10 May 2003
I'm not saying I've never set foot in a sports bar, but were I to make a list of my Favorite Places in All the World, sports bars would probably not rank highly. Apart from the atmosphere, which is usually no more breathable than vichyssoise, there is this built-in cognitive-dissonance generator, as explained on Play One on TV:
Sports bars seem to have a decorating budget that rivals most major league baseball clubs, but it doesn't hide the fact that a "sports bar" is one of the most un-athletic places on the planet. You can have all the accoutrements that money can buy big screen televisions, subscriptions to ESPN Sport Paks, sports memorabilia and equipment signed by successful athletes, and a wall festooned with baseball caps and football helmets. But this won't change the fact that if the average sports bar put its clientele onto a soccer field, 90% of them would be dead of heart attacks within the first ten minutes. The other 10% would be on the bench breaking into the beer keg.
I won't even speculate as to which of those groups would be more likely to include me.