I am going to Manolo’s this evening for the fourth time to watch fútbol, this time México vs. Honduras. Manolo’s is indeed a sports bar, but it is not a boozy place. There is a great menu of snacks there, including a killer cheeseburger. Also, the menu of the steakhouse next door is available. My new budget does not require that I foreswear this given the fact that I drink mineral water. There is the bar area and an adjacent television room with tables and four screens.
All I have to do now is figure what the start time is. You would not believe what a tedious undertaking that is on the internet. Assuming that I can find a start time, it will be expressed in Greenwich Mean Time, which I will have to convert while keeping in mind that we are on Daylight Savings Time here. I will do all this with no guaranty that the start time has not been "adjusted" at the last minute, perhaps drastically. México vs. United States was magically transformed from a night game to an afternoon game, for example, when the Mexicans suddenly realized that they wanted the sun beating down on the Americans in the high altitude of Estadio Azteca in México City.
Last Saturday evening, I think it was--I have difficulty remembering one day from another--I attended at Manolo’s to watch México vs. Costa Rica, a huge game in the competition to qualify for the World Cup next year. I arrived early to get my favorite little table, and various evening college football games were on. Several Americans were present.
When the hour of the fútbol game approached, Juan Carlos, the bartender, went from table to table patiently but firmly explaining to the Americans the situation. Every single screen was now going to be dedicated to the fútbol game. And no, not one single screen would remain tuned to college football, even though the big B.Y.U. vs. Oklahoma game was getting very interesting. Some whooping and hollering had started. (B.Y.U. ultimately upset Oklahoma, as if I give a damn.)
When Juan Carlos went to work on the satellite keyboard to do just this, the Americans vacated en masse, I presume to find a different establishment that was still showing college football. I do not have any idea where in all of México they expected to find such a place. In any event Mexicans soon filled up Manolo’s with the addition of a couple of other Americans. A raucous evening followed. México won in that Costa Rican snakepit known as Estadio Ricardo Saprissa.
I do not relate this story in criticism of anybody--not Manolo, not Juan Carlos, not the Americans. It was just an interesting people-watching thing.