Football season is upon us. There’s nothing quite like the camaraderie of being surrounded by a group of people clad in matching jerseys — cheering and whining in unison.
Picture it: everyone is complaining about your team’s coaching staff. Or yelling stuff like, “You can’t miss those!” Or screaming as a football bounces off of a field goal post.
And who could resist the snack? Eating way too much buffalo chicken dip is an integral part of football season. Nothing is better.
But what if you’re a transplant? What if you find yourself away from your black and yellow brethren or your fellow cheeseheads?
Football season can feel a little sad if you’re away from home. What’s more, you might not even be able to watch your team if you’re in a different market. What a rip off.
Maybe you could get NFL Sunday Ticket? Because you’re a billionaire and you can afford $600 a year. Oh. Wait.
What are you supposed to do? Not watch your team?
You’re already homesick. This is sad. Wait. there might be a solution to watch all of these out of market football games.
Enter: the Sports Bar
The smell of fried food. Wing sauce and wet naps. Celery Sticks. A dozen TVs all playing football games.
And – gasp! There’s your team! Where is this magical place? Why, it’s one of the seven sports bars near Ellsworth that offers military discounts!
Let’s move the ball down the field and find your new favorite haunt to cheer on the next Super Bowl champion — that would be your team, right?
This upscale eatery on the westside of Rapid City offers some of the best steaks and burgers in town. The Sidewinder–a burger with cream cheese and jalapenos is particularly delicious. Plop down at a table or the bar with your buds and enjoy a nice lunch or dinner. TVs-a-plenty will sure to be playing your team’s game.
Located in the Hotel Alex Johnson, this bar and restaurant serves up both classic American food done right and classic Irish pub fare. Enjoy the local pub feel and order yourself a Irish Pile ‘o Nachos. If you’re into beer, the rotating tap will always offer you some new brew to enjoy.
They’ll be calling you “Sauce Gardner” after you chow down on a plate of these smoky, sweet and spicy wings. Homemade blue cheese dipping sauce brings these unique wing sauces to the next level.
Score a touchdown with this local favorite. Classic bar food awaits you at this westside bar and sports lounge. Kelly’s is a great place to gather with old friends and to make new ones.
You could throw the ball. Or you could run it — and yourself — to this outstanding bar and grill. Think of elevated bar food when you think of Murphy’s. Also think of a classic neighborhood hangout.
This Rapid City establishment has been around since 1933 and has seen a handful of renovations and transformations. The most recent metamorphosis created a true gem of a gathering place for all of Rapid City. Also, the salmon BLT sliders are to die for.
Free chips and salsa! That’s great news! Chili’s has a down-home, casual feel. It’s really a great place to relax and spend some quality time with your friends and watch your team blaze a trail to the Super Bowl.
Kick the extra point and kick up the flavor with 16 sauces and five dry rubs. The wide selection of snacks, meals and drinks are sure to be the perfect accompaniment to your team’s inevitable victory.
Final Thoughts on Finding New Team Members
Being away from home can be hard at times. And not being able to watch your home team can definitely rub some wing sauce into that wound. Thankfully, your community has quite a few places to gather to watch these out of market football games.
So, grab the NFL schedule, grab some friends and check out one of these places to enjoy a game and some delicious chow with a military discount. You may even find some new friends in matching jerseys there. A quarter lasts 15 minutes, but football friends last forever.
Bonus Final Thoughts
Another way to use football as a way to stay connected is to either join or start a fantasy football league with your compatriots back home. You could even mix old friends and new friends in your league.
So, think of your best punny team name and get ready to be outraged at your buddy back home for refusing to trade that tight end with you. Sometimes it’s easy to lose touch with friends. Fantasy football is an ever-present excuse to text with your friends.
The trash talk can be legendary. The victory can be sweet. The defeat can sting. But the real joy of football — fantasy or otherwise — is the connections.
It’s the friends by our side cheering on the same team — or the friend who is wearing the hideous colors of the opposing team. Even those people are friends. And that’s what counts.