“The less I needed, the better I felt.” – Charles Bukowski
Game-day Experience Merchandise Guide
Merchandise from the Austin FC/MLS Store site falls under one of the two following categories:
Price is not of importance when talking Elite-Tier merchandise. These are the products you can proudly pack for a tailgate knowing you made an educated/wise decision with your purchasing power. Stay in this lane. Simple.
Avoid these tailgating products at all costs. Purchasing from this category projects an amateur understanding of the tailgating experience and will open you up to ridicule only the most socially detached human could withstand. What was meant to be a beacon of pride serves instead as a metaphorical white flag, flaccid and limply waving in the direction of the opposition. You should be flogged for your transgressions and ousted as the involuntary celibate you certainly are. Who made these harsh sports merchandising rules? Not me sir — I’m just here to help.
God willing, you read this guide thoroughly, and I’ll be shaking your hand at the McKalla Place parking lot before the home-opener. See you there comrade.
Giant Jenga (Virgin-Tier)
The giant Jenga game comes in two different sizes; one is made up of 9 inch blocks, and for those really trying to channel their inner bitch, the store offers a 7 inch block option.
An engraved Jenga set has no place at a tailgate. I don’t care how compact this thing gets inside of its nerdy carrying case, it’s still going to take up precious cargo space that could otherwise be used for essentials (example: drugs/alcohol).
If you spend $150 on a giant Jenga set, you’re an asshole. If you opt for the 7-inch Jenga set because you want to save a little money, you’re a really cheap asshole. Try Kung-Fu Saloon on a non-game day and play all the giant Jenga your tiny heart desires.
Some bro: “Hey Johnny, what you got in that black bag!?”
No one cool (ever): “It’s my engraved Austin F.C. giant Jenga set!”
Bro: “Fuck you Johnny.”
These Growlers (Elite-Tier)
Imagine the possibilities galvanized steel, compressed CO2 and tap-fresh beer can provide while tailgating at McKalla Place.
Maybe you meet the sultry gaze of an attractive woman, and it just so happens she is looking for one last beverage before game time. You oblige via your branded Austin FC growler. She is impressed. With little effort, she gives you her phone number and makes plans to meet you at the half for another drink. After 45 minutes of Austin FC trouncing the Columbus Crew, halftime passes and you’re still in a shiny new bathroom stall making passionate & unprotected love to the woman you met pre-game.
A month or so passes and she calls you to inform you of her pregnancy. You got along so well that you end up meeting again, getting married, having a healthy child, and spending the rest of your lives happily married.
Seldom is there a purchase that changes the trajectory of your life into such a positive direction. This growler is such a purchase. Your future and the existence of your children depend on it.
Growler Tap (Virgin-Tier)
“Hey dawg…I thought I was Elite for buying a growler, but now you’re telling me I’m a virgin for buying the matching tap? I’m confused.”
Ahh. You’re paying attention. Read on….
Bringing both the branded growler and the matching tap is excessive and reminiscent of a being a “full-kit wanker.” If you’re the type of person to show up to a tailgate wearing the same gear, head to toe, worn by the on-field players, then I suppose you wouldn’t understand the inherent issue with the growler & tap combo but this surely wouldn’t be the only thing that escapes you on a day-to-day basis.
Avoid the pair.
A Flag (Virgin)
Look at this…pathetic…
They really shit the sheets with this one. Who on God’s green Earth wants a one-sided flag? What sort of communist bullshit is this? What do you do with this at a tailgate?
If you bought this flag, tie this baby around your neck and wear it like a cape. Everyone will call you Captain Shit-stick; your superpower is being a fucking idiot with bad taste.
[UPDATE: REMOVED FROM STORE. THEY MUST BE PAYING ATTENTION]
Washer Set (V-)
Growing up as kids, we used to call this game “Little Ring, Middle Mug Bitch-Toss”
You just bought cornhole for babies and brought it to an adult’s tailgate. You’re a special kind of asshole. The same asshole who pounces on opportunities to make trivial corrections like “you know, it’s actually called futobol.” This carny game from hell has no place at a tailgate.
[UPDATE: REMOVED FROM STORE FOR BEING SO BITCH]
Cornhole Bags (Elite-Tier)
Clearly, cornhole is THE definitive tailgating game of the past century. We all know it. We all love it.
I’m not trying to say that Austin FC supporters shouldn’t strive to come up with the “next great thing” in the tailgate-gaming world, but as far as what the AFC merch site is offering, cornhole takes the cake.
No need to waste pre-game time with explaining rules to games no one cares about. Just hang, eat, drink, and play a game that we’ve all grown to love. The branded bags are a subtle addition to an already classic tailgating experience.
Cornhole Carrying Case (V-)
Owning this cornhole carrying case is a real cry for help.
Transport your cornhole accessories in one of the 1,000s of H.E.B. bags you have jammed into a cupboard somewhere. Who is ever going to see this thing long enough to even notice the tiny Austin FC logo? What’s the point? Who would buy this crap? “Doubles as a storage bag” – ohhhhhh, well fuck me sideways and take my $50 then…
Un-cool Guy: “Check it! An Austin FC Regulation Corhole Carrying Case!!”
