A nation lifted by a Miracle

Can sports truly change a country?  Can one game actually turn the collective mood of the entire population of a nation?  For many historians, one hockey game, which took place 31 years ago today, may have done just that, the Miracle on Ice.

Now I can’t speak to whether or not the USA’s epic win over the Soviet Union in the medal-round of the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid actually had the kind of lasting impact on the psyche of the nation some historians like to claim, but I do know it had quite an impact on me.  I was only a little boy in 1980, and if you remember correctly the game was not shown live, but instead in prime time tape-delay.  Coming home from work, my father knew the result and urged his two sons, both of whom were unaware of the delay, to watch the game.  Needless to say, it was one of those handful of games that caused a lifelong addiction to sports.

I can still remember having the phrase “Do you believe in Miracles??” stuck in my head for days.  I was a soccer player as a kid, and a baseball addict, but from that moment on, I couldn’t resist a good hockey game.  Despite the addition of professional players to the games, and the certain over commercialization of the Olympics since that memorable event, I still get excited about watching the hockey tournament during the Winter Olympics.  Cheers to that amazing team!

by Dave McBride

Published in: Uncategorized on February 22, 2011 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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NASA to Consider Lifting the Ban on Romulan Ale

In a surprise move today, officials at NASA announced that they were considering lifting the centuries old ban on the importation and consumption of Romulan Ale in our solar system. Speculation is that the development of a beer that can be safely consumed during spaceflights, by 4 Pines Brewing of  Australia, may have prompted the possible shift in policy.  

Even going back to the early years of the Mercury and Gemini Programs, it was a popular belief that beer was not included as part of an astronaut’s regular ration because of the undue stress that would be placed on the fluid removal apparatus. Apparently though, the real problem was on the other end. Scientist now know that when a human burps while in zero-g not only will gases be released, but also the liquid content of the stomach will also be discharged. The high content of carbon dioxide in beer made it a dangerous candidate for space travel.  To overcome this obstacle, the brewers at 4 Pines developed a low carbonated version of their popular stout. Both scientists and astronauts alike are overjoyed at the prospect of having something else to drink other than Tang or Saurian Brandy.

In a statement released to the press, the junior assistant deputy director at NASA had this to say. “Today marks our greatest accomplishment since the Brits brewed an IPA that could stand up to the  rigors of long ocean voyages, thus allowing England to explore and expand its reach. Like their distant cousins, the Aussies have given us a brew that will allow us to further our exploration of space, and expand our own reach into the heavens. For wherever there is beer–there is man, a couch, and probably a television set.”

A Proper Toast with Romulan AleIn a  communique from the future, the Romulan ambassador said he would have prefered to have dealt with The United Federation of Planets, but was still pleased with NASA’s consideration to lift the ban on their ale. He went on to state that since their beer is cask-conditioned it never posed a threat to humans in the first place. He also added that Romulans never burp, and just because we might be drinking their beer, we shouldn’t expect to get the plans for the cloaking device anytime soon.

Posted by: Chris Poh



Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 1:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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When Life Imitates Art

There are those truly extraordinary moments in sports that rarely ever happen.  And when they do happen, you know right then and there that you will never forget it.  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United provided just such a moment this weekend with a piece of skill that was nothing short of spectacular.

In the Manchester Derby, against United’s local rivals Manchester City, Rooney won the game with an overhead “bicycle” kick that brought ever one who saw it to their feet.  While not unique, Rooney’s goal was an breathtaking strike late in the huge game, just the kind of drama that makes us love sports.

While watching the replay in slow-motion, I couldn’t help but recall another equally dramatic and similarly struck goal.  And I am certain that after seeing it I was not at all the only person who thought of Pele’s goal at the end of the film “Victory”.  Sometime, life does imitate art.

by Dave McBride

 


Published in: on February 15, 2011 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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There’s new grass on the field

I felt like a grizzly bear this morning, emerging from hibernation crawling out of my den.  The sun was shining, the snow was melting, and I could tolerate being outside for more than ten minutes without being wrapped up like Randy Parker in “A Christmas Story”.

