In a conversation with a friend the other day I a rare moment of speechlessness. I have known this said friend for nearly a decade and in that time have seen him almost every day. What he said is not important, but it was so unexpected and unlikely it reminded me that often things are not what they seem. Take for example the little dive of a bar fondly called Sporties.
At a glance most people would make grand assumptions. If you could get past the bright orange, colour-splattered front and the purple neon palm tree in the yard, or the old snowmobile strapped to the outside wall you might be surprised. Many pause a step in the doorway even if they get that far.
Hung from the ceiling is over 100 bras; evidence that rowdy nights happen within these walls. Casting a look about you might notice the buffalo-head wearing a Mardi-gra mask or a sign reading “the yuppies headcount” with a tally kept in red ink. Many at this point nervously step up to the old bar and order a drink. Some laugh nervously and try not to look much further. They hope the bartender will put them at ease. Not here my friends.
If they are traveling through and lacking a sense of humour or a bad case of arrogance they might find the day time bar-tender in his best form. A former hockey goalie he delights in catching shit and throwing it back into the game. If it is politically incorrect it is his entertainment. At a glance it is a crude, rude, shit hole that needs a bartenders bible to make a mixed drink and may or may not have the correct glass for wine (that costs as much per glass as the entire bottle.)
The regulars are an unlikely a company. A man called Trout Slayer and another affectionately given the title of Troll. Nick names range from Rollover to Froggy, Big Steve to Guido, and of course there is The Yuppie as well as Drunk #1, and Drunk #2. On the surface it is a grimy version of Cheers, complete with peanut shells on the floor.
However if you show up in mid afternoon the TV is as likely to have Nova on as anything, and the few locals who are there are likely watching, only to debate and discuss the science in the commercials. The Bar owner is a chess geek and an author. Ask John and he will pull out a chess board faster than you can finish asking if he wants to play. A common topic is quantum physics and history.
The humour of the regulars spills out into the annual town celebration. Cap guns, costumes and with rehearsed script you’ll find the highlight of the day on the bars steps. For the nah-sayers and the critics I remind you that what you see is not always the entire story. Do not get me wrong the place still has glitter on the floor from the last party and everything from jello wrestling to nude volleyball has had its turn. If such offends you please Stay Out. As is written on the wall ‘If you don’t have a sense of humour don’t drink @ Sporties.’ If easily upset or take yourself too seriously just keep going, your loss, not ours. Cheers!