the men’s soccer team, who attempted to pull even in conference play against Chapman. The added support paid off, as the Tigers won a high-scoring thriller against the Panthers.
Occidental started off the game on fire, as Santiago Bedoya-Gallego (first-year) got the ball rolling with a goal in the 15th minute. Sophomore forward Morgan Benett-Smith and senior midfielder Alessandro Carotenuto both added first-half goals to push the Tiger lead to 3–0 before the Panthers were able to add a goal, bringing the halftime score to 3–1.
Despite a quick goal to start off the second half for Occidental, Chapman came back in the second half with a flurry of three straight goals to tie the game. After the defensive lapse, the Tigers were able to retake control of the game in the 77th minute when junior forward Michael Tonetti* found the back of the net. Team captain Carotenuto capped off an impressive night for the Occidental offense, completing his hat-trick in the 87th minute.
“This past weekend we changed up the formation of the offense a bit, moving two more players up to act as wingers and support the forwards,” junior midfielder Munraj Singh said. “Technically speaking, changing our formation was the only major change to our offense, but within the game, I think that extra support led to more chances and a better ability for the team to finish.”
On the defensive end, junior goalkeeper Tristan Cooper collected two saves on the day. In the end, the Tigers pulled out a 6–4 victory, bringing their conference record to an even 3–3 mark.
“I felt that we did pretty well,” Singh said. “We kind of got in a dogfight at the start of the second half when we let them back in the game, but I think our ability to come back and close out the game with two goals showed that we have a lot of character, a lot of fight and a lot heart.”
The Tigers return to the pitch at 7 p.m. tonight on Patterson Field, where they will attempt to take down conference foe Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
*Tonetti is a staff writer for the Occidental Weekly