Are there medical benefits to drinking before a bar game?
Doctor and author Patrick Neustatter, who (full disclosure) admitted to being "quite a bit better at darts after half a pint," conceded there are some physiological and psychological benefits to drinking before playing bar games.
"There are a lot of things happening to your body when you consume alcohol. It relaxes the muscles, and it can definitely deliver what you would call 'liquid courage,' or 'Dutch courage,' -- there have been archers who have been known to drink to calm their nerves before competitions, or reduce tremors, which kind of goes along the same idea. I have also heard of famous pool players using alcohol to reduce tremors, and relax muscles. It's mainly a combination of relaxing the muscles, and relaxing you. 'Choking' is something that alcohol may help you avoid in a big moment of pressure -- alcohol tends to reverse that tendency because it puts you at ease, in the moment."
In his personal and professional experience, the doctor admits that alcohol can aid performance in these types of games because they are sedentary. Athletes in highly physical sports -- like basketball or football -- could be harmed by consuming alcohol before a game because of its dehydrating and disorientating effects on the body. And, harking back to Stacia's "happy place," there is definitely a line where too much alcohol can murder your poise.
"For games like this, there is probably a limit, maybe around .02% BAL, where the legal intoxication line here is .08. So, it's just a slight intoxication where these benefits would come into play, without any of the harmful effects like confusion, loss of balance, and things like that. The amount of alcohol in your system is crucial.
"For me, playing darts in a pub, after half a pint I was at my best, and it was always downhill after that."