The Bacon, Sports, & Beer Celebration rocked Chicago like nothing the city has seen, and like Rube Baker you better not stand on the tracks when the Bacon Sports train is coming through, hay-seed. If you were in Chicago and missed this, Well Brother, it was better than Hulk Hogan waving his American Flag at WrestleMania. Amid all the amazing things like awesome Chicago area food vendors, bacon, sports, a DJ bumping jams even Hammer couldn’t touch, and more craft beers than you could imagine; there was an abundance of pop-a-shot. Oh shit.
Pop-A-Shot is rowdier than the drop kick from Shawn Michaels that sent Marty Jannetty through the Barbershop window. If you are a junkie like me, odds are you have logged more hours playing pop-a-shot and other outstanding recreational/bar games than Brent Musburger spent gawking over Katherine Webb. Anyways, I want to take a look at the best sports arcade games that ruled my childhood and still dominate like Rod Belding does with co-eds on campus.
I was first introduced to this American Classic at bar called Harpo’s in Cleveland as I tagged along with my dad and his friends to watch a boxing fight. Love at first sight. What is better than repeatedly shooting buckets at a basket racing against competition?
As I have honed my craft over many years, beers, and sports, I have come to find that best strategy (for me) is to be a volume shooter like Dell Curry or Travis Henry/Shawn Kemp with the theory the more shots, the more you score. Whether it is a stationary hoop or moving backboard, this game brings the camaraderie and Jordan vs. Bird like competition that sports is all about. If you were not heated or sweating after multiple rounds, you simply were not doing it right.
Who didn’t think they were the next Joe Montana or QB Eagles? When playing this game you had to toss footballs through a small hole to score the points. You know damn well you thought you could make it rain like Johnny Football and then got a dose of reality when your throws ricocheted off everything in sight. No doubt you wanted to out duel your best friends, siblings, and even your dad to prove to him you could be the next quarterback of the Cleveland Browns – by the way they are still searching for one. Whether at a bar, a fan convention, or your friend’s rec room, you know you still step up to the line with more confidence than Mr. Perfect.
Arcade Dome Hockey:
Nothing was better than the puck dropping for the faceoff from the scoreboard inside the top of the bubbled dome. More heated battles between relatives, friends, and adversaries would ensue as you jostled with the rods to move your players into better position than Brett Hull to score.
Growing up with a hockey crazed family, long rounds of games, yelling, and Kevin Garnett trash talking were common place at family gatherings. The only thing missing was shirt over-the-head Tie Domi beat downs. Whether you played at family gatherings, at the ESPN zone in New York, or Humphrey’s in St. Louis, this was a game you loved to play and helped create many great memories and family bonding time.
Now days finding skee ball is rarer than Mark May and Lou Holtz agreeing with each other. When growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s this was a common game whether at a bar, arcade palace, or a friend’s basement. Strategy played a huge role in this as you either tried for consistency in numbers around the middle or were more aggressive like Jameis Winston (allegedly) and went for the glory in the top corners. It was all about pride and side bets with friends and of course high scores. Cherry on the top was getting tickets for prizes with good enough scores at the arcade. If you ever go to the Arcade in Dayton Beach, Florida, you will chow down on corn dogs, drink 32 ounce draft beers, and see my jersey in the rafters above the skee ball machines honoring my Michael Jordan-esque 3am performance.
These are some of my favorite recreational games from my youth. The best part about them was not only the competition and battles they involved, but the memories you made when playing with friends and family. Bacon Sports family, we want to know what were your favorite games, why, and what you think when you remember them? Holla at me on Twitter @THamm09 or in the comments!