Watching sports at home has its perks: you can lounge in pajamas, you can yell all you want and no one will judge you, you have a pillow to throw, you can sob or hide under a blanket when you need to, and you can kiss the TV or laptop screen when you are overcome with emotions (I can’t be the only who has had to wipe kiss marks from my screens, can I?). But sometimes, just sometimes, you need to be out in public with other people who are going through the same things as you are. My twitter timeline can only suffice for so long.
During the “big” games, I need to be around other fans. No matter what the outcome, I need to have someone going through the same kind of emotions. No one can quite understand you like other fans. That’s when going to a sports bar is a really good idea. Going to a sports bar for the first time might be a bit daunting, especially considering you’re a lady. Society tends to tell us that these places are not for women, but don’t be fooled, they are. I’ve enjoyed each and every time I have gone in to a sports bar.
How can you have a good experience when you want to watch your favorite team?
The first thing you need to do is find the right type of bar. As a football (soccer) fan that watches La Liga games, I can’t just walk into any sports bar and expect to find my team on the big screen. This is when the internet is a godsend. You can Google places that are showing your sport or even call up bars you are thinking of visiting and ask them if they show the games. Usually these bars have more than one television, so if you ask them to put your game on, they will. You can also try asking fan communities online for any recommendations. Chances are they know the best bars to go to with the best atmosphere.
OK, now that you know where you’re going, the next thing is what to wear? Since this isn’t a dancing kind of bar, just go with what you feel more comfortable. I suggest jeans, a cute top and comfortable footwear. These next couple of hours might be stressful ones for you, so why not wear something that will be comforting. You don’t want the added stress of clothing that you have to worry about. If you have a team jersey, wear it! Now is the perfect time to show off your colors. Trust me; you won’t be the only one wearing them. I’ve seen people wearing the team flag as a cape and I’ve never been so jealous. If you’re going to the bar alone, it’s a quick way for fellow fans to identify you and you might strike up a friendship. It’s also a great way for rival fans to identify you, but I’m sure your cries of misery or ecstasy will identify you more so. I myself like to wear my favorite player’s jersey and some good luck bracelets I’ve made. I also like to do my nails in coordinating colors. I like walking home from the bar and having people spot me in my jersey beaming with pride.
OK, you have your outfit ready so now you should plan when to get there. It really depends on the type of game you’re going to watch. If it’s a low risk game, chances are you might want to get there 30 minutes or less in advance. You’ll probably find a seat or two at the bar, or a table somewhere. If it’s an important game, like the one coming up on Saturday (El Clasico, if anyone is interested. Please pray for my sanity.) I suggest at least an hour in advance. It gives you time to scope out the people and to score a good seat. Nothing sucks more than missing a goal because you’re too short to see above someone’s head. If you’re going with a large group, I suggest you call the bar and find out what they suggest. Large groups are harder to seat if they come in last minute, so always plan ahead.
So now you’re at the bar, what can you expect? Trolls. Lots and lots of trolls will come out of the woodwork. Usually it’s the neutrals that are there to watch the game. Don’t worry about it, ignoring them works fine. If you’re more like me, you’ll have a few comebacks for them. I enjoy the atmosphere of the bar. It’s always nice to have a nice group chant or sing-along back and forth with the other fans. I do always make sure to set boundaries. If I hear anyone make a sexist, racist, or homophobic joke, I ask them to stop, no matter what team they support. That kind of banter has no place. Usually people are respectful. If they’re not, just go back to ignoring them. Sometimes, you’ll get a rude asshole asking you if you really support the team or if you’re just watching for the “hot players.” The best way to deal with this is ask them if he would have asked you that if you had a penis. Usually they’ll get uncomfortable when they’re called out on their “subtle” sexism. You don’t have to justify why you watch the sport to them. Of course, if you feel like putting them in their place you can always quiz them or ask them their opinion on something related to your team. Usually they won’t know what to do and will walk away or want to buy you a beer. Win-win if you ask me.
The most important thing to remember when you’re at the sports bar is to have fun! At the end of the day, you’re there to enjoy the camaraderie and to knock back a few beers. Enjoy watching your team hopefully beat the opponent and enjoy some great company. Who knows, maybe it’ll turn into a match day ritual. Let me know if you guys are ever in the NYC area and want to go watch a La Liga game with me. I’ll buy the first round.
Have you guys been to a sports bar before? What was your experience?