Archive for October 19th, 2005

Discovering sports bars

October 19, 2005

Every once in a while, I stumble across an idea that’s well known by most people, but a complete mystery to me.

The latest discovery? Sports bars.

I was in the midst of a working vacation — if covering your alma mater playing against a school that half your high school class attended 10 miles from Myrtle Beach, S.C., can truly be considered work.

After a depressing day Saturday — not only did Gardner-Webb lose in overtime, costing me a game on everyone in our pick’em contest, but covering the game caused me to miss one of the best days of college football in years — I was ready to unwind.

My wife, a lovely and accommodating woman, proposed the idea of spending Sunday in a sports bar, drinking adult beverages, eating junk food and watching every NFL game imaginable.

The week before the trip, I scoured the Internet looking for the best spots. I even made a list, which in my haste to put some mileage between myself and Cleveland County; I left unprinted on my computer desktop.

So, without a plan or a clue, we stopped at the one closest to where we were staying. It’s called Spencer’Z Sports Bar and Restaurant, and it’s on the corner of S.C. 544 and U.S. 17 in that gray area between Myrtle Beach and Surfside.

Twenty seconds after walking in the door, I knew I had found sporting heaven. There were TVs everywhere. The website said 44, the sign inside said 54 and the billboard outside claimed more than 50. I’m not sure how many there really were, but let’s just say there were more than enough.

My wife is an avid fantasy football player, and she ended up being the only patron in the bar with two TVs tuned to games of her choice, Atlanta/New Orleans and Tennessee/Cincinnati.

There were about a dozen TVs on the Pittsburgh/Jacksonville game. I had no idea that there were so many Steeler fans on the Grand Strand. There were jerseys, chants and, by the end of the game, enough jeers for backup quarterback Tommy Maddox to make it seem like you were at Heinz Field.

There were Jets’ jerseys, Redskins’ apparel and one guy in a Dallas jersey that had “Smoke Dog” on the back of it. He was sitting at a table with a guy in a Shockey jersey, making the Dallas/Giants game they were watching all the more interesting.

Our waitress, Colleen, was awesome, making sure we were well-stocked in beverages and some really tasty wings. The beef tips weren’t that great, but really, what was I thinking not getting a steak anyway?

The bathroom had truck tool box metal on the walls and a hand-dryer that could double as one of those jet blowers NASCAR uses.

The only problem I had was where to look. When faced with watching six or seven games at once, the urge is to jerk your head around from game to game with the dual effects of getting whiplash and not really knowing what’s going on in any of them.

The trick, I learned, is to watch one game and then, after you hears cheers, try to find the game where something cool just happened.

After a few hours of eating way too much and watching a month’s worth of games in one afternoon, we decided to head for a quieter place to watch games.

I don’t know if all sports bars are like that one, but I do know that it won’t be too long before I find out.