Mickey Mantle

Yes, it was nearly 50 degrees today in the northeast.  And after what seems like months of bone-chilling cold it also just happens to be the day pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training.  The Boys of Summer are back, and that means the sun is too!  (My wife also mentioned something about a holiday…)

The Newport Gulls practicing at Cardines Field in Newport, RI

So in honor of this momentous day, let us look back to an article posted on the American Public House Review that featured what is perhaps the best baseball bar in all the land, the Mudville Pub in Newport, Rhode Island.

The view from the Mudville Pub in Newport, RI

So as John Fogerty said, “beat the drum and hold the phone. The sun came out today!  We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.”  Play Ball!

By Dave McBride


Surviving the Aftermath of Super Bowl Sunday

Photo by: Craig M. Wilson

Photo by: Craig M. Wilson

Having spent many a year in the tavern trade, I have always relished the relative quiet that fills the bars for the next few days after the big game. With each passing year since the first contest on January 15th, 1967, when the Green Bay Packers triumphed over the Kansas City Chiefs 35 – 10, the growing intensity of both the private and public hoopla have virtually brought the bar and restaurant business to grinding halt after that sacred Sunday. The American populace quite frankly is  simply just too spent and tired out. And who needs to leave the comfort of home in the middle of winter when there is still plenty of beer on the lower shelf, and an abundance of unknown dishes containing brie, guacamole and cilantro on the upper shelves of the fridge.

But for this introvert it’s a magical time–a time to have my favorite local  haunts  all to myself–a time of quiet reflection, wistful whiskies and peaceful pints. 

Here are just a few of the empty spaces where one might find me this week:               (Click on the photos to learn more.)

Lambertvile Station - Lambertville, New jersey

 The Boat House - Lambertville, New Jersey

For those of you that still crave the crowds and need to exercise our cherished right of noisy assemblage, not to worry, the Daytona 500 is less than two weeks away.

Posted by: Chris Poh

 

 

Perhaps a better choice

Late last week, the committee that administers the sponsorships for the London 2010 Olympics announced that Heineken has been named the official beer of the games, which means they have exclusive “pouring rights” in and around the Olympic venues.  We here at Pub Talk would like to echo the disappointed cries of our fellow pub-fanatics on the other side of the pond who were hoping the London Olympics would choose an ale that represents the great culture of a great city.

Wenlock, mascot for the London 2010 Olympics

I agree with many people who have expressed opposition to this decision that the obvious choice here was Fuller’s London Pride, perhaps the most famous ale bearing the city’s name.  But I am sure there are other choices that could have been equally as fitting.  However, once again when it comes to professional sports money talks and everything else takes a backseat.

Finally, let me just mention that this posting is by no means meant to disparage Heineken.  It is only meant to point out a missed opportunity by the Olympics to recognize the cultural importance of London’s influence on the world, especially the world of great ales.

by Dave McBride

 

 


Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Of Super Bowl’s and Presidential Perks

This weekend is one of the great gathering days on the calendar in the United States.  Families and friends come together and congregate around the television to watch four-plus hours of advertisements, football and halftime shows.

Come Sunday the American public will fret over which number they have in the five-dollar-per-square house pool, how many cocktail franks to put in the oven, and which beer to stock the fridge with.  The very same thing is also happening over at the White House.  (Okay, maybe not the pool)  The guest list is set, the invites out, and even the beer is picked.

According to reports, the President has chosen a few cases of a Wisconsin beer.   Both the Pale Ale and Amber Ale from the Hinterland Brewery in Green Bay have been shipped from the brewhouse directly to the White House.  Let’s be honest, being able to have a “few cases” shipped straight from a brewery half-way across the nation to your Super Bowl Party must be high on the list of great presidential perks.

Just in case you care, and there is no reason you should, I am going with the President’s apparent pick and taking the Packers.  Enjoy the game!

By Dave McBride

 


Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 9:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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