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In Forsyth sports bars, fans share wings, beer and dislike of the Patriots

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FORSYTH — Delicious wings, good beer and football running at you from multiple televisions had more than enough charms Sunday to soothe the savage cold and persuade sports fans to venture out from the comforts of their living room end zones.

As the mercury touched down to 13 degrees by 5 p.m., sports bars like Buffalo Wild Wings in Forsyth were heating up. Cheering fans packed themselves in to watch more than 40 TVs as the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints settled the NFC Championship — the Rams picking up the ticket to the Super Bowl.

Dave Harjung, who lives in Forsyth, was soaking up the atmosphere with his good friend Craig Willis and contrasted watching the game at Buffalo Wild Wings with sitting alone in a distaff-dominated home.

“My son is off to college and I’ve got girls and my wife and they could care less,” said the 52-year-old, nodding toward the action flickering across a muted sea of screens. “So I would be sat there on the couch watching it by myself.”

Harjung wasn’t particularly bothered who won the Rams-Saints final but he did have a view on the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs: “I just hate the Patriots,” he explained, sharing a view that flowed freely among the beer and wings.

Hannah Henry from Decatur was keeping one eye on the TVs while waiting for her husband, Leon, to join her. She said he’s a big Chicago Bears fan and had already endured the agony of watching them fall in pursuit of glory. “And I don’t think he cares for the Patriots,” added his 35-year-old wife.

She said whoever wins and whatever is being played, it’s worth leaving home on a frigid day just to sit among cheering, groaning and good-natured company to watch some sports and relax.

“I just like all that energy,” she added.

There was plenty of energy across the way at the The Draft Sports Bar & Grill on the Hickory Point Frontage Road. Just don’t mention the Patriots, however, if you didn’t want to deflate the party atmosphere. “No, not really, no one likes the Patriots,” said bartender Donnie Logan. “They’ve got a history of cheating.”

Having got that out of the way, the bar was full of people laughing, cheering, raising a glass and discussing the finer points of the game and the determination of fans to come out and watch it. Tim Fyke of Forsyth was sharing a table with his wife, Aimee, and their fellow husband and wife friends Gene and Janet Vincent, from Long Creek.

“I make a point of going out,” said Tim Fyke, who said not even the predicted weekend snow storm (which failed to touchdown) would have put him off venturing forth to see the big games in convivial company. “And going out in stuff like snow is how you know you are alive,” he added.

Speaking of alive — the Patriots live to play another day, beating the Chiefs in overtime. Super Bowl 53 will be Feb. 3 in Atlanta.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid

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