Whoever said ‘getting there is half the fun’ is a freaking genius, because when one applies that schooling to sports, thinking about the run, over the course of a season, is a hell of a ride. That being said, one also needs to stock the toolbox for victory; cigars, champagne, and fireworks are how we celebrate in my neighborhood. Good single barrel bourbon and Sierra Nevada beer are how we do in my home. I moved into the current domicile 9 years ago and every sports milestone since, Steelers Super Bowl wins in 2006 & 2009, Penguins in 2009, Pirates playoff runs in 2013, 2014, we bring it…celebrar con vigor (celebrate with vigor).

Regardless of your team(s), or allegiance, we as believers of champions, can always identify with the spirit of fanaticism. Years ago, when I was a bartender, the night before the 2005 AFC Championship game, held in Pittsburgh, 2 guys rolled into my bar proudly sporting their Patriots gear. They politely asked if I would serve them some drinks, “We wont start any shit, we just want to get our swerve on, no disrespect, but no one in this town will serve us; can we please get a drink, in the spirit of good sportsmanship? Please?” I bartended on a street that had nothing but bars for 13 blocks, Carson Street on the South Side of town, and these guys really had been put through the ringer all night, being turned down for 12 of those long blocks. I offered an olive branch saying “If you guys really aren’t going to talk shit or start trouble, I’m good with it, I would expect you to sport your team and want you to enjoy your stay here, please, saddle up, I’ve got your first one and if anyone starts shit with you, I’ve got your back, this could be the beginning of a great rivalry and I admire any fan who follows their team to another city, enjoy”.

We proceeded to do a few shots together and they were great guests, polite and respectful. That night, the crowd was ornery to say the least, and our guests were rewarded with 2 girls flashing their breasts…displaying black and gold sprinkles, pseudo stripper dust. And I even pulled out the baseball bat on some asshole who wanted to challenge them, chasing out a townie, because being a fan of your team is more important than being inhospitable.

My point in this reverie is, be prepared and stocked for any playoff run. Those Pats fans had no supplies if I hadn’t let them drink at my bar. I’m a little methodical when it comes to sports, I keep a case of good beer in the basement fridge, a variety of liquor depending on the sport, and certainly champagne, should there be victory. Cigars are a must, above fireworks, but fire and alcohol can be exciting as well, if someone in control is handling the pyrotechnics. Champagne can be drank or sprayed all over the front porch, depending on how the night goes.

With the college playoffs and bowl games approaching, and the NFL locking down their picture, now is the time to stock up on supplies, don’t wait until the rush, make the sports stockpile part of your holiday shopping…prepare for victory folks…and cheers! You can find me getting my swerve on all New Year’s Day, beginning with Michigan St. at 12:30, followed by the 2 playoff games at 5 and 8:30. I’m pulling for my alma mater Spartans, (go green), and Oregon should finally show Florida St. why they shouldn’t get off to a slow start, and Bama, (roll tide), because I spent time there and because I simply hate anything Ohio, lol. Remember fans, sport your shit wherever you are and hope you run into a bartender like I used to be…fair and a true sportsman. I don’t always pull out the bat from behind the bar, but when I do, its because some asshole cant handle their liquor. Stay thirsty my friends.

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