A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend my first couple of sporting events since I started my alcohol free journey. I had never noticed this, but sporting events are actually really tough if you like alcohol and are trying to abstain. Alcohol is actually very much IN YOUR FACE at sporting events.
Alcohol companies seem to be big sponsors of sporting events. If you pay attention, there are ads EVERYWHERE. The first sporting event I attended while trying to abstain from alcohol was a Miami Marlins game. I honestly thought this would not really be an event where I would crave alcohol much but to my surprise (and Peter’s because he also had been alcohol free for some time) it was. I don’t know if it’s habit or the fact that the MLB can be slow and boring (I love baseball, however, even the biggest baseball fans can agree to this!) but I would have absolutely loved a beer!
It’s also just everywhere! To be totally honest, I got the idea for this blog post after the fact so I did not take photos but next time you go to a sporting event, take note. If alcohol companies weren’t sponsoring the actual venue, they were sponsoring upcoming events. They were even advertising an upcoming wine and dine event in the stadium soon. Maybe it’s because I felt deprived, but it felt in my face.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this. Alcohol companies have the right sponsor these events and the venue as well and the Marlins organization has the right to accept their sponsorships. Everyone needs to make money. I’ll tell you where the problem is- it’s in the lack of non-alcoholic options that are not soda. I do not drink soda. One day 12 year old me decided that soda was bad for me and I just stopped drinking it. It wasn’t quite the journey that deciding alcohol does not serve me has been. It was actually quite easy. I know soda can be addictive but it’s not on the level alcohol is as far as addictive substances go. I never crave it and the only time I even consider drinking it is MAYBE at the movies with popcorn… and that’s a big MAYBE. I have not had it in years honestly. At this point I find it too sweet and most definitely not worth the calories.
Usually, if I am in a setting where I would drink alcohol, a sparkling water or club soda with lime is enough to satisfy a craving to a certain extent. Sometimes you just want something fun to sip on that is not water. I approached the bar at the Marlins game and ordered a tonic with lime. The bartender looked confused but ultimately served it for me and told me he would just give it to me because he did not have a way to charge me for it. I gave him a nice tip and we were done.
This was all I needed to stop thinking about how much I would love to have a beer. Something so simple. It did leave me perplexed though. Why didn’t they have more fun non-alcoholic options? Why is this so unwanted that the bar tender could not even charge me for it? I got my tonic and lime because he was nice enough to serve it and not charge but the reality is, it was not on the menu. Why don’t they have a few more fun alcohol free options? I am not even asking for an elaborate mock tail menu but some Perrier or La Croix would be great! I left thinking this was specific to Loan Depot Park and that I’d have better luck at my next sporting event. Less than a week later, I found myself at Formula 1 Miami asking the same questions.
One of the big sponsors of the Miami Grand Prix is Heneiken. This actually gave me hope because they make their non-alcoholic Heneiken 0.0! In fact, they even had various ADs for it at the event!
Common sense tells you- of course they are selling it here! Why wouldn’t they? They are a huge sponsor and it’s a great opportunity to showcase their products. Sadly, it actually could not be found anywhere. We approached several vendors asking where it may be sold and were told that it was not being sold. What’s more surprising is that pretty much every vendor we asked about it admitted that many patrons were asking for it! There is a demand for fun alcohol free beverages at these events!
Meanwhile, as with Marlins game, the alcohol was IN YOUR FACE. There was alcohol everywhere you looked. If it was not a speciality cocktail stand there was a bar at the next turn. Heneiken beer, with alcohol,could be bought just walking. There were vendors with boxes full of it on every corner.
I will give them that they did have Red Bull as well as cold brew coffee. While this gave me something to sip on, a Red Bull and a coffee later, I didn’t need more caffeine! I wanted a sparkling water, club soda or tonic water with lime.
I approached a bar and ordered a club soda with lime. I could see the club soda yet the response I got was if I wanted a non-alcoholic beverage to visit the pink tent over. When I walked over, all they had was sodas. I came back and told her that they did not have anything other than soda and she basically told me she COULD NOT sell me anything that did not have alcohol in it. The club soda was right there. All she had to do was serve ice and pour it. My friends, after 68 days alcohol free, that was the moment I broke.
If you’ve never been a big drinker this may seem hard to understand. See, for my whole adult life with the exception of when I was pregnant, I would be at an event like this sipping on something. This is a journey and while I know alcohol does not serve me, the journey is not easy. For many of us, alcohol is a slippery slope. I have a hard time stopping at 1 or 2 drinks. It’s hard to put out there because I know the person who can stop at 1 or 2 drinks will read this and judge me. It is my hard truth though and I am putting this out there because I think this is an important message.
I am in no way suggesting that alcohol not be at these events or not be advertised at these events. In fact, even though I am not drinking, if I have a party or people at the house, I offer them alcohol. Also, don’t be shocked to see me in Islamorada Beer Company swag! Something in our culture needs to change though. WHY is it so in our face? Why wasn’t there any Heneiken 0.0? They are a sponsor after all. Why couldn’t she just serve me the club soda with lime? Why are we trying so hard to get people to drink? I know the answer is money but we need to get our priorities in check. Again, I am not saying not to have it, but have the alcohol free options too!
If you are curious what happened, I did get 1 drink that day. I enjoyed it and I did stop at the one drink. This gave me the confidence to have some wine with dinner the next night and that was fine too. Sunday was Mother’s Day. I had more than a few and while I did not get wasted or black out or anything like that, it was enough to remind me why I had stopped drinking in the first place. That Sunday night, I became overly emotional about things that were bothering me. Monday I did not make it to my workout which is something that is so important to me. I had a headache, brain fog, and exhaustion. I also experienced the waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep. If you know, you know. This is something I had not experienced in 68 days and something I do not miss. This was no way to start a new week and I regretted my decision to drink.
Maybe this had to happen to me to remind me that alcohol no longer has a place in my life. I’m a working mom with a really busy schedule, goals, and I prioritize working out almost daily. I don’t have time for self induced brain fog, exhaustion and feeling ill. The situation also lit a fire in me around the subject. I am one person so I cannot change this on my own, but the least I can do is share my experience so hopefully with enough awareness, we can start to see some change! Yes, have alcohol at sporting events, but let’s also have some fun non-alcoholic options!
Thanks for visiting!