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Remember to Drink Responsibly.
November 14, 2004

by Bill Hogan


 
 

So there I was, standing in the beer line at the stadium at halftime. My team was down by six, but really there was nothing to worry about – the boys were heavily favored and a couple of bad breaks away from blowing the game wide open. At that point, I was more concerned with getting to the front of the beer line before I had to hightail it to the bathroom.

Beer and football; seems so natural, doesn't it? For that matter, so does beer and baseball, beer and basketball, beer and hockey – that is, if there were a hockey season – and beer and NASCAR.

 
 


As Homer Simpson would say, "hmmm beer, whoohoo!" Yea, "whoohoo" until the start of the third quarter; then you're cut off. Half a football game to go, no beverages that require an ID and heaven help you if the game happens to go into overtime.

I guess the stadium executives assume that they have to take over the eternal job of a guy's wife or mother. Because a few people go to a football game, drink too much and become boobs, the sports authorities feel they're better off erring on the side of caution by regulating the entire crowd and shutting down the taps at intermission.

"Gee, I'm too stupid to know when I've had enough, please cut me off before I do something I regret." Now, I'll be honest, I've actually said that to my wife, at a dinner party, a wedding and a karaoke bar. But I don't need Ethel, the beer vendor, informing me that my money is no longer good when I've only been in her establishment for an hour and a half.

NASCAR recently came up with a "landmark" decision to allow "hard-liquor ads on cars." When I read this, the first thing that came to mind is why was there ever a "hard-liquor" ban in the first place?

The caveat is that any "hard liquor" advertiser has to spend 20% of their advertising budget "promoting responsible drinking." I'm no tea toddler, so I can speak from experience when I say that it's just as easy to get drunk on Budweiser as it is to get plastered on Jack Daniels.

Yet it's not necessary for Anheuser-Busch to plunk down a chunk of Michelob profits warning me about the "evils of drink," or preaching temperance because some idiot sets a stadium seat on fire after his fifth cold one.

On the NASCAR circuit, the number eight car – that would be Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – is sponsored by Budweiser. The number two car, Rusty Wallace, for you non-NASCAR fans, is financed by Miller Lite.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Go to a game, go to a race, go to the track – and drink responsibly. Have your fun and get home safely. Is it NASCAR's fault if you wrap your Ford Explorer around a tree on the way home because Crown Royal is sponsoring one of their drivers?

The number six car on the NASCAR circuit – Mark Martin's car - is sponsored by Viagra. I haven't seen a single commercial informing be that I should – you know what – responsibly.

I know what you're thinking, yea, but 17-year old males aren't considering taking Viagra, they don't need it. Your logic would be correct until the ad stipulates that "if your erection lasts more than four hours, please contact your physician."

On the Formula 1 circuit, the world's greatest high-speed driver is sponsored by Marlboro. When I watch an F1 race on TV, which, I admit, is not often, I never see a Public Service Announcement that explains to me, or my children, the downside of lighting up a cigarette.

The number 38 car on the NASCAR circuit is driven by Elliott Sadler and sponsored by M&M's. All those extra fat certainly has an impact on the portly population. Why not require a PSA that explains the importance of calorie counting?

Tobacco, ok; chocolate, ok; beer, ok – until the third quarter; a drug that makes you feel like a stud, well, that's ok too. But whiskey is a no-no? Ask the company that is shelling out millions of dollars explaining why you shouldn't consume their product.

Of course, they can always cut you off – since you don't have enough sense to cut yourself off. Make any sense to you?

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