BEER OLYMPIAD III
Each year, right before Christmas, a small and mutable band of merry men ditch work, forgo responsibility and celebrate the wonder of bar games. My friends and I take a Friday off from work and start the day—usually a little worse for wear—at 99 Miles to Philly. Sometime around noon (12:30, who are we kidding?), we indulge on cheesesteaks, steel our nerves and start the day which consists of any variety of bar games. The standards are bowling, pool, photo hunt (erotic, of course), Big Buck Hunter, darts, and a half-time event of a yard race. We split into teams of two and commence. The scoring is kept simple: first place gets five points, second gets fourth etc.—depending on the number of teams.
This year, the third installment of these most sacred of games, we had only three teams. However, over the years, we have seen many participants come and go. There are a few regulars and a few stand-ins, who save the day when a partner must bail for any variety of reasons.
This year, six slackletes were confirmed for the opening ceremonies: Adi, Mike, Rade, Bee, my brother Will, and me. We had a few possible late-comers, which can throw quite a wrench in the works, but who can also save the day when a drunken slacklete is suffering.
Again, the day starts at 99 Miles, where cheesesteaks are consumed to steady the stomach for the first $18 pitchers of Budweiser at Bowlmor lanes. Unfortunately, Bowlmor is too conveniently proximal to 99 Miles not to patronize, because it is get-you-over-a-barrel expensive. Nonetheless, we persisted. Teams were drawn out of a hat—Rade and Mike, Bee and Adi, and my brother and me. Somewhere in our third frame, a group of no less than 372 nine-year-olds appeared and started screaming, removing bowling balls from the return racks, and generally needing smacking. We ordered another gold leaf Bud pitcher and rolled on. Will and I came in second thanks to Will’s 10th frame heroics and Adi’s tendency to choke in this event*.
After Bowlmor, we made an executive decision. The Bar Games Olympics Gaming Committee (BGOGC) decided to rule against pool in the second round, voting in a new event, long board shufflepuck. So, we headed over to Plug Uglies where a round robin grudge match ensued. Will had to leave to drive his now-fiancee to the airport. I called in some substitutes and we moved onto the half-time show—the yard race.
The yard race is the real beer event of the day. Though each other competition is complemented by beer of some kind, this is the only event which rewards intake capacity. A pure timed event, the yard race occurs at The Ginger Man, the famous Texas transplant here in our fair city. The yard is equivalent to somewhere around seven pints. It is a tall, stretched hourglass shape, requiring quick drinking at the beginning and deft lifting of the heavy lower bulb towards the end of the event. Last year, a record of 48 seconds was set. This year, with Vinnie timing our progress, and Owen standing in for Will, Adi and Bee set a new record of 38 seconds, while Rade and Mike came in at a none-too-shabby 45 seconds. Owen and I, due to poor communication during the pass of the glass, came in at about 1:07; yet another reason why one must commit to the full complement of events.
From the Ginger Man, we make our longest trek of the day to Jack Russell’s pub. Though we prefer a one-venue-one-event system, JR’s affords Buck Hunter and pool. Just down the block is what could be considered BGO HQ—Brady’s. Brady’s, along with downtown Basra, is a UNESCO heritage site for most depressing place on earth. It is where we used to go as a group every Thursday for “happy hour,” which meant drinking crap beer from 10pm until 3am, and ruing every passing moment of our Friday work day. It is where, we assume, we came up with the asinine idea of using Paid Time Off to do what we would do on any given night. It is where we play Photo Hunt, because it reminds us all of a time when we were young, underpaid, and full of wrath against our jobs. Mike is invariably the best Photo Hunt player I have ever seen. Owen is invariably the most schizophrenic. Rade is quite easily the most belligerent. With time winding down on the first game (you get $1 worth of games, which is two games), Owen reached over and poked at nothing, costing Rade and Mike a turn, as they had plenty of magnifying glasses left (don’t ask me to explain).
Bee’s team managed to win this event by a mere 3,000 points ahead of Owen and me and sealed the deal after we came in second in the overtime game of Cutthroat on the pool table. At this point, we were all a few too many cheap tap beers deep and decided to head home to catch Cash Cab, seeing as Rade, Bee, and I were on. That’s right, the three of us are the winningest Cash Cab players of all time (three seasons) and damn proud of it.
All in all, it was a successful day of gaming. Kudos are due to Bee and his partner who threw the inaugural Olympiad due to a yet-to-be proven points-shaving scandal. Mike and I managed to rally and head out later that night, returning from Brooklyn to Plug Uglies at 3:45am, exactly 12 hours after the official event held there. Sometime after our third game, we felt it was beyond time to go home. Congrats to all the slackletes involved.