By Natalya Jones
By County Grind
By Liz Tracy
By Chris Joseph
By Liz Tracy
By Matt Preira
By Jesse Scheckner
By Michael E. Miller
I've always hated football. Maybe it's because I personally suck at organized sports. Maybe it's because I just never saw the appeal of watching a bunch of hulking idiots trying to break one another's bones and making millions of dollars doing it. Football fans, I thought, were a low-brow pack of male chauvinists who never read a page of Chaucer or took their wives to see a string orchestra.
To my chagrin, in the past of couple years, I've ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time hanging out with a football fanatic. Because he didn't fit my preconceived notions about football fans (well, not all of them, anyway), I decided to try watching a little of the run-and-grunt epic. Next thing you know, my TV's playing ESPN, I know the teams, I'm acquainted with the players, and I'm tuned in to all the personal drama (like the way Vince Young's mama recently told people to stop picking on her poor baby boy). And this year, not only do I have a fantasy football team but I have even stooped to verbally abusing my TV set ("Phillip Rivers, you idiot, didn't I just tell you to score a touchdown?!"). Out of loyalty to my hometown, I selected the Dallas Cowboys (America's team) to root for.
Sunday-night football is a great time to sit back with good company, sip cheap watery beer, and scream at lots of TVs — in public. We decided to check out the Quarterdeck by the beach (2933 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) to witness the Dallas Cowboys obliterate the Green Bay Packers (or so I hoped).
3155 S. University Drive
Davie, FL 33328
Category: Music Venues
Region: Davie/West Hollywood
1541 Cordova Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
Category: Bars and Clubs
Region: Fort Lauderdale
2933 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316-1613
Region: Fort Lauderdale
Ambiance: For a place with dozens of sports-showing TVs positioned to accommodate every eye in the bar, Sunday night was mysteriously quiet. We walked around the giant blue aquarium (with fewer fish in it than TVs in the bar) and took our seats at a wooden booth in the corner. The walls were decorated with neon beer signs and beach-themed pictures; kayaks and canoes hung from the ceiling. A giant plaster statue of a marlin (a spot on his side devoid of paint indicated he had lost a flipper) hung right behind my head. Low overhanging green lights illuminated the big wooden bar, and a few guys sat around it, engrossed in the big-screen TVs. Our tabletop had a picture of a hungry shark printed on it, and I quickly vowed to cover his beady black eye with the bottom of a full glass of foamy beer.
Drinks: Simple as this: Everywhere was the Coors Light logo. It's the official beer sponsor of the NFL — which means it's cheap. Yeah, Coors is a bit watery and maybe not quite delicious, but it's beer, and the napkin holder informed us that it was going for $2 a pint. No-brainer. It was our drink of choice. My football buddy, Mike, also ordered four sliders (I stole most of the onions off the miniburgers while he focused on Tony Romo), and I ordered a plate of mozzarella sticks. Our waitress' nametag read "Lisa Turtle," and she took her sweet time bringing us our beers (slow and steady doesn't win the tip, sweetie). But she smiled politely at our stream of Saved by the Bell jokes. She was short and adorable, with a headband and well-applied mascara.
"So we're clear, your nametag is, er, a Bayside High reference?" I asked. "NBC around 1991, I'd say. Any particular reason for it?"
"Well, my name's Lisa," she said thoughtfully. "The other part is kind of a joke."
"Oh, because you're slow?" Mike asked innocently.
"Like, slow-paced, not stupid," our other companion, Tom (a Packers fan), quickly clarified.
"So what was it like dating a skinny guy who buttons his shirts up all the way?" Mike asked.
"Do I look like the kind of girl who'd date Screech?" Lisa demanded indignantly, putting her free hand on her hip.
"He's kind of a jerk now," she said.
"Yeah, have you seen his sex tape?" I asked.
"Never Google Screech," Tom said. "It's... dirty."
Football fans: The first quarter of the game was, to be honest, kind of boring. Both teams went deep into enemy territory but traded only field goals. (Look at that, Mom; your baby girl is a sportswriter now!) Somewhere after my fourth (or maybe sixth) glass of watery beer, I noticed a trio perched at the bar, all seemingly engrossed in the game. Cliff was dark-complexioned and thin, and Jay had a mustache and matted dark hair curling out from under a white baseball cap. They both had their eyes fixed on the game. Anna, who had big dark eyes and wore a sundress, absently stirred her Captain Morgan rum.
"Who are you guys rooting for?" I asked.
"No one, but it's better than sitting at home alone," Anna said.
"I like the sport," Cliff said, "but I'm not rooting for anyone in this game."
"No? Did you like the Packers better before Brett Favre left?" I asked, beating Cliff in the face with my football knowledge. Oh, ESPN, how you've paid off.
"No, I like him less now," Cliff said. Fair-weather fan.