Some Bro: “Johnny…like…WTF man, really?”
Guy: “Yeah, but it doubles as a storage bag! I’m hauling bricks of 100% pure Colombian disco-dust in this thing!”
Bro: “Is it made of weather-resistant fabric?”
Guy: “It is!”
Bro: [Kills Johnny. Takes Regulation Cornhole Carrying Case w/ contents.]
This Cornhole Set (V-)
As mentioned before, cornhole has become a true tailgating staple. While building and painting your own cornhole set is always optimal, I understand the convenience that buying a pre-made and pre-branded set provides…assuming said cornhole set is made of wood.
Let’s make sure that nobody owns these POS plastic toys. Just by looking at these flimsy contraptions, I feel like you should know better. Build your own set please.
Not too handy with a hammer and nails? Before you let that guy bang your wife in front of you for the 20th time, ask him if he can help you build a real pair of cornhole boards.
Real Cornhole sets made out of real wood (Elite)
Now this looks a lot better, doesn’t it?
Cornhole boards made of real wood. Excellent. While any human should be capable of finding some online instructions detailing how to make homemade boards, the graphics on these things are pretty sweet. Building boards is one thing but painting on a cool design is a whole different skillset. If esthetics are of the utmost importance to you, go with one of these pairs.
Miniature Cornhole (V-)
To be clear, this crime against humanity populates when you filter the site to show products for “Tailgating / Game-day Experience”. Was this product created with the sole intention to deceive?
Certainly. A elderly person likely bought this for you. Growing up during a depression era can make a person jump at a $30 cornhole set, but man did that thrifty little move backfire. When the off-sized package showed up, imagine the disappointment on your grandpa’s/grandmother’s face. This sort of merchandising strategy should be criminal. It sickens me.
Beerpong Balls (E+)
You thought these bad boys were for ping pong!?
WTF OMFG LOL LMFAO ROTFL ROTFL ROTFL
These are beerpong balls. Plain and simple. A 24-pack is a pretty generous lot and should get you through at least a few tailgates after a few balls inevitably get lost from taking errant bounces under cars, into drainage grates, and oncoming hoards of people. That is what backups are for.
Pingpong Paddle (V-)
Where is the branded carrying case for this thing?
Similar to giant Jenga, there is a time and place for pingpong. Top-level pingpong requires off the charts hand-eye coordination and certainly has my respect. But even a recreational pingpong player knows that a proper game can only be played on an appropriately sized table and requires a surface more even than your average parking lot. Playing pingpong at a tailgate sounds terribly cumbersome and requires so much focus that it’s borderline anti-social.
Pingpong table (V-)
I’m not going to detail why pingpong is a stupid idea for a tailgate again, but if this thing is criminally small can you legally call it a pingpong table?
A regulation pingpong table measures in at 9 feet long and 5 feet wide. This sorry excuse is only 6 feet long, and the width of the table is nowhere to be found on the website. Suspicious.
Logo Decal (E+)
Driving around Austin with decal stick figures of your family or having any bumper sticker pasted on your car is one of the lamest things a driver can do. I don’t care how many dogs/kids you have, I’m just trying to get somewhere. But this one serves a valuable purpose…
Games at home against FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, and (of course) the Columbus Crew are going to get pretty heated. The more militant Austin FC supporters could take out their rage on cars parked in or around the designated tailgating area. What better way to let them know they’re about to put down some friendly fire than this Austin FC decal?
“Collector’s” Pin (V-)
For fans whose primary concern is discretion.
I see no justification for purchasing this pin unless you are in a punk band, still in elementary school, or you’re 70+ years old. If you don’t have the excuse of your offbeat fashion sense, why are you trying to hide your fandom? Wear the logo proudly and preferably in way where other fans can see.
Folding Tables (E+)
These tables are all rad in their own right and their tailgating utility is off the charts. Obvious.
The designs on these things really help to take their value to the next level. Just look at these beautiful art pieces, each in their own right, a unique visual masterpiece.
Frist, the soccer pitch is just awesome to see on a table. No brainer. Second, the green wood is so classy looking — amazing. And the galaxy table looks like something out of a drug-fueled art project. I enjoy all three of these tables equally.
Yard Dice (V-)
You’re going to put these things through hell rolling them all over a parking lot and it will show. Yard dice at a tailgate are pointless and making them super-sized just makes the owner of these look more clueless. If you want to place dice games, bring some pocket dice and paper bills. Tailgate gambling is approved and encouraged.
These were popular in the late 90s and they weren’t even cool back then.
You have to be a kid trying to “swag way out” or work in IT to rock a lanyard. You already have pockets. So why did you do this to yourself?
Giant Connect 4 (V-)
What is going on here?
Tell me, what makes this any more fun than the smaller version?
Think about that for a second…
Don’t agree with one of the entries? No problem — just don’t cry about it. Why not send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and submit your own product review. If you make sense/good points, I might edit this post and give you credit for the update, or maybe I’ll just ignore it find something better to do. However, teamwork does make the dream work.