The Slant Pattern’s Sports Bar

Is it time for the Slant Pattern to become more interactive? This is the question that ran across my mind as I was reading the latest Sports Illustrated, which lists their version of the nation's 25 greatest sports bars.

Why can't the Slant Pattern be less like a column and more like a watering hole? I fear the answer is, "because we don't have enough readers to even think about starting even the most remote resemblance of a community."

So it's time to substitute interaction for imagination and time to dream up the Slant Pattern's dream sports bar. This dream will become reality just as soon as I hit the Powerball (my wizened grandfather's dying words to me were, "play more lottery").

My main hook would be that my bar caters to sports NUTS. Anyone would be welcome, naturally, but you might feel a bit out of your element if you're not a sports fan or even just a casual fan.

My bar would be a technophile's dream and a fire marshal's nightmare. Since my main goal would be to attract sports games to see games they can't see at home, we're gonna be running a lot of cord.

I'm not sure of the exact amount of TVs I would have, but I can tell you we would subscribe to every sports pay-per-view package there is — NFL Sunday Ticket, NCAA Full Court, NHL Center Ice, and so on I would also subscribe to all of the 20 or 30 FOX Sports regional networks.

I would also employ a C-Band satellite. You know what that is even if you don't realize it; it's the big satellite dishes that were the only dishes in town before DirecTV and its mini-dish brothers came calling.

The C-Band satellite is not obsolete. In fact, it's a tad more exciting, in its own way, than the mini-dishes because you are not sure what exactly you might pick up. Think of it as a shortwave television.

One thing you can pick up on C-Band are "wild feeds" which are programs sent to network satellites that you can watch by pointing your dish in the correct direction in the sky at the right time. This way, I would hope to pull in some games that are only broadcast locally Your local channel 68 is producing the Florida Atlantic vs. Samford game? Maybe we can pick it up on a wild feed from 3,000 miles away. Despite the random feeling of wild feeds, they are scheduled and I would scour both the listings and the skies to pull games in.

And I'm still not done bringing you all the sports you can handle. Upstairs is a computer lab, with each computer subscribed to both Yahoo! premium audio and Teamline audio. For a fee (I'm thinking a dollar or three an hour would be plenty), you are granted access to the computer lab, where you can listen to any game you like (headphones available at each station) that is certifiably unavailable to us on television — or even the ones that are available, if you are more inclined to pay to listen than watch for free. And you can bring your beer!

Back to the televisions ... they would all be posited on the "superwall," each on its own temperature-controlled shelf (the fire marshal will at least like that part) with the seating arranged so that every seat in the house can see every screen. Looking for the Clippers vs. Nuggets game? One of our staff will tell which screen to look for (#39).

Lining the walls would be sports tickers, with scores and stats running along every 15 minutes, we will announce scores over the PA for major games. The bar will be well-stocked with a special emphasis on lesser-known brands, both domestically and imported.

That emphasis is inspired by a Sam Adams (a brand I will staunchly refuse to stock) commercial that most of us have seen: two guys go to a bar called the World of Beers, are handed a book of a menu by the waitress, who claims they have tons of beers from around the world in this book, call me when you're ready to order. Ah, but our guys are ready. They don't need to look at no stinkin' menu! They want a Sam Adams!

Whatever. Firstly, why would you choose a bar called "THE WORLD OF BEERS" if all you want is something you can buy at any 7-11? Secondly, this says less about the quality of Sam Adams and more about the close-mindedness of the featured patrons.

Aren't ya a little curious about that Greenlandic microbrew only available at World of Beers and Greenland? Nope, just want a Sam Adams. It'd been funnier if one of the guys said after ordering the Sam Adams, "...and you can keep those funny frou-frou beers to yourself! Ya know something, young missy? There's more weirdo ice cream flavors than you can shake a stick at, but that doesn't mean any of 'em beat good 'ol unsweetened vanilla! Now put some blue jeans on and light my Marlboro, little lady!"

So ... yeah, Ixnay on the Amsay Adamsay. And have a Tecate instead of Corona. Have an Iron City beer instead of a Bud. Have a ... another Canadian beer other than Molson or Labatt's.

The menu would feature a lot of fried, unhealthy foods and would close 20 minutes after the last professional or collegiate game on the telly ended. We would have unique contests, such as essay contests. An example subject would be, "Why or why not should the nation keep an eye on Gonzaga forward Ronny Turiaf?" We would award cash and certificate prizes to both the most complete and the most humorous entries, which would be read over the PA to kick-off happy hour.

Taking a tip from a lot of dance clubs, we would have a chillout room for those who had a bit too much fun with the beer. The chillout room would also have a TV. One. With a rabbit-ear antenna. Gotta pay respects to yesteryear.

So, if anyone wants to put up 99% of the startup capital...

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