Back in the day, the same four of us (Jon, Ian, Darren, and I) would meet up at Montreals legendary Copacabana to watch whatever game was on. Authentic Elfrid Payton Jersey . We were regulars at the bar, a kind dive where you could just drop in and know someone familiar would be around to have a beer with. The kind of place where the adult beverage of choice was quickly placed in front of you upon your arrival. We were there to watch games, but it was more than that. We were a bunch of writers, at different points in our careers and lives, getting away from our lives. It was group therapy. With beer. There were few better nights in those years than a good Habs game at Copa. Friends would come in and out, for a period or two, for a drink or four. Partners would join us, or not. Between periods wed chide each other the way friends do, bemoan each others losses, celebrate each others victories. We played a game within the game called JägerMuller. If Habs assistant coach Kirk Muller appeared on screen (not including wide angle or crowd shots) the last person to yell JägerMuller had to buy a round of Jägermeister for the group. This often led to empty wallets and foggy third periods, but JägerMuller was ours and it made a contextual experience all that more unique, all that more memorable. As time passed, the opportunity to watch sports as a group got more and more challenging. Copa closed. People had kids, moved away, traveled for work, or had partners who wouldnt permit them to indulge in Tuesday night binge drinking. But we live in the high speed digital age, an age ruled by social media and easy communication. The four of us opened up a Facebook thread that was for any sort of conversation: dating woes, the challenges of child rearing, the merits of wasabi peas, politics, the importance of Tums to men in their 30s, the overwhelming fear of ones own mortality, the petulance of poets, why soccer sucks. We tried Skype and Google Hangouts, but as aging writers we found we preferred the anonymity of messaging, the quiet comfort of watching the game both alone and in the company of those we love. But for the most part the thread is for watching hockey games together from afar, often still with our favourite adult beverage in hand, though the days of JägerMuller are over. That games virtues, like nachos, dont transfer well through the digital ether. The Facebook threads message count is somewhere in the mid-40 thousand range as of this writing, and growing each day. An exponential explosion is expected during the playoffs, though Jon (a Jets fan) and Ian (a Leafs apologist) will be forced to cheer for their second favourite teams. The virtual bar that the digital age has provided us pales in comparison to their company, but it has allowed us to stay close, to continue to care about each other the way we did when were separated by city blocks and not oceans and responsibilities. But the bar that we left just a few years ago is not the same bar where sports are enjoyed today. Its a lesser venue. Consider the bar argument. No longer can hours be spent fighting over what year Gretzky scored 50 goals in 39 games, what round Luc Robitaille was drafted in, the rate at which Randy Carlyles hairline has been receding. Answers are too quickly found on our phones, and the shortened distance of knowledge does not promote an expanse of conversation. Plus, the bars too busy tweeting cleverness in 140 characters, or arguing with some 12-year-old in Abbostford over whos the better d-man, Subban or Weber. Or instagramming retro-filtered photos of our cocktails. Or adding the waitress as a friend on Facebook. Theres a grand irony in the fact that the same advents that have made watching sports a more communal experience with those who cant be in our presence has had the opposite effect on those in our presence. On the off nights where my friends cant meet up in the digital bar, and I dont have the wherewithal or funds to hit the real bar I, like most, watch games with Twitter open. But instead of finding a substitute for those who cant be with me, Im overwhelmed by the faux-expertise and bravado that ends up in my feed. Just because you have a blog and 45 Twitter followers doesnt exactly make you Bob McKenzie. I appreciate fandom and respect the free speech virtues of the medium, but holy hell @HabsFan4lyfe69 if you cant spell Michel Therrien, you really shouldnt be offered the privilege of publicly questioning the size of his manhood. The amount of valuable discourse is too often overshadowed by the sycophantic, or vile, or uninformed. Just look at what happens when Joel Ward scores in overtime or Jason Collins steps on the court the first time. The degenerate xenophobes bear their virtual white sheets in the comfortable anonymity or ignorant ignominy of cyberspace. There are no bouncers online, no bartenders with the ability to cut off the flow of alcohol. But sports are the last collective viewing experience, with the possible exception of the Oscars. With the advent of PVRs and streaming video you can watch Scandal whenever you please, but the sport still requires a live audience. No one wants to watch the game later. Even if youre stuck at work, on a plane, or at your boyfriends sisters third intervention, you can tune in, not miss a shot, a goal, a fight, or a one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that only sport can provide. In 2010 when the Habs made their magical run to the Conference Finals, one of us couldnt make it to Copa to watch the game. Jon was stuck in a hotel room in Vancouver, watching it on his own. There was no thread then. We didnt all own smartphones. No one said "blogoshpere". The