United States – Suffering Bastard

Sports Supporters

See what I did there… I made a jock joke! Anyhoo, there is some debate over which sport is the most popular in the United States. Is it their national pastime baseball or has it been surpassed by the football juggernaut? Also fighting for market share and expendable income is a host of other competitions. One thing is for certain, the US, compared with other countries, has a greater variety of sports options for its citizens. Why else do you think the country needs all those ESPN channels!? With all that athletic competition, there is sure to be some big time events. Here are some interesting facts on each of the country’s championship crowning spectacles:

Super Bowl – NFL

What can you say about the Super Bowl that hasn’t already been said. The event is so mammoth that it is second only to soccer’s Champions League final as the most viewed annual sporting event. We’ve all heard the astronomical amounts companies pay for commercial time during the Super Bowl, but did you know that non-sponsor advertisers can’t use the word Super Bowl in their spots? Instead, they’re forced to use more generic terms like “the big game”. In 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell suggested a Super Bowl could be played at Wembley Stadium in London. This would mark the big game’s (I want to stay clear of trouble with the NFL… they could send a 400-pound lineman after me) first foray outside the United States, if it were to ever occur. College football also has a strong fan following and Bowl Games, such as the Rose Bowl are hugely successful events. The Army vs. Navy annual meeting is also a display of extreme fanaticism and patriotism.

Super Bowl

World Series – MLB

It’s kind of ironic that the World Series is contested by a league that contains one Canadian team among 29 American squads. Even the Little League World Series (hosted every year in Williamsport, Pennsylvania) is more world-inclusive than the big leagues. The Fall Classic has inspired a fair share of American history, from the fixed championship series of 1919 to the earthquake-interrupted contest in 1989. And then, there’s 1994. Despite playing close to a full regular season, the World Series wasn’t contested in 1994 due to the player’s strike. The Montreal Expos were the top team at the time of the labour dispute and could have continued Canada’s string of World Series wins (the Toronto Blue Jays having won in 1992 and 1993). After the 2004 season, the Expos were relocated to Washington, D.C. to become the Nationals. Coincidence or anti-Canadian conspiracy? Let the theories begin…

March Madness – NCAA

I don’t think any other country gets as pumped for collegiate sports than the US. This tournament makes stars out of teenagers and for some, is the only reason they still support their alma mater. The NCAA’s annual event to crown a national basketball champion is bigger than the professional level NBA Championship Finals. Fans pick their brackets and battle for bragging rights (and cash money, yo) as they watch their choices run through the gauntlet. Upsets are perhaps the most interesting aspect of the tournament. In 1985, Villanova went from #8 seed to National Champion, while Florida Gulf Coast was the lowest ranked team ever (#15) to advance to the Sweet 16. In fact, all four #1 seeds making the Final Four has only happened once, in 2008. Since 1947, the winning team has cut down and claimed the court nets as a trophy for their triumphant victory, with the head coach cutting the final strand.

The Masters/US Open/PGA Championship – PGA

Thanks in large part to Tiger Woods, golf has grown in popularity the last couple decades. Three of the four events that make up golf’s Grand Slam are contested in the United States (the other being the British Open, usually played in Scotland). Of them, The Masters is the most prolific of the bunch, played each season at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Winners, along with receiving oodles of prize money, get the privilege of wearing the infamous green jacket that club members wear when on the course, as their win makes them an honourary member. The jacket is meant to remain at Augusta National, but when Gary Player won in 1961, amid all the celebrating, he took it home with him to South Africa. Masters winners earn a lifetime invitation to play in the tournament and an automatic inclusion into the three other majors, Players Championship, and PGA Tour for the next five years.

Point of Golf

US Open – PTA

I bet some reader’s don’t recognize the PTA other than standing for the Parent-Teacher Advisory. Well, in this case, we’re talking about the Professional Tennis Association. Played out of New York’s USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (good lord that’s a mouthful) each summer since 1881, the US Open is one of four grand slams for the PTA (the others including the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon in London). In 1973, the US Open became the first of tennis’s grand slam events to award equal prize money to both the male and female champion. Keeping with the trend of innovation, the US Open was the first to host play at night with the use of floodlights in 1975. While the Serena Williams has enjoyed recent success at the tournament, winning each of the last two years, the last American to win on the men’s side was Andy Roddick in 2003.

Triple Crown – Horse Racing

A common trend that makes these events so epically huge is their gambling potential and that is perhaps most prevalent with the Triple Crown of horse racing. The Kentucky Derby (described as the most exciting two minutes in sports), the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, make up this trio of popular sprints. Coming live from Louisville, Kentucky; Baltimore, Maryland, and Elmont, New York; respectively, the Triple Crown has existed since 1875, but there hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed took the photo finish at each historic track. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is the only person to win the Triple Crown with different horses, as Thunder Gulch won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes, but in between, Timber Country won the Preakness Stakes. Many other countries also have their own version of the Triple Crown.

