Rabid Alumni Gather Together To Watch Their Favorite Teams
Oh, for the good ‘ol days of summer, when Saturday afternoons were filled with long runs, bike rides along the beach, playing volleyball and doing any other number of exercises, while then casually rolling into a bar for a cold beer and some socializing.
It’s a time when time means nothing, when you do what you please when you please and you actions are not dictated by a clock.
But that all ends in the fall, because starting in September and running all the way into December, it’s college football season. I’m a Southerner, which means I have a deep-rooted love of the sport at the collegiate level, and my fall Saturdays are dictated by which teams play at what time.
I’m a prisoner whose activities are controlled by programmers at ESPN, CBS and FOX.
My days are built around watching my alma mater, the Alabama Crimson Tide, and when you follow a team that is in the National Championship hunt every year, that means you have to watch all the other games involving the top-ranked teams, hoping they lose and that your fellow conference teams win. Until you play them, of course.
This means that I must not also watch Bama, but also Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Notre Dame, as well as SEC teams LSU, Georgia, Auburn while also hoping the bottom-dwellers like Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee don’t lose to the likes of Memphis, North Carolina and Georgia State. Oops!
And the most fun place to watch these games is not at home on my couch with a 12-pack of beer in a cooler and a big bag of chips by my side, but out amongst the people. The fans. The transplanted alumni of those various schools.
And that means the sports bars.
Living as I do in Southern California is a gold mine for this, too. It’s not because Southern California is such a great place for college football – it’s only that way when USC is in contention and that hasn’t happened since the Pete Carroll days – but rather because of all the transplants who live here.
As a result, the landscape is dotted with bars catering to alumni of just about every school.
Take where I live in San Diego. All I have to do is walk out the door here in the Gaslamp and there are bars for Clemson (Union Kitchen), Florida (The Smoking Gun) and LSU (The Morning After). The Alabama bar, Bootlegger, is called “Tuscaloosa West” by Tide alumni, and for good reason, too.
Hundreds of loud and loyal fans pack into these bars, which play the school’s fight song and do the cheers specific to each university that the fans know by heart. I went to The Smoking Gun for Florida-Miami and it was so energetic it was almost like being in The Swamp. With tailgating.
With sports bars like this, it sure beats sitting on the couch and is almost as good as being at the games themselves.