[Editor’s note: For this week’s essay we’ve once again pulled out a relic from the archive of Slim Goodbuzz, who visited Goodsports Bar & Grill at 2827 Oakes Ave. in Superior and penned this report for the Feb. 7, 2001 issue of the Ripsaw newspaper. The former Goodsports location became home to Ace’s on 29th in 2009.]
I’ve discovered something. I was afraid to mention it over the past month because I didn’t want you sorry sheep following me around. But now that the 2000–2001 Superior Boot Hockey League season is over, I think it’s safe to let you know: Goodsports Bar & Grill rocks.
You probably don’t believe me, and you shouldn’t. Goodsports? What can be good about another sports bar with a bazillion televisions and the same old burger menu and Viking/Packer décor?
Well, let me explain: While hockey players are definitely some of the most annoying people in the world, the sport of hockey is sweet. It’s fast, it’s violent and it involves incredible skill. Best of all, there’s no marching band at halftime and no seventh-inning sing-along. Between periods, some goober drives a big tank in circles.
So when I heard there was a bar in Superior with a hockey rink outside, I immediately put on my foil and crossed the bridge to Saucetown.
What I found out when I got there is that they don’t play real hockey at Goodsports. They play boot hockey. Boot hockey is the funniest thing in the entire world. Twelve guys dressed up like hockey players run around on ice in the nerdiest shoes imaginable, constantly slipping and falling on their asses and failing to perform anything that appears like an actual hockey move. And Goodsports allows anyone over the age of 21 to consume intoxicating beverages while watching this spectacle. Brilliant.
What makes boot hockey especially hilarious is that the frustrated ex-jocks who play the sport actually take it seriously. There are even fights! It’s beautiful. Any time a bunch of hockey players are beating up on each other instead of on me, I’m a happy guy.
On the last night of the boot hockey season I came out to see my favorite team: the home team, Goodsports. Goodsports is my favorite because most of the players are scrawny guys who just turned 21. They run up and down the rink like Jesus-freaks out of an abortion clinic, but have no skills whatsoever. Every pass they make lands on the stick of someone on the other team. But they play hard and win half their games. Then they come inside and harass the all-female bar staff. One sorry saucebucket actually used this pathetic line: “When are you going to wise up and be my girlfriend?”
The first thing I noticed when I mounted my stool was that the bartender apparently hadn’t slept in a month. This girl was goofy. I ordered a pitcher of Michelob Urine and headed to the rear dining area to watch the Goodsports Stumblebums blow another game.
The rear dining area of Goodsports turns into a locker room during boot hockey games. While two teams suit up for their upcoming contest, two other teams peel off their stinking gear and prepare to get ripped. There are duffel bags and hockey sticks everywhere. It smells like an ass factory. The Pickwick this ain’t.
So after the game, a defenseman for the home team heads straight to the bar and orders a Budweiser. The bartender hoists up a sweaty Bud bottle and licks the top of it. “Oops. I guess this one’s on me,” she says.
I know a good thing when I see it. “Who’s gonna give me something?” I promptly ask.
The hockey player jumps right on this. “Hey, make him a Crazy Lou! Make that guy a Crazy Lou!”
The next thing I know, the bartender pulls out a 24-ounce glass and begins dumping shot after shot of booze into it. This girl deserves a promotion.
While my drink is prepared, the hockey player inspects the front of his sweaty shirt and tells me “it looks like I tossed on myself.”
“What?” I ask, pretending like I don’t know what he’s talking about.
This moment of bonding is interrupted by the bartender sliding a big red drink in front of me. Going on appearance alone, I assume the ingredients are vodka, grenadine and human plasma. By taste, I guess it’s mostly rum mixed with fruit juice and raspberry liqueur. It tastes like liquid pie.
But everything changes when the guy they call Crazy Lou, for whom the concoction I’m drinking is obviously named, uses his hockey stick to pick up a pair of underwear off the dining/locker room floor. Everyone knows what is about to happen, and no one wants to be the poor sucker who takes a flying pair of sweaty skivvies across the face. Budweiser guy dives under a table. The bartender glares as if to say “don’t even think about it.” I grab a big plastic chair and chuck it at the underwear-wielding maniac.
Crazy Lou thinks the chair-throwing idea is fun and throws it back at me. I regret starting the whole situation, but because I’m thoroughly Gretzky-eyed on this red goop drink, I decide to toss the chair at the bartender. She tosses it right back. I love this place!
Finally, 2 a.m. rolls around. I don’t have to stay here, but I can’t go home. I ask the bartender if there’s any more free stuff. She shows me the lost and found. I leave with a red umbrella.
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