I was never one to pay much attention to most sports. Baseball seemed boring. When you grow up in Boston, as did I, you have the Red Sox. For a long time, the Sox had the “Curse of the Bambino,” which meant they didn’t just lose; they raised it to an art form.
For a long while, the Patriots also weren’t that great, either. I didn’t care for basketball, despite being quite tall. I was clumsy and I didn’t want to watch a game that I should be good at playing. No, for me, it was hockey and there I was in luck; we had the Bruins and Bobby Orr.
When I moved to Florida and became a bartender, my attitudes had to change. After all, in most bars, people want to see sporting events. In particular, one very popular sport was American Football.
I use that term, American Football, because for most of the world football has a different meaning. We call it soccer. When the World Cup was on, people wanted to see it.
Most of the time, it was American Football that people wanted to see, especially when the season was in full swing. When I worked at the Marriott resort, we had NFL Sunday Ticket. It took me a while to figure out what that meant. I wasn’t a big fan of the game. For true fans, true believers, it was the Holy Grail of Sunday football.
Every Sunday morning, I’d start the setup of the pool bar. One part of that was turning on the big screen flat televisions and tuning to the channels for football games. The first batch started at one o’clock and I opened at eleven. Some mornings, I’d be open no more than five minutes and someone would walk up to me and say, “Hey, are you going to have the blank game on?” I leave it to your own preference to imagine which game they wanted.
My reply was always the same. “Whoever sits on one of my stools first and stays put, when game time rolls around, they get to have their game on the big screen.” That was the center screen. The two on the sides were smaller.
That person would then go report to his friends. It was almost comical to see them chatting and whispering among themselves. Each group wondered when they needed to have a member claim to the centre television. Some days, there were several very important games, which many different groups wanted to watch. I’d have a couple people parked at the bar right at 11:01 am.
Then, one o’clock would roll around. The games would begin. I’d tune the televisions to the various games.
After that, we were off and for the first time I actually enjoyed Sunday football. Granted, I often didn’t see much of the games; my back was to the televisions, as I served the patrons. I watched a little. I found myself enjoying the game.
I no longer tend bar. I do missing watching a bit of American Football. The fans were always such great people. So devoted, so committed and watching a game with them was always so much fun.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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