Anne, Dave and I went to Mike Duffy’s at Richmond Center, our local sports bar, to watch the Rose Bowl. We must be the only family in our demographic that doesn’t have cable TV. Anyway, we had a nice dinner and watched the game. As a plus they had $3 Bloody Marys and these had regulation Red Cross sized pints.
I don’t know why we were in such a rush to get there, because we could have missed the whole first half and not missed anything. Anne and I shortened our New Years Day bike ride in order to make kickoff. Stanford had the ball first and made quick work of Michigan State’s vaunted defense. By text, my brother Frank poked me about that drive. He did his post-doc at Stanford. State was still trailing 17-14 at the half. The only good thing about the first half was our food. We arrived before the dinner rush and were still seated after it had faded. The New Years Day tide was not so high that most of the eight adjacent tables were never seated.
If you find the 60 second halftime marching band spots frustrating for their brevity, then you should try them in a sports bar, where all of the TV sets have their sound turned down and as soundtrack, some oldies radio station was doing a countdown. Other than during the bandstands, Anne appreciated the soundtrack though. It was full of music from our college days, Carly Simon, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Joe Croce to name a few. In the third quarter State tied it up.
In the fourth quarter things started to get interesting, a young Spartan couple (’11) sat down at the bar and Michigan State took the lead. It is always better to find your team leading in the fourth quarter than in any of the previous three. Three young studs had broken our circle of eight empty tables in the third quarter. We were mostly able to ignore their banal banter, except when it came time for them to settle their bill. One of them had the bar’s buyers club card that was pitched as a ‘VIP card’. He went on and on about his VIP status with the waitress and reminded me of the A-hole in the Harvard bar scene of “Good Will Hunting” that the Matt Daemon character makes quick work of.
After the Stanford field goal and in the waning minutes of the game Anne decides to go to the bathroom. I called out to her that she’ll miss the big play, but instantly regret it, because Stanford has the ball. After two dueling timeouts she returns in time to see Stanford fail to convert on fourth down. All she had to say was, “I have VIP status.” Afterwards, Michigan State ran out the clock and won the 100th Rose Bowl, 24-20.
On our way out of the bar, Dave told us a story from his year in DC. A couple of Notre Dame friends showed up and they all went out to watch the football game in a sports bar. Notre Dame was playing Michigan State. Dave, who rooted for State was rewarded as MSU drummed the Irish. His friends got so disgusted with the game that they all moved to a non-sports bar. Unfortunately, the bar that Dave’s friends picked was where the local MSU alumni were watching the same game. It was decked out in green and white.