Another winter, another Beer Olympics. No Bar Game Olympiad is complete without some difficulties, and this year was no exception. Nonetheless, the day was a success enjoyed by all participants.
Many slackletes were traveling far and wide, and though the Beer Olympics are the only thing to which its participants are truly dedicated, it is often tough to plan. I had recently moved to Dallas, Adi was in Uganda, and Bee was now teaching in the equally exotic reaches of Greenwich, CT.
Events were scheduled for December 23rd. For many of our seasoned athletes who do not reside in New York or who have serious jobs, this posed some difficulty. As participants age, get promoted, get married, or lose their competitive edge, our numbers dwindle. It takes real dedication to ditch your job and your wife for a day of revelry or, as in the case of some nameless persons, to lack a job or a wife altogether.
Adi, Rade and I met Bee and headed downtown to 99 Miles where Jabe was waiting. It was at this point where we realized we were going to be short the desired eight players. Pete was en route, as were Micah and Max, though Micah would be late and Max had to leave for a non-sanctioned event (squash). After several calls we had more people en route, including the crafty veteran, Mike, and the newcomer, Timmy.
At Bowlmor, names were drawn with those who were present and the teams were, in order of drawing:
Adi/Pete (with Mike to takeover upon arrival)
Afterwards, Max arrived and was paired with Micah, with Timmy to take over.
Bowling is always a tough start. With bellies full of cheesesteak, heads full of overpriced Budweiser pitchers, and muscles unready, slackletes often find it is the toughest sport to compete in without a warm-up.
Peter and Adi took an early lead in the first frames and did not relinquish it through 10 frames. A grand finish by Max and Micah pushed them up in the standings while Bee and I, reigning champs, fell apart in the final three frames. Rade and Jabe were the surprise here, mostly because Jabe is one-quarter grizzly bear and should be able to pitch the ball overhand, and Rade is from Buffalo and therefore should be good at bowling.
Scores were as follows (scores, in points, in parentheses, overall score in bold);
Peter/Ad 132 + 122 = 254 (4,4)
Max/Micah 123 + 123 = 246 (3,3)
Charlie/Bee 109 + 120 = 229 (2,2)
Jabe/Rade 97 + 99 = 196 (1,1)
As we headed up to the next venue, Plug Uglies, Mike prepared to meet us. Shufflepuck is perhaps his strongest event after Erotic Photo Hunt where, and this cannot be reiterated enough, he is the best around. Pool is played simultaneously at this venue. In order to save time, round-robin play gave way to a winner/loser bracket which eliminated one round of play per sport.
Pool progressed reasonably well with Timmy playing the pool portion with Micah. Perhaps still pondering their bowling miscues, Jabe and Rade put together some stellar games to take first place.
Adi put his Ugandan bar techniques to good use on the table to help propel his team to three more points. As Bee and I played in the loser bracket, struggling for two points, an ill-advised jumpshot by one member of our team pocketed the cue on the eight-ball shot.
We proceed to the puck table.
Rade and Jabe continued their campaign of shock and awe. Despite stellar shots from all fronts, Rade’s finesse knockouts and Jabe’s incongruously soft touch led them to a first place finish on the hardwood. Mike, stepping up to perform as he always does at this event, paired well with his old friend to take second, while a six-point turn by me was all Bee and I could do to hang onto third place ahead of Max and Timmy.
The day was early, but I was losing steam looking at our last place standing. Luckily, Bee talked me off a ledge, promising me that our best events were yet to come, guaranteeing me victories in BBH, the Yard Race, and Darts.
This is where our story takes an interesting turn. For those who may remember last year, it took all of Will’s considerable charm and lawyerly talent to convince the personnel at the Gingerman to let us carry on the tradition of the Yard Race. This year, fearing a similar episode, we did not call ahead and arrived en masse and demanding twelve feet of beer. We were summarily refused and, without Will there to help mediate, were sent away, empty stomached and more sober than we’d intended.
However, from tragedy rose a great success story – one that will rewrite Bar Olympic history. Since we needed to head uptown anyway to continue out mighty contest, we decided to start where it all began: Germany. Heidelberg restaurant was quiet when we arrived. The fraulein behind the bar (honestly, I think her name Greta, she had pigtails) welcomed us and, upon our request, started filling The Boot.
She did it with glee, humored by what would no doubt be eight idiots attempting shocking feats of consumption. The Boot is a glorious glass, and decidedly more voluminous than its counterpart still sitting idly in its crook on 36th st. The Boot is the healthy German country maid to the awkward-footed yard, lank and waifish and overprotected by its midtown mothers.
A patron on a nearby stool watched with rapt attention, filming us on his phone though the footage did not survive the ordeal. Bee and I knew we had a serious task at hand. Nothing short of a win would bring us back from the brink, and the gallon of ice cold lager in front of us was intimidating. However, without Will present to shame us all, we knew we had the best chance. Luckily, Bee and I are practiced drinking partners, and our Boot passes were steady and guided, while our sips were full and prolonged, allowing the other’s brainfreeze to pass.
