For years, a beer-and-wine-drinking contingency of Boise State Broncos fans has dreamed of alcohol sales at football games.
More universities are turning to tap handles and corkscrews as another revenue stream. This season, the cash-infused Texas Longhorns will become the latest high-profile school to sell beer at games.
Until last weekend, I was all for it. If you’re going to allow fans to knock back tall boys in the parking lot, why limit alcohol sales during BSU games to the Stueckle Sky Center, where the Kardashians wannabes of Boise get to sip gin and tonics?
Selling beer would help prevent aggressive tailgaters from overconsuming in a last-minute slam-athon before floating through the gates. It also might discourage Grandpa from sneaking in the hard stuff.
But after standing in line July 18 at the Basque Soccer Friendly, I’m rethinking my position.
If this is what beer sales are going to taste like at Albertsons Stadium, give me a root beer instead.
It was the slowest concessions line I’ve ever experienced. It took me 45 minutes to buy a beer — and the line wasn’t that long. After I shared my woes on Twitter midway through this endurance contest, the responses were damning: “This is what happens when you serve beer at Albertsons Stadium,” tweeted back one guy. “With at least 10K less people than the usual,” observed another. “Really, really bad,” griped one more.
Still, there was no quitting. For any of us fools. We’d already sacrificed seeing a significant portion of the exhibition soccer game. Personally, I had to know how much time remained in this 40-foot quest for a large, $8 cup of IPA.
I ducked out to answer nature’s call while my wife held our spot. (Yeah, baby. No line! The restroom was nearly empty.) She hadn’t budged when I returned. Were these kegs pouring molasses? Frustrated fans behind us hollered at the hapless concessions staff to adapt its workflow. Um, yes, it did seem obvious to delegate more than one sweating, overworked sap to pull tap handles for two windows. Eventually, another worker jumped in to help. The two lines’ speed surged from essentially immobile to sporadically sloth-like.
When we finally inched to the front, I turned around casually and yelled “Last call!” at the mass of parched, irritable folks behind me.
Geez, come on, grouches. I thought it was funny.
Imagine how unhappy we all would have been if we’d missed, say, the entire first quarter of an actual BSU football game. (“Hey, honey, how about if I go find our seats while you stay here in line and buy me a beer? Cheers!”)
Selling brewskis isn’t rocket science. It seems like a no-brainer to allow it at Bronco games, where the fan base isn’t particularly wild or irresponsible. In the larger realm of college sports, Boiseans are as tame as kittens. Designate a few alcohol-free sections for teetotalers.
But when Boise State does relinquish and offer in-stadium beer sales at football games, I have a suggestion. Let’s hire a couple of University of Idaho engineering professors to oversee this apparently complex, challenging endeavor.
Those “nasty, inebriated” Vandals do know their drink.
• Summer is always jam-packed, but the weekend of Aug. 14-16 is a calendar crusher. Three outstanding regional events happen simultaneously. Gotta pick just one.
Want to stay in Boise? Pedal down to Tour de Fat, the free bike and beer festival Aug. 15 at Ann Morrison Park. One of the bands will be indie-soul darlings Lake Street Dive, powered by singer Rachael Price’s jaw-dropping, Amy Winehouse-reminiscent pipes. I’d love to see this group.
Feel like partying in Idaho’s mountains? It will be tough to top the scenery and sound at The Huckleberry Jam (with Ben Harper, Brett Dennen, more) Aug. 14 and 15 at Tamarack Resort.
And who doesn’t want to see a seated Dave Grohl headbang with his leg in a cast? Join Foo Fighters (plus Mumford & Sons, more) Aug. 14 and 15 at the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover in Walla Walla, Wash.
• “The Book of Mormon” is in the midst of a sold-out run at the Morrison Center. You’ll find two reviews of the Tony Award-winning musical in today’s main section of the Idaho Statesman.
My take? It’s often a funny show, but you might not feel good afterward. Read more of my thoughts on my blog or read my column Sunday in Explore.
Michael Deeds’ entertainment column appears Fridays in Scene and alternating Sundays in Explore. He co-hosts music show “The Other Studio” at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.