Alcohol and Sports: It’s What’s for Dinner
Notice: If you’re oversensitive, crack open a cold one and lighten up.
By Jeff Kagan ACES Sports
Alcoholic Beverages seem to go with sports like getting a hot dog at the ballpark. Do we drink while playing sports or play sports while drinking? That’s an interesting question, at least to me. It appears that drinking is a part of the culture of some sports more than others.
For as long as there have been people playing sports, people have been enjoying adult beverages. Alcohol has been embedded in the culture of many popular sports from all forms of advertising at sports venues to stadium beer sales; this can’t be denied. Think about some of the greatest Super Bowl commercials of all time; beer. How much profit is there in stadium beer sales? What about in home consumption on game day? Without that revenue supporting the organizations, the game would be much different. Total beer sales in America were over $100 Billion in 2013, and of that, in-stadium beer sales has to be the most profitable based on the mark-up. Beer for the group I was with, at the last game I attended, was more than the GNP of most small countries.
Is bowling a sport or a drinking game? I say with no disrespect to bowlers, it’s both. That would depend on who’s bowling of course. Is there a bowling alley that doesn’t have a bar? How about Curling? Yes, Curling is an Olympic Sport, but what is it really? I might be showing my ignorance, but that’s ok. I think of Curling as the northern version of Bowling; a drinking game. No disrespect to the Great White North, but what’s there to do in the middle of the winter in Canada? You have a frozen lake; make a fire, polish the ice and break out the booze. Sounds like fun eh’. Softball, come on, that’s another perfect example. Yes, softball can be played at an extremely competitively level and I understand that, but recreationally it’s more of a social sport. Quite frankly, it seems more people play it as a social sport. I think there were 2 movies that came out in the same year about this subject. They were both very funny movies that were based on the culture of beer and softball. One was called Beer League. Great name when you consider the www.urbandictionary.com definition of BEER LEAGUE: “An organized sports venue in which participants focus their efforts on both the event at hand and the post and pre-game ceremonies which include large consumptions of alcoholic beverages. Generally, these athletes take their involvement too seriously, comparing themselves to professional athletes.” When I played softball, we always had beer in the dugout. The better teams I played on had a keg. How about rugby? Great sport, one of the greatest games I’ve ever played. I had a great time in the 5 years I played rugby. The culture of that sport was tied to alcohol. Great post game parties. You know the old saying, “what happens after a rugby game, no one remembers”. I think that’s what they say, I can’t remember.
OK, drinking adult beverages is not really that healthy and sports are supposed to be healthy right? To quote the great philosopher, when he coached the NY Giants in the 1980’s, “That’s why we lift all them damn weights”, so we can enjoy a few cold one’s. There’s a new sports drink on the market flavored like beer. A Canadian company called Vampt manufactures it. I read it cost 150 Loonies (Canadian Currency) for a 24 pack ($140 US Currency), so it’s expensive. This beverage is Gluten free (must be healthy, right?), only has 77 calories and is 0.5 % alcohol by volume. Vampt calls it Lean Machine, Lager Ale (http://www.vamptbrands.com/#!workout-lean-machine/zoom/c1t44/imagewm7). Lean Machine is being marketed as a recovery drink. Is that recovery from Sports activities, a night out, or both? It’s loaded with electrolytes and antioxidants and other nutrients. The premise is that this is better for those that like to cool down with a cold brew. Makes sense to me. How about toothpaste flavored like beer? Is that next?
Let’s face it; drinking is something that has been around forever. It’s part of our history from the beginning of recorded time. I guess it’s in our DNA. We drink wine when we pray, we drink to celebrate, and we drink when we are depressed. If we want to cheer someone up we say, “Let’s go out, I’ll buy you a beer”. Drinking is one of the social behaviors we have participated in forever. For the record, never drink and drive, never drink and ride a bicycle, or skateboard. That doesn’t work either, trust me.
This is my opinion alone, not the opinion of ACES Sports, Americans, people who grew up in NJ, people who live in Florida, Men, or any other group I am or have been affiliated with. If I’ve offended Softball Players, Bowlers, people that participate in Curling or Canadians, (I think those 2 are the same) oh well, get over it.