“What we dranking? No, we drankin’ it ALL! We gon’ do it ‘til we can’t or we fall, last call…” — Outkast (Big Boi) ft. Various Artists, “Last Call”
It’s all fun and games when you sit down for a long day of talking mess and chest-pounding.
Even more fun when you make a cocktail to get you through the middle rounds of tight end and defense/special teams selections.
You’re all ready for the fun and games to start after looking over your lineup, seeing where you have strengths & weaknesses, who you might trade, etc.
You can’t have anything but fun when you start the year off unbeaten through the first six games.
Remembering that it’s just fun and games, you don’t panic when you go on a two-game losing streak — nothing you can do but coach well and keep an eye on the waiver wire.
You have a little fun during the games by posting photos of various “football cocktails” that fuel your viewing activities.
You finish the year strong, and look forward to the fun and games to be had during the playoffs.
Then you lose. Your season is over. The Commish comes calling — literally, the last call. No more fun and games.
Until next season…
It’s October, and that signals more than the onslaught of carved pumpkins — it’s playoff baseball. Several series have ended, as fans in Cincinnati & Oakland join Atlanta & Texas in lamenting, “There’s always next year.” But, for Detroit & San Francisco, their players are exclaiming, “It’s a celebration!” And you know what that celebration brings with it — bottles and bottles of bubbles.
Champagne celebrations in the locker room have followed wins in the division series, the pennant, and World Series for seemingly as long as people have been watching baseball. Joe & Jane Q. Public often pop a bottle to celebrate many occasions in their lives, from their children’s christenings to getting a promotion at the job to a landmark birthday. I’ve also previously written about using champagne to mark the maiden voyage of a ship. While many occasions use champagne, where the shark is jumped is that baseball takes the usage to the extreme — champagne sprayed everywhere, on heads, down shirts, on walls, on cameramen. Attire often includes ponchos, goggles, and towels. A bog of excitement and glee.
Baseball has taken attempts to curb the enthusiasm of players recently, by instituting limits on the amount of bubbles spewed about, and also requiring non-alcoholic options like sparkling juice and ginger ale. Maybe that can be seen as raining on the players’ parade, but they’ve got to realize that the flaunting doesn’t convey the best image to their families and all their fans. But hey, at least for one day, let’s just bathe in the joy of accomplishment. We might lose tomorrow, but we’ll deal with that then. For today, we’re on a natural high — on grapes that have been naturally harvested and fermented! Prost to your bubbles!
"You know, honestly, I think it’s just too hard to keep track of,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “If you can’t legislate it, if you can’t enforce it then you probably ought to just go ahead and make it legal. I think that’s kind of what happened with Prohibition."
— WV Men’s BB Coach Bob Huggins, on the NCAA’s change in legislation of texting potential recruits
The premise of this post is just one small sidenote of a hilarious article. In the article, the writer mentions a “50-yr old ceramic jug of Kentucky bourbon that had been passed down to him by his father.” When the jug met its demise, the father’s reaction was absolutely hilarious, not to mention the adage he dropped unto his son, who had been contemplating his inevitable doom.
But to digress, the relationship of kids driving you to the bottle, or the struggle of keeping them from the bottle, or the joy of introducing them to the bottle, is what their exchange brings up in my eyes. In some families, children are drinking bits of beer and brandy from pre-teen ages, while in others, it’s like 1919-1933 all over again.
What’s the best approach? If there was an answer to that question, there’d also be an answer to the question, “What’s the best way to raise kids?” Having none myself, my best advice is to ensure they know the good things about the bottle. Having something with familial connections is important, regardless if it’s “just” liquor. But showing them how to cherish certain things, while keeping them at arm’s length or moderation, is a lesson you can relate to almost any other situation your little ones get into.
We all have stress. Few of us live in a cabin in the woods, far away from life and its twists and turns, far removed from anyone else with feelings and idiosyncrasies, far away from our constantly-changing needs and wants. But when we do encounter stress, what do we do with it?
Some people try to drown their stress with liquor. Alcoholism as a disease has affected countless people, and their friends and families, and was the justification for the only constitutional amendment to be revoked. Many aids are available to deal with reliance on the bottle, with religion, a focus on personal wellness, and the organization Alcoholics Anonymous and their 12-step recovery program at the lead. But no matter how committed a person may be, or not be, they often fall victim to a relapse. What is the cause of that, and can it be prevented? Can anyone be associated with “fault” other than the person holding the glass?
Many famous athletes have been sufferers of alcoholism over the years: Mickey Mantle, John Daly, John Lucas, William “Refrigerator” Perry, even Ron Artest offered a claim that he would drink Hennessy during the halftime of games earlier in his career. Seemingly invincible during times of competition, their struggles with alcoholism shows a level of vulnerability that affects everyone with a beating heart.
Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers has been through his share of struggles throughout his career, but made a strong comeback over the last couple of seasons. With the Rangers now looking like a perennial challenger for the World Series crown, and himself on the cusp of a sure-to-be blockbuster contract, he had the r-word that doesn’t make or bring in a score for his team: relapse.
In his post-relapse press conference, Hamilton spoke of the personal and family stress that he’s going through, how he will continue to lean on the people closest to him, and that his religion will be a big part of his continued recovery. Hamilton also said his relapse scenario was: he went to a restaurant, had three or four drinks, met up with a teammate, lied to him about drinking previously, spending time talking and afterwards accepting a ride home, then sneaking away to have more drinks.
One of the restaurants in question was said to put the personal responsibility squarely on the patron, Hamilton in this situation. While that is totally permissible in a court of law, was there latent blame on the bartender? No information was released about the specifics of the situation — Hamilton’s behavior, the identity of the bartenders, any details of the transactions, etc. Speculation notwithstanding, if Josh Hamilton came to your bar asking for a drink, and you knew who he was and the extent of his personal struggles, would you serve him? Even if you served him once, would you continue to serve him? Would you offer a different style of drink or cocktail, if he was asking for straight shots of liquor? Would you use some portion of B.A.S.S.E.T. training to “talk him down”?
I just wonder if different styles of drinking would aid in preventing the onslaught of the relapse, get the person to slow down a bit, and think about what they’re doing and who they’re doing it to. Your ability to throw out a runner from left field shouldn’t prevent you from respecting the bottle — we have seen much too often what the bottle does to disrespect you in return.