Sunday, November 23, 2014

Boys in the Bar

Last night at O'Hare airport I checked on my laptop and saw that Boston College was tied with undefeated Florida State in the fourth quarter.  Across from where I was sitting there was your standard airport quasi sports bar.  I went over there and nearly all the games were showing either Wisconsin or Notre Dame.  No BC//Florida State in sight.  So I shlepped my lame leg down the corridor and found another place. There the BC game was on the air.  I parked myself on a bar perch, asked for an Irish coffee, and began watching.

While Sammy, the barkeep, was making the coffee I saw an egregious facemask penalty on Florida State. So, I shouted "Facemask!" Perfectly reasonable, no?

 Sammy looked up.  "Sorry" I said. "That was definitely a facemask." My best guess is that Sammy is an Americanized version of Sami and he is from somewhere near the Red Sea.  He did not seem to get the significance of my blurting "facemask."

I am not a fanatic Boston College fan. I will root for them because I live in these parts, but it has been years since I got worked up about a BC game.   There is, in fact, something offputting about BC as far as I am concerned because despite the college name, the school is NOT in Boston, but in a suburb. (As opposed to Boston University that is in Boston, and, of course, Northeastern University my employer which is located right in the heart of the city and is the best school of the three).  Still I was cheering for BC at the bar.

A fellow to my right asked me if was a BC fan. I explained the nature of my allegiance.  He then, very affably, said we might have some trouble. He, I found out, is from Florida, went to Florida State, and can probably tell you the name of the third string guard and the waterboy.  When BC looked like it might go ahead, this guy started buying shots to calm himself. When BC missed what would have been a go-ahead field goal, the fellow bought a beer to rejoice. When Florida State kicked a game winning field goal, he knocked back a final shot.  This guy was just a wonderful football watching companion.  He described Florida State's entire season and their chances for making it to the final four.  He was a great example of fandom.

Today I went to a place I visit occasionally during football season when I feel as if want to observe my sport loving brethren.  At this place, every week, or at least every single time I have been there,  a group of diehard Cleveland Browns fans sit at the same table and stoically watch their team.  When the Browns were terrible (which they have been for quite some time) they still sat there in silence. These folks are older than I am or at least look that way. Gray, as bald as I am, look quite healthy but look also as if they have been around the track.  The Browns prevailed today and one of the group popped up after the last second field goal giving high fives to his compatriots. Earlier I had to laugh when the quarterback for the Browns made a foolish throw that resulted in an interception.  One of the Browns faithful--a fellow who is likely retired, or if not may be (or may have been) a senior executive at a computer company pulling in a million dollars a year--shouted his opinion of the play loud enough for me to hear it on the other side of the restaurant. "You stupid bastard." he shouted.

My dad used to say that he feels sorry for those who do not enjoy sports because of the joy it can bring to the fandom who do so enjoy it.  Another wise comment from my father

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