Watching Sports in Banff

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The Elk and Oarsman – Sports Galore

Banff National Park, Alberta

Many Banff locals look forward to Sundays more than any other and its nothing to do with religion – well not really. Sunday is the day when most people who work in the tourist industry have their day off and many like to spend it catching up with their loved ones – Tony Romo, Peyton Manning et al. Though there are plenty of options around town to sit back with a pint and soak in the graceful violence that is football, the Elk and Oarsman has a particular sport friendly, screen-filled feeling that is hard to walk out on.

Now do not be overly wowed by my football knowledge and the fact that I could name 2 players – I cheated. I am new to this. On a cool but sunny Sunday afternoon, I thought it was time I really integrated into this Super Sunday thing I have heard so much about from my more informed colleagues. I have always found that it is easier to get a passion for a sport when one gambles on the results. Over the years this has lead to a whole new love for many different sports including, I’m ashamed to say – cricket. It has also wiped most of my bank accounts clean.

The bright wooden bar of the Elk and Oarsman - home to my lessons in football.

The bright wooden bar of the Elk and Oarsman - home to my lessons in football.

The Elk and Oarsman has a football pool so that every Sunday, people gather around the bar watching different matches and cursing the bear-like players as they flash up on the many assorted sized screens. There are different drink specials on offer including cheap and beautifully large jugs of Kokanee. There really is something very attractive about this bar. During summer, there is a great balcony with views of the mountain but even in winter, healthy sunlight floods the beautiful wooden bar and the even more beautiful bar girls. It has that all too rare feeling of spaciousness in a bar.

In the end I lost 70% of my football pool bets but I did figure out what a linebacker is (sort of). I got running lessons from a local named Tim who explained very patiently the rules as I watched my money crawl away to join its friends lost Cricket bet and lost Horse Jumping bets. After a few more shared jugs of Kokanee with Tim, the game made a little more sense and was certainly a lot more fun. I could really get into the football malarkey in Banff. Bring on the ice hockey!

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