As our Boot heel reached the bar, we raised our arms in victory, then quickly returned them to our sides so as not to upset the sloshing in our gullets. Jabe and Rado were mere seconds behind. Jabe looked as though he’d just missed getting hit by a speeding bus, while Rade excused himself to get some air. Vomiting after the Race is a disqualifiable offense, but Rade soon returned without having purged. Jabe and Rade, after a valiant second place finish, drew a deep line in the sand after their Boot was placed on the bar. Micah and Timmy tried their best, but it just happened to be not very good. Meanwhile, Adi and Mike may as well have been using cocktail straws to complete the endeavor. Below are times in minutes and seconds, followed by the same scoring as above.
Charlie/Bee 1:24 (4,9)
Jabe/Rade 1:27 (3,12)
Micah/Timmy 3:40 (2,8)
Adi/Mike 6:50 (1,11)
The Boot is now a permanent fixture to the day. Gingerman, we love you for your beer, but your bar has lost an important tradition. Heidelberg, we’ll see you soon, and thank you.
The scores were tight after the only true drinking event of the day. We made our way – slowly – to the next venue, Ship of Fools, for Darts and Big Buck Hunter. Ship of Fools often serves as refueling for the slackletes because, well, their wings are delicious.
As the throws started, Bee’s prophecy started to be realized and, in a tight finals match of cricket, we kept piling on the points until a double-bull ended Adi’s brave efforts. In the next room, Jabe and Rade battled to stay alive while Micah and Timmy lay on the ground in the fetal position, praying for the beating to stop.
Big Buck Hunter is an interesting event, pitting you and your teammate against a computer, but allowing a certain amount of predictability once someone has taken a turn. The variable is the bonus game, which gets more difficult and prevents competitors getting an edge by watching those before them. It is also late in the contest, which sees many slackletes crumbling under the pressure of the day, not to mention the beer.
Ship’s BBH was occupied – a sign that it was after work hours now and signaling that we had to keep plugging away to finish in time. We went across the street to Jack Russel’s. Adi and Mike went first, posting a good score, though Adi was visibly upset after shooting a couple of does. Jabe and Rade went next, rising to the challenge and besting their predecessors’ score. Bee and I followed, not only exceeding our predecessors’ scores, but also boasting a New Hunter Hero designation. Next, Timmy and Micah seemed confused about the rules. We just barely caught their final score. Bee’s prediction had come true, we’d won the events as he’d said. However, the scores were as close as they’ve ever been entering the final round, and Mike was ready to shine. BBH game scores are below, followed by the same scoring as above.
Big Buck Hunter
Charlie/Bee 8771 + 9742 = 18543 (4,17)
Jabe/Rade 7063 + 6967 = 14030 (3,17)
Mike/Adi 6383 + 5242 = 11625 (2,16)
T/M 11107 (1,10)
Bee was short on time, so Mike and Adi continued to Brady’s to start the EPH. Due to the close standings, we consulted the Bar Game Olympiad handbook for the rules concerning a close finish. In the case of a tie: sudden-death Beirut.
Posting a nearly indomitable score, Mike and Adi stepped aside for Bee and me to try our hand. We responded decently, but Photo Hunt is not our strength. At this point, Bee left, leaving Maceo behind as my partner if the scoring necessitated a sudden death playoff. Next up, Micah and Timmy seemed to pep up a bit, but poor communication cost them points.
As it stood, Jabe and Rade needed to at least best Bee and me to tie Mike and Adi. A first place finish would see them on top of the podium, but that was unlikely with Mike and Adi’s score. With the pressure mounting, the Photo Hunt machine proved a nasty villain, as Rade and Jabe chose the wrong moment to have their worst event of the day. EPH game scores, followed by the scoring as above:
Mike/Adi 635564 (4,20)
Charlie/Bee 445252 (3,20)
Micah/Timmy 150,000 (2,12)
Jabe/Rade 39179 (1,18)
A one-game Beirut showdown would be necessary. I had just lost Bee, my longtime Beirut partner, but I was still confident that Maceo and I had the requisite abilities to best Mike and Adi. We headed to Aces and Eights and found a quiet area with two tables that were not in use.
Game Rules were to be Pro Rules
o 12 cups per side, 6 per player
o Rack on 6 only
o Double-up brings ‘em back
o No mid-turn re-racks
o Bounces in effect
o Deathcup in effect
o Nolan Ryan Rule in effect
o Girls and Greg Rule in effect
The game was short-lived. While Mike and Adi did make it to a rack of six, they did not progress much farther than that as Maceo helped Bee and me to our second consecutive championship. Mike and Adi, with only one fourth place finish all day, took the silver. Jabe and Rado, after a strong start couldn’t quite hold on in final moments but took a respectable (and close) third, while Micah and Timmy, both newcomers, realized what it takes to partake of the Day of Days.
I’ll use this space to thank all the slackletes who participated. As always, the Beer Olympics prove to be one of the best days of the year, second only to the Fourth of July.
Final Scoring Chart
C/B 2 1 2 4 4 4 3 / 2= 22
M/A 4 3 3 1 3 2 4 / 1= 21
J/R 1 4 4 3 2 3 1 = 18
T/M 3 2 1 2 1 1 2 = 12