Jets were still the Thrashers. Maybe two of us were on Twitter. So as the bar counted down the minutes of Game 7 of an improbable 5-2 Habs win and an improbable series upset over the heavily-favoured Penguins, I called Jon and placed my flip phone open in the middle of our table. He listened as we sung "Olé, Olé, Olé", as we cheered and piled into the streets, as we mocked Sidney Crosby. Strangers would come pick up the phone and speak to him in English and French about the game, about the city, and about the Habs and dreams of 1993. That night was a microcosm of how we watch the games now, the birth of how fandom and friendship defies distance in a digital age. It was a living analogy of how in four short years the experience of watching sports would change. Not all for the better, of course. But Ill put up with a few egotistical bloggers, the occasional Twitter tantrum, and the death of the bar argument if it means I can watch sports the way I want, from wherever I am, with the people I love. With beer. Cheap Nike Pelicans Jerseys . Giants manager Bruce Bochy told The Associated Press of the decision before NL West-leading San Francisco opened a 10-game homestand Monday night with the first of three games against second-place Arizona. Wholesale Pelicans Jerseys . The 22-year-old Kreider was injured Friday night in New Yorks win at Columbus, but played in the next two games -- including Monday nights win over Phoenix. But the left winger, who has 17 goals and 37 points this season, was limited to about 10 minutes of ice time in each of the previous games. http://www.cheappelicansjerseysauthentic.com/ . Jeff Green and Jordan Crawford each scored 19 points, Bass added 15 points and had a game-saving block in the closing seconds Saturday, and the Celtics held on for a 103-100 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.We won! Over two weeks on the road, two tournaments, 12 games of sevens, two different countries and finally we are heading home, but this time as winners! It has certainly been a while... we havent won a sevens tournament since Houston 2013. That probably sounds like a long time. Thats because it is.You forget about what making a final actually means. Once you have got over the heart palpitations of having to play a 20-minute final (six minutes longer than normal, which dont be fooled, is a long time), you also realise that you will get to walk out and sing your national anthem. Thats something easily taken for granted in the 15s format but a real sense of achievement and a very special moment at the end of a tournament.We knew we were onto something after Atlanta; the results, yes, but more importantly the performances and the way we were now playing the game.If you had watched us on day one in Langford, you would be forgiven for thinking Atlanta was somewhat of a fluke.Safe to say, some decent results but actually not necessarily performances we were proud of. As I said last time, sevens is a funny old game and thankfully for us, our day two performances turned out to be unbeatable. England dominated in the second half to conquer champions New Zealand 31-14 after trailing 14-7 Everyone always tries to look for patterns in good performances; how the warm-up was, were people quiet or loud, what songs were being played, what was the mood etc.If you carry on in the same vein, our key to success this tournament was all down to James Bay and coffee. Trekking our coffee machine halfway around the worl, only to find out that the voltage difference meant it wouldnt work, was as bad news to some of the girls as losing their boots would have been.After struggling with little or no coffee on day one because the tournament coffee was lukewarm and instant, day two was like Christmas when our performance manager and strength and conditioning coach wandered off to the local coffee shop. Discount Pelicans Jerseys. As a non-coffee drinker, the transformation was quite shocking... it was like giving oxygen to a dying flame, or heat to snow, or too much sugar to a child. We had turned from a slightly irritable dont talk to me unless you have to team into one full of life and exuberance.I am, obviously, exaggerating slightly but if thats what it takes, lets hope Rio does good coffee!The final was one hell of a game of sevens. I can happily admit that now, safe in the knowledge of the result and having recovered from what felt like my heart trying to escape my chest. Time for some team bonding after Englands Sevens triumph The first half was one of try-scoring ping pong. Theyd score then we would then they would etc... the one thing you want to do in a final is try to avoid looking at the big screen, as the clock is never going to be your friend.I made this mistake - the screen read seven minutes to go. Seven minutes to go when you are already exhausted is not what you want to see. That is the length of a normal half and I already felt like the treacle had taken hold of my legs.There comes a point in most games where you know that youve done it. Either there isnt enough time left or the score is too big; or in this game, a combination of the two.Kicking the ball off the field once the hooter had blown was such a relief... a relief for my body that is. It was also a relief that we had actually just proven what were capable of. We have now just made our lives a whole lot more difficult... backing it up.This was a long trip. Not in a bad way but two intense tournaments in as many weeks is a tough task mentally and physically. However, the most important thing is, we headed back to London carrying silverware and one happy team. 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