The Sports Juicette and I are currently enjoying a week of sun and relaxation in San Diego. With rumours of snow in Calgary yesterday, we are quite happy to be worrying about sunburns instead of frost killing our plants.
We are staying in Pacific Beach, which is north of downtown San Diego and just south of La Jolla (home of the Torrey Pines golf course). Our side street is littered with VW vans, old trucks, SUVs and even the occasional BMW, all containing surfers of various ages and pedigrees. At any given point in time, there are 50-70 people out in the ocean trying their hand against the waves. Pacific Beach is rumoured to be ‘just ok’ in terms of surf, but the ease of access makes it an immensely popular destination. The surf must be ok as there was a surf competition going on this morning down by the pier.
The rest of Pacific Beach is kind of what you might guess given the surfing focus. There are lots of dive hotels and dive bars, with a bit of surf related shopping to be found. If you are between age 20 and 40, you like beer and sports, then Pacific Beach is for you.
We have come to San Diego at an exciting time. The Padres are in the pennant chase for the first time in a few years, and NFL football has started again. The Chargers will play their home opener this Sunday against Jacksonville. While the Chargers are proving to be a January disappointment each year, they are always among the best teams in the AFC.
I was somewhat surprised to read Thursday night that the Chargers game will be blacked out in the San Diego area this Sunday. If the game is not almost sold out 72 hours before kickoff, the game is not shown on local television. While this was and continues to be an issue for the Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders of the world, I would have never thought it would be an issue for a team that won its division and made it to the divisional round of the playoffs last year. I guess a Monday night loss against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs has brought the feeling of doom and gloom to the San Diego area a bit earlier this year. Their sellout streak was sitting at 48 games, or roughly 6 years.
The reason I say that I was ‘somewhat’ surprised at the lack of fan interest is the amount of fan interest in other teams that I am seeing in the Pacific Beach area. I am not sure if this is representative of the rest of San Diego, but each of the bars and pubs in the area proudly bear allegiance to their team and their team is not from San Diego. It is strange, strange, strange.
A few examples that I have seen thus far:
Hennesseys: Proud supporter of the Arizona Cardinals and Nebraska Cornhuskers. Hennesseys is an Irish looking Pub that proudly advertises an early bird dinner special. Perhaps they are catering to the senior population from Arizona that flocks to Pacific Beach each fall? In any event, the blue plate special seems to do a good job of ensuring the place is empty all the time. Thursday night there was a poor guitar player playing to three people across the room seated at the bar with their backs to the music.
The Australian Pub (no photo as yet): The Aussie Pub proudly has several Green Bay Packer flags flying on their roof. Perhaps the green and gold of the Pack remind the Aussies of home? I wouldn’t put it past them to keep things that simple.
The Dirty Birds: When I saw this sign, I immediately thought of the Atlanta Falcons of the 1990s. They changed their uniforms to the imposing black and red, while being led by Deion Sanders and Andre Rison. I figured this bar had to be supporting Matty Ice and his crew. Nope. They support the Baltimore Ravens. I guess the Raven is a fairly dirty bird… You can see the logo in the open window to the right of the front door.
The Bare Back Grill. This bar was opened by two guys who had gone on a trip to New Zealand and fallen in love with a burger shop somewhere down there. They begged and pleaded the owner for his recipes which includes fried eggs and beetroot on the burgers. They were successful and I am going to try one out this weekend. We were there Thursday night for a couple of pops and they are proud to split their allegiance to the Chargers, the Miami Dolphins and the University of Central Florida ‘Whatevertheyarecalleds’.
Miller’s Field: home of the San Diego area Texas Longhorns fans. This one I kind of understand. San Diego doesn’t have an awesome college football or basketball program and sports fans need to look elsewhere. Texas is a huge state and I could see there being enough people on the coast to justify the allegiance.
PB Ale House: home of the Iowa Hawkeyes. My head hurt from trying to figure this one out so we went there for lunch. The owner is rumoured to have attended college in Iowa. This got us wondering if this is the common thread down here; a bunch of guys from different places have migrated west to surf and enjoy the sun. To make ends meet they open a mediocre bar and proudly wave the flag of their old school? A couple more examples:
Moondoggies, home of The Ohio State Buckeyes (sign is behind the palm tree in middle of shot).
Pacific Beach Bar & Grill, home to the Michigan Wolverines.
I will post any other fun ones we come across during the rest of our trip.