It’s Monday of BeerFest week and I feel like Cersei looking at the Red Keep before her walk…
for all those people out there reading this who aren”t Thrones nerds, I’m saying this is going to be a loooooong one.
Yesterday, the Lord’s Day, we talked about BeerFest V and all its glory. If you missed that, go check it out. If you have missed the entire series, recapping all the BeerFests since 2009, you can check it out here.
If not… well, I guess read on!
Today, we’ll take a walk down memory lane for our sixth annual tournament. I remember getting to SIX and thinking how legit it sounded to call something a SIXTH annual whatever. SIX… And we’re at TEN now. Crazy town.
First, as has become my “thing” during these recaps, let’s take a gander at the pamphlet and see what kinda things we were talking about in 2014, shall we?
Okay, now, one thing I haven’t highlighted nearly enough that maybe I should have has been my roommate Fletch’s involvement with BeerFest. He, since year 1, had participated in every BeerFest, BUT never seemed to have a team that was HIS. He was recruited onto one team, then another, then another – a true BeerFest journeyman. That was until two babes came to Le Moyne, and Fletch somehow was recruited to their team (maybe in 2012?). And then every year from that point on, South Africa was Fletch’s team – he and two total babes… with a revolving door for their 4th spot.
In 2014, Team USA over-recruited, and truthfully from a pure partying perspective, I wanted all four of those people to come to the party, so I dropped myself to Free Agency… which, if you were paying attention to the paragraph before this, left me open to fill that #4 spot on South Africa.
It reminded me of what it must be like to play for the current Knicks. People were excited to see me play (I mean, I run the tournament, so I guess there’s some excitement to that?), but no one expected us to actually win.
Don’t get me wrong, Fletch & I were good enough at quarters to know we’d win the first round (cocky but the truth), saving us from drinking about 6+ beers to start our day, but for the first time, I wasn’t going into BeerFest with any belief I’d end up at Daas Boot… Playing for South Africa, 2014 was different.
Taking a look at the field at large, Kenya (the girls who were runners up in 2013) no longer was competing and Scotland had changed so much it too wasn’t the same “defending champs” you’d need to be worried about.. Even Naughty America was back, but the faces had changed a LOT. 2014 was literally WIDE-OPEN year for anyone to win, and BeerFest parity was at an all time high.
This year was the year we met Rock Nation… Rock Nation, hailing from Rockaway Beach, NY (Queens – NOT Long Island*) was made up of sophomore rugby guys, and eventual contributors here at Water Cooler Sports – including Marty Quinn, former Gambling writer here at WCS, and Big Fudge, co-host of the In My Face podcast. These guys on Rock Nation were a different breed. Yes, they were sophomores, green behind the ear in terms of college and BeerFest, but they were animals. They played drinking games like they’d been playing them for DECADES. They made a splash at BeerFest VI but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Another team that was birthed this year was Ivory Coast. They finally made a core team from Producer Tim’s hometown that the tournament has been #blessed enough to see ever since – Gordie, TP & Cody.
Now, from what I remember, this was Cody’s first year… and at the time, he worked for the company Rockstar (the energy drink). So he came to Beerfest with about 8 cases of Rockstar, and an enormous banner that hung in that stairwell for years after.
But that was only a piece of the story… People at the party started mixing the free Rockstar and keg beer together and it was
delicious terrible alarming. It was like an attic full of people on old school Four Loko’s… An actual miracle the house didn’t burn down that day.
We also had a changing of the guard in terms of refereeing in 2014. Because, as I said in a previous blog, reffing one year is probably enough for one lifetime. People suck ESPECIALLY when they’re drunk and competing.
Anyway, I started sending out BeerFest employee applications to people who wanted to work that day – not that it mattered what they filled out, it was more the song and dance of it all.
Know anyone interested in working THE premier event Syracuse has to offer?? Get at me & I'll send you an official app pic.twitter.com/3yg8uS1PSO
— BeerFest (@Lourde_Taylor) January 30, 2014
(Page 2 of 2 BeerFest Employment Application) pic.twitter.com/jgNai8jsg2
— BeerFest (@Lourde_Taylor) January 30, 2014
The responses I got from those applications pretty much told me that the people I was “hiring” were the right people for the job. If you can cut through the bullshit and understand my humor in making you have to fill those out, you’re good in my book.
That also was our first year with Dean.
To apply for the job though, instead of filling out an application like many others did, he sent this tweet