First and foremost, let me apologize. This article will make no sense. I’ll admit it: I’m on drugs. I found out today that I have vocal nodes, a la Pitch Perfect. In the process of finding these nodes, as strange medical instruments violated my nose, I accidentally inhaled some sort of stimulant. I think there is a good chance it was aca-amphetamine, because I feel like I could wrestle a bear. But alas, the show must go on, even if your teeth are sentient and attempting to eat your face.

Anyway, I’d like to extend congratulations to the Duke Football team on their new Top 25 ranking. Your effort, teamwork and dedication have clearly paid off.

And that’s where my talking about football ends, because frankly, I think football is stupid. This is largely because it has too many rules, and also because I have serious ADHD, and any sport with 30 seconds of action for every 10 minutes of life spent watching is not for me.

But football fans, don’t take it personally. It’s more that I don’t like college sports in general. It makes approximately zero sense to me why sports are priorities of educational institutions. Who decided those two things go together? It makes just about as much sense for sports to be linked with prestigious academic and research institutions as it does for such institutions to be linked with pretty much any other hobby. Say baking. Or interpretive dance. Or competitive gardening. Think what life would be like if the Duke Campus Farm’s director made $10 million a year. Free zucchini for everyone. For LIFE.

Despite my qualms with athletics, back in freshman year, I went to pretty much every football game. And that, my friends, was because of Tailgate.

YES, I SAID IT. It’s a law of physics: The longer Duke football is discussed, the higher probability Tailgate is mentioned and its elimination is harped upon. Or, actually, mostly, it probably works the other way around.

Ah, Tailgate. The beautiful, somehow-related-to-football land where fairies, cow-men and human bananas came together to make out. Where we could drunkenly devour Chick-fil-A guilt-free, because sandwiches were not yet political props. Where trashcans were filled not with trash but with beer. I’ll admit, as I was a freshman (and, perhaps more importantly, a freshman with a boyfriend) for all of my Tailgate experiences, I probably didn’t understand Tailgate’s greek-ness or its role as a prolonged mating ritual. The world I saw in the Blue Zone was simply perfection.

Now, I understand Tailgate had its problems, culminating in the world’s most appalling demonstration of idiocy ever. (Seriously, who would bring someone who probably doesn’t have pubic hair yet to an event where people SNORT COCAINE OFF CARS … and then LEAVE THEM THERE ALONE??) But that was never the Tailgate I experienced. In fact, walking up to my first Tailgate, it was the first time Duke felt like home.

When it came time to choose where to go to college, I had a really hard time deciding. In fact, I did not pick Duke for its academic rigor or because it “felt right.” I chose Duke for the aid package I was offered. Knowing money ruled my decision over actual fit with the school, I was already unsure whether I’d like it at all.

Arriving at college, I didn’t understand the Duke scene. Social status was a new concept to me, and I hated the pressure to “act cool.” I was used to my hometown, where my friends and I spent most of our time acting like immature 5-year-olds high off of Pixie Sticks. During my first month or so at Duke, I couldn’t find anyone willing to be weird or even a bit uncool. I was pretty sure I’d made the wrong choice.

And then came the first football game. Walking up to Tailgate and seeing what must have been every single Duke student dressed in absolutely ridiculous (and awesome) costumes, dancing to blaring music, throwing beer everywhere and generally just not giving a f--k—it was the first time I knew I had made the right choice by coming to Duke. I knew if the entire Duke student body was easygoing enough—or goofy enough—to participate in something like Tailgate, I would surely find I would like it here.

But Tailgate is gone, and for many good reasons. And as much as I’d love to see it back, I don’t miss most parts of it. What I do miss is the realization that although Duke students are intelligent and driven, they also don’t take themselves too seriously. As I’ve progressed in my Duke career, I’ve become less and less sure of the lesson Tailgate taught me. When Duke lost Tailgate, it lost more than a party. It lost its only true venue for all students—any students—to be goofy.

But Dukies, take heart. Everybody’s weird, and it shouldn’t take a coating of beer for that part of you to come out. Tailgate exists in the hearts and minds of Duke students, as long as we’re willing to look for it. Even though we don’t have a formal event to be weird at, you shouldn’t be afraid to show off your internal tutu and let everyone know the weirdo you truly are.

Lillie Reed is a Trinity senior. Her column is part of the weekly Socialites feature and runs every other Wednesday. Send Lillie a message on Twitter @LillieReed.