By James Nosek
The drink orders were in.
Buffalo Wild Wings was buzzing. It was Championship Monday. The hours and hours of pre-game for the National Championship were on the back burner. The Notre Dame basketball team was in the spotlight, for now. The football team would sack their TV time 30 minutes later.
I settled with water, as did my friend. Sometimes you need some old fashioned water.
Everyone else in our 13-person party wasn’t so old fashioned. Coke. Lemonade. Stella Artois. Miller Light. Mikes Hard (the raspberry kind). Red wine.
Gotta savor the choices.
Then came the ultimate choice. Who you got in the game? Alabama or Notre Dame?
I was like a waiter taking orders in my head.
Sir, what would you like? ND.
Ma’am, what can I get you? Roll Tide.
The table seemed to be split up the middle. That wasn’t counting the moms of the group. You know how mothers get in a sports bar. Less talk about sports. More talk about anything that has nothing to do with sports.
It was chaotic in the place, per usual. The crowds started piling in for the title game. The bar was hopping. Glasses of beer were maneuvered through the tight knit spaces of the restaurant floor. No spillage, though.
The food finally came. The five different conversations at the table became part time jobs, balancing the talking and eating.
The TVs battled for viewership. Some small plasmas had the Cavaliers-Bulls game. Others had SportsCenter on. The large projector screens were dominated by the title game. But Premier League Soccer made it on a few.
Alabama marches down the field and scores on its opening drive. Five plays. 82-yards.
The scarce number of Notre Dame fans naturally looked on in disgust. The scarce number of Alabama fans cheered. They knew the game was over.
The anti-Notre Dame fans exploded, even more than the true ‘Bama fans.
A group of high schoolers went nuts because one of their friends stood up wearing his ‘Bama sweatshirt. Another high school table—the “cool” kids—went nuts because their friend who wore a Notre Dame sweatshirt couldn’t bear to see the TV.
A table of college guys went ballistic when ‘Bama scored. Why? The blonde sitting next to them was blanketed in Alabama red.
The middle school couple sitting in the corner booth spent most of their time starring into each other’s young pupils. But they still had to look up at the TV after the score.
My table. We just sat there in amazement at how embarrassed ND must be on that first defensive possession. That’s how it was all game.
We finished our dinner. The younger kids migrated to a booth across the aisle with the girls. Slick move.
I sat there with my hand on my stomach. Man, I was full. I continued to talk with my friends. The topic changed every second. The moms continued their four-hour long conversation about purses and whatever else moms talk about. The dads? Who knows? They were more worried about getting the right type of beer from the waitress. They all look the same when they’re on tap.
Three families. Three checks. One great time.
Sports brought us together. Better, sports brought the whole place together.
I mean come on. Where else were we going to eat?
A normal sit down place. Please.