Yes, I know, this is a boating column but around Fort Myers Beach boating and football are totally compatible. Our "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" members like to watch many different contests, and we like to use our boats at or close to the same time. We are a very unique area because of the many waterfront restaurants that are wannabe sports bars. Technically, if any establishment has purchased college and professional football television packages, they are a "sports bar." The best ones have many large flat screen television sets.
The first weekend of NCAA football caused a lot of excitement and the wide variety of games being shown was great, but a minor conflict occurred now and again. A group of new arrivals will inevitably move to a less crowded area and try to get their game on the set closest. People who have been there longer would object. "Who would want to watch Marshall and West 'by God' Virginia? Put on the Penn State, Ohio U game!" It takes the diplomatic skills of Henry Kissinger to mediate these.
The best sports bars have food specials such as sloppy Joes or corn dogs or chicken fingers for a special price. Just having food specials doesn't mean it's a success. You have to tell people about them like the Pukin' Pelican with they're blackboard behind the bar. It isn't always up to date but is easily changed when a patron orders the 50-cent clams. "No that was last Wednesday. Today is blah, blah blah."
Last Saturday we sat around the clubhouse big screen and watched Notre Dame wallop Navy. What is Navy thinking joining the Big East in 2015, huh? They'll play teams a lot tougher than Notre Dame and still have to play Air Force and Army. Most of their defensive backs will be aboard submarines after their football careers. In any case, it was good to see "the old sod" and hear some funny comments by the color commentators while chowing down on home fries and eggs. Should have been "bangers and mash" (sausage and potatoes?) maybe. We try to stay well fed to mitigate the effects of the water and sun. Getting on and off the boat seven or eight times is tricky when pub-crawling.
We watched the first half of the Ohio State, Miami of Ohio game at the 'Pukin' Pelican' just so we could sample the colossal cauldron of free food (Chili Mac) and plan the rest of the afternoon. We'd have preferred to finish the Ohio State game with the Ohio State Booster club but, since they now meet at the Bayside Bar and Grille (who still don't have docks), many of us went to the Nauti Turtle. Several of our group peeled away to sneak to the Bayside by car because of the dollar pints and sweet Eileen was behind the bar.
A lot of DECYC members are still unhappy about a misunderstanding between the Nauti Turtle, who used to be the official Ohio State Football clubhouse, and the Ohio State Boosters. I don't get involved because there are way too many rabid Ohio State boosters around the Beach. I do know that Bayside Grille is thankful for the extra business even though they're real busy already. Anyway, I go where the designated driver takes me.
The next step was onto Nervous Nellie's 'Ugly s Bar' up top, where happy hour is always happy all day and ugly people get pretty sooner or later. We bought Mrs. Boston Bob, our designated driver, a Grouper Reuben because she doesn't drink. She is constantly hungry and she's so tiny. It must be genes or a tape worm? We can't wait for our usual "DD" the 'Reverend' to get out of his funk over the upcoming presidential election. God help us if Romney loses!
We could have walked over to the Matanzas Inn and Restaurant but went under the sky bridge and around the corner. Plenty of dock-age and we love to arrive by boat. Went upstairs for their happy hour. Didn't inquire about food specials but enjoyed seeing all our friends and watched more football.
Finally we arrived at the Big Game Waterfront Grill and watched Florida and Bowling Green. Bowling what? And Florida only beat them 27 to 14. There were plenty of warm-up games and a few tough contests like Boston College and Miami U. It's only the first Saturday in the 2012 College Football schedule, and we thoroughly enjoyed the day.
Thank you to all the waterfront bars who vie for our business every Saturday in the fall. We ended the afternoon with only one boat back to the Pukin' Pelican. The chili mac was just a memory and the crowd was thinning but we gathered around a table to compare the day. "I really had a good time," 'Nu Joosey Norm' said between sips of coffee. We'd all had enough beer so most of us were onto the soft stuff.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Alabama destroy Michigan," said 'Youngstown Gangsta George.'
If you are an Ohio State fan, your two favorite teams are OSU and anyone playing Michigan. And he got his wish! The DECYC looks forward to seeing y'all next week when there will be college and pro football!