Sprint Cup Series – NASCAR

Racing around an oval for hundreds of laps is so huge in the US right now that some could argue it’s the most popular sport in the country. While some believe fans are simply waiting for a wreck to happen, true pundits point out that there is a beauty in the strategy of auto racing. Either way, this series of races comes with a strong viewing audience, as well as sold out attendance at the tracks. The pinnacle of the NASCAR season is the Daytona 500, which was first run in 1959 and has opened the Cup Series since 1982. Named because of its 500-mile length. The 2.5 mile track needs to be rounded 200 times to complete the race. Sadly, racing legend Dale Earnhardt died at the track on the final lap of the 2001 race. Only three years earlier, Earnhardt finally won the famous competition, after years of mechanical issues, crashes, and being passed for the lead late in races.

United States: Suffering Bastard

Suffering Bastard Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 1 oz Gin
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Angostura Bitters
  • Garnish with Lime Wedges

I can’t help but notice the US has a bit of an obsessions with balls (base, foot, basket, etc.). Not to tease, but at least us Canadians are only preoccupied by pucks! A number of other events could have made this list, including the X-Games, WrestleMania, the Indianapolis 500, and even the All-American Soap Box Derby.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I enjoyed every element of this drink, even the Angostura Bitters, which I find often don’t factor in enough to register any opinion of them. I have to ask: Is there anything Ginger Ale can’t do? The answer is a simple no. I was really looking forward to pairing Bourbon with Gin and am ecstatic that it all worked out so well!

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United States – The Revolver

Living Arrangements

It would be neat if we could find ourselves living in one of the fictional cities we read about or see in movies or on TV. Most of these fictional cities are located across the United States (our next stop on the worldwide liquor express) and here are the places I’d choose to reside if given the option:

South Park – South Park

There always seems to be crazy shit going down in South Park. It has been the epicenter for nearly all the world’s activity since 1997, including attacks by Mecha-Streisand (a mechanized Barbara Streisand), the initiation of same-sex marriage laws, and the battle ground for artists and consumers over illegal downloading, among so much else. Heck, both Jesus and Satan have resided in the small Colorado town, with Jesus even hosting a public access call-in TV show!

South_Park

Duckburg – DuckTales

Hopefully I’d be part of Scrooge McDuck’s inner circle and get to join him, Launchpad McQuack, and the gang on all their jet-setting adventures. If I wound up as one of the Beagle Boys, I don’t think I’d enjoy the experience nearly as much. Perhaps Scrooge and I could go for a dip in his vault and have a coin fight. We’d be the best of friends until I got greedy and stole his lucky dime. Then Flintheart Glomgold  and myself would go on the lam as filthy rich baddies.

Gotham City – Batman

The only thing to decide before settling in Gotham City is whether you’re going to be a hero or a villain. That’s actually a really difficult decision for me. I think I’ve spent too much of my life being a good guy and it might be time for a change… time to do something different and look after number one for a little while. Of course, that means I’ll have to battle Batman, rather than fight beside him, but I’m game. Hopefully I get some hot tail, too, like Harley Quinn, Catwoman, or Poison Ivy!

Springfield – The Simpsons

While there are actual Springfield’s across the United States, it still seems like this version is very much fictional. It probably helps that the state in which the Simpsons et al reside is never fully disclosed. It’s hinted at from time to time, but those hints often change and bury the mystery deeper and deeper. I think I’d be able to find a nice life in Springfield, hanging out at Moe’s Tavern and chowing down at Krusty Burger.

simpsons-springfield

Storybrooke – Once Upon a Time

I’ve actually been to Storybrooke… or at least the town (Steveston) where much of the show’s exterior shots are filmed. It’s only a half hour drive from Mrs. Sip’s and my home and we once upon a time went out that way for dinner and tracked down Mr. Gold’s pawn shop and other landmarks. Through Storybrooke, I could also visit places like Neverland, Wonderland, and the Enchanted Forest. That’s getting into a whole nother can of worms, dealing with fictional realms.

Pawnee – Parks and Recreation

The United States’ fourth most obese city, my svelte body may stick out like a sore thumb, but at least I could work with the Parks and Rec crew (perhaps the only time I’d ever be interested in government work). I’d make sure that Ron Swanson became my mentor and through his tutelage, I could amass a fortune of gold bars and an appreciation for outdoor life, woodwork, and simply being a man’s man.

Pawnee

Any Soap Opera Town – General Hospital, One Life to Live, Young and the Restless, etc.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a town where it seems nobody ever works and all they do is have romantic trysts and get into sticky situations!? Nobody is ever in need of money, unless you’re introduced as a homeless character and you don’t have to feel bad about committing evil acts because months later, you’ll likely redeem yourself and become a good guy, once again. Murderers, rapists, kidnappers, and the like have all become fan favourites in the Soaps.

Toontown – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Living as a cartoon character would be pretty sweet. You can never die, no matter how many anvils or pianos are dropped on your head, and you spend most of your day scheming to catch a bird or mouse. If I had to pick the character that best matches my personality, it would probably be Wile E. Coyote, with a sprinkle of Taz. My plans – as elaborate as they may be – never really work out and that drives me to whirlwind fits of rage, despite my good heart!

United States: The Revolver

The Revolver Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

Honourable Mentions go to Mayberry (Andy Griffiths Show), Bedrock (The Flintstones), and Sunnydale (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The last one makes the list only so I can be the one to slay the slayer!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I really thought I’d like this cocktail more. Perhaps I went too light on the Orange Bitters. It was a touch too strong on the Bourbon side and I even used Black Cherry and not straight up Jim Beam. I do love what I did with the Orange Zest, so pat on the back for me!