You may recall that not too long ago I had a bit of an emotional breakdown regarding the changing of the rules in the parking lots at FedEx that seemed aimed squarely at my heart. Saturday was the first chance I had to experience the new system and let me tell you I was pleasantly surprised.
Going in, my understanding was that tailgaters would be sent to the back of the lot and everyone else would be parked at the front of the lot by attendants. They also changed the flow of the traffic into the lots, changing the way you enter into certain lots before the game. Armed with this basic understanding, Kevin and I got there at roughly 3:30, which was when they opened the gates. We proceeded without any harassment to our traditional spot in the back of the orange F lot. In fact, aside from coming in a different way, the initial experience of entering the lot and settling on a space was completely unchanged.
I ran up to the first parking lot attendant I could find to get as much information as possible regarding what he was told to do and how it was going to play out. At that point he was literally standing in the middle of an empty lot--as were many parking lot attendants at this point. They were positioned in the front of the lot to park folks and it was still early.
I asked, "What are they telling you guys to do? Where will you be directing people and how will you be filling the lots?"
The look I received in return from this man was all the answer I needed. And I couldn't believe it. He did not understand a word of English. He just kept saying "OK". THIS was the importance paid to the time-honored tradition of tailgating? THIS was the measure of Daniel Snyder's resolve in re-writing and enforcing a new parking lot system?
Thankfully, a manager rolled through in a golf cart and was more than happy to speak with me and answer my questions. He was so helpful in fact, that I quickly forgot and forgave the fact that at one point, the fate of my tailgate seemingly rested in the hands of a dude whose sole form of communication with everyone else was an orange flag.
I was told that similar to last year, they were letting the first wave of tailgaters in and allowing them to pretty much park wherever they wanted to park. This initial wave will most likely consist of the people that congregate outside of the gates prior to them opening. Fairly soon thereafter, the parking lot attendants will be ushering people not interested in setting up a tailgate to the front of the lot and filling in the spaces one at a time. In fact, this is what took place. The noteworthy takeaway to those of us who get there early is when you set up your tailgate, know that they will be filling the lot in front to back and when they get to where you are set up, you will most likely be asked to break down. So if you set up in the front or middle of the lot, your tailgate has a timer on it. We set up in the back of the lot and we were never bothered--of course, it was a preseason game and I would expect this could change come September.
Different lots have different dynamics of course, but I can say that my tailgating experience was largely unscathed by the new rules and regulations. So to be fair, Dan Snyder and his team get my thanks for going one-for-one in this department.
As for the weather, let's just say it didn't keep our tailgate down. We were able to get the tent up and get the party going ahead of the rain, and we actually stayed pretty dry, relatively speaking. Looking around the lot, it seemed that the people who came to tailgate were set up and getting it done. I saw a few wind casualties (tents) but for the most part, the parking lot was as lively as I have seen it in the preseason, storm and all. I will be interested to see how the Friday crew treats us this week.
I would love to hear about other people's experiences in the parking lot this past week. Was it what you expected? Were you pleasantly surprised as I was, or did something piss you off? What grade would you give the new laws of the land?