I have never liked watching sports. It didn’t really matter if it was TV or live. I think the main reason was the sports that were available to me when I grew up were never really exciting. Soccer and handballl (European), and icehockey on TV, that was it. A few days ago my nephew posted a list of AIK’s (his favorite sports club) titles. It’s an impressive list, no doubt about that. But if you also ad the fights and disruptive behavior during games the AIK supporter club Black Army are responsible the title list is not very impressive. AIK is not the only sports club that have an extensive merit list in that field. For some reason this seem to be a European problem. And this is a big reason why I never liked sports. Sports can never be so serious that it causes deliberate harm to anyone. Since I moved to Durham I have learned that there is another world of sports that is fun and competitive with respect for the opponent. Football (American Football) is something I have always enjoyed, even before I moved to Durham. Here I can watch football games all fall and winter. The closest NFL team is Carolina Panthers about two hours drive from here. In the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill area there are plenty of college teams. I go to as many Duke games as I can.
The sport above all sports in Durham is baseball. I never really liked baseball before I was at my first live Durham Bulls home game. It was just magic! It was not at all as slow as I thought. Baseball is much more than a game. It’s an experience. A Bull’s game is a community event for the whole family. Beside the game there are many other activities, play grounds, competitions between the innings, picnic areas for the family and much more. It’s just a fun time and that is what I like about going to a Bulls game, it’s so much more than baseball.
A few things about Durham Bulls. The Bulls play in the Minor League which is right below the Major League. The Minors League is divided in to several divisions where Durham Bulls is playing the the highest division, Triple A. Bulls became the National Triple A champions in 2009. In baseball they play a game almost every day from mid March to mid September. The Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the Durham Bulls, can seat about 10,000 people and it’s almost filled every game. Durham Bulls is affiliated with the Major League team Tampa Bay Rays. The Bulls have been part of Durham history since 1902 when they plaied their first game under the name Tobacconists. A ball field was built in Durham 1924 and got the name El Toro Park that later changed to Durham Athletic Park (DAP). DAP was the Bulls home till September 1994 and they plaid their first game at the newly built Durham Bulls Athletic Park 1995. The movie Bull Durham from 1988 with Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon made the Durham Bulls a team known over the whole world.
So how does beer come in to the picture. Just like with any community building event in Durham craft beer is there. At a Bulls game beer and wine is served. They actually serve beer at any sports event in USA except college sports. At the seasons first Bulls game I attended last Friday I was happy to see that they had more beers from craft breweries than
last year. Foothills Brewing is one of North Carolina’s best breweries. They have served their great beers now for a few years at the ballpark. My favorite is their People Porter. The beer has a taste of the traditional London porter with the American touch. Many of the beers from Foothills are not out on the edge but they are still keeping their beers interesting. New at the ballpark this year was Carolina Brewery and Sweetwater Brewing Company. Carolina Brewery is a brewpub and brewery from Chapel Hill, the neighboring town to Durham. Sweetwater is a new brewery from Atlanta, Georgia that brew some really good beers. Also new at the ball park this year is the access to Tobacco Road Sports Cafe. They resently opend door to door with the ball park and you can access the bar from the ball park. They have even more great beers from craft breweries.
I had the opportunity to go to another Bulls game Monday this week. The Bulls was back for one game at their home filed for 70 years, Durham Athletic Park for the first time since they left in 1994. This was a night of nostalgia for many and I’m happy that I had the chance to see the game. At an important event like this craft beer have a natural part. In this case it was Foothills Brewing that had some of their great beers there. Would it even be possible to serve beer at a AIK-Hammarby game (two Stockholm soccer and hockey clubs)? Probably not without massive police support and maybe even international military support from UN. Martial law would probably have to be declared a few weeks before and after the game.