Who Wants My Patronage?

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

I realised something this weekend. I’m a bit of an outsider. As a ginger you’d think this revelation wasn’t something new to me, but I found (another) reason why I’m often “mistakenly” left off invitations. You see, I enjoy sport that most of my peers do not. Well, maybe not my peers, but certainly other men who enjoy having a pint in the pub while watching sport.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a pub that screens marathons or cycling events? Rugby and football are well catered for as is cricket and motor sport, but if you want to watch the Tour De France on a weekend when dozens of other sporting fixtures are taking place, you’ll need to find a pub with no patrons where you get to be in charge of the TV remote.

Spare a thought for tennis fans who can’t watch Wimbledon down at the local. To be fair all the grunting in tennis is off-putting and I don’t blame pub owners and restaurateurs for restricting viewing. Is it not possible for professional tennis players to return service without sounding like they are passing an asteroid-sized kidney stone? Is the grunting really necessary?

I fully understand why pubs choose to screen certain sports though. You’ll seldom get large groups of people yelling at the TV every time Ernie Els misses a put or when anglers in bass fishing tournaments weigh in with a large fish. Let’s be honest, some sports lend themselves to high-fiving among fans while others leave viewers bewildered. Nobody makes, “Whoop! Whoop!” noises while watching snooker. If memory serves me, no fight has ever broken out in a pub after patrons have disagreed over a judge’s scoring in synchronised swimming. Sadly, such interactions are for those who don’t mind shelling out for satellite TV and being exposed to endless repeats.

I do find it odd that motor sports and cage fighting are screened. Should we be inspiring people who’ve had a bit of a tipple to drive faster on the way home or try put other punters in a headlock? At least when pubs screen golf, the worst that happens is viewers go home with a skewed sense of what clothes are fashionable. Nobody gets hurt when drunken old guys are inspired to wear chequered slacks. Well, nobody except a partner who has to be seen with him in public.

I’ve found a way to tackle this problem. We live in a democratic society and one of the hallmarks of such a system is fairness and openness. That’s why I’m going to put my pub patronage out to tender. If your establishment screens events that I can’t see at every other restaurant, fast food outlet, coffee shop or bar; I’ll give you my hard-earned cash* in exchange for a few beers, a meal and wider sport coverage. I can’t promise to bring friends but then again, I mentioned that I’m a ginger so that was never really an option.

  • “Hard-earned” may be an exaggeration, but then again, no tender process is perfect.
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