I can pinpoint the exact moment when, as an unreasonably angsty teenager, I turned my back on pro sports. It was 1994. Deion “Prime Time” Sanders was on the 49ers, and I despised him because he made it pretty obvious he was sticking with San Francisco only for a single season, given their good chances for winning the Super Bowl. The first Weezer album had just come out, and I kept telling everyone how “Surfwax America” should be their next single after “The Sweater Song.”
A week after I bought that album, one of my friends told me how NFL games stopped to accommodate commercials, and from then on, I picked rock over sports.
Nowadays, I’m over that shit. I noticed a couple years ago that a lot of even my snobbiest musician buddies listened to The Ticket all goddamned day, and I realized that it’s actually pretty fun to follow sports, especially if you like to get hammered and yell at people who can’t hear you. But, man, it has taken me a long time; until somewhat recently, I’d never set foot in a sports bar, least of all one called Score.
Score is located on Camp Bowie West; I may be wrong, but I believe it used to be a karaoke place where somebody got knifed. Anyway, its locale kind of makes it a dive by default, so I was inclined to belly up to its bar anyway. The week my little brother was on leave from the Navy, we were out on a night with nothing going on except a Mavs game. I’ve been trying to get into the Mavs lately, but for whatever reason, they just haven’t been sticking with me all that much. But I try, which is why Andy and I sat down at Score’s bar and dutifully faced the TVs, waiting for the game to start.
Tim McGraw crooned out of the playlist of some satellite radio station, segueing into a song about flyover states, and my gaze drifted around the room. Score is split into three sections, two of which could be bars on their own given their humongous size. To the left of the main bar is an area like a basement rec room, with a pool table, air hockey, and darts. In front of you is the room with the actual bar, some pool tables, and a Terminator II pinball game. I’m pretty sure one guy with a ponytail put half his paycheck into that machine while I watched. The main room has a partial, windowed wall separating it from the third area, where I could see about 15 people setting up a poker game. This section has poker tables and comfy seating, some of which faces a dance floor and a stage. I didn’t see a soundboard, though a DJ booth lurked in the dark at stage left; I figured the booth and the floor were relics of Score’s predecessor, even though the marquee outside advertised karaoke.
Back at the bar, the Mavs had the ball. Dirk was out sick or something, and pretty soon the Mavs were losing. My interest waned, especially when I turned to another TV and saw the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam. Next to me, some guys in camo talked about injuries, because one had fallen off a roof. On the TV, the Iron Man truck soared off a berm.
I ordered another round, contemplating the bar top, a wood counter with Upper Deck trading cards lacquered under a clear coat of finish. I thought about the baseball cards I had when I was 11 or 12. My friend Brad and I had drawn mustaches and horns on all the players. If you want to know who would ruin a Mike Huff rookie card — sorry. I thought he looked funnier with eyestalks and fangs.
After my third beer, I had to take a leak. “I have to hit the head,” I said.
“People don’t really say that anymore,” Andy replied.
“Grandpa did,” I said.
“Exactly.” — Steve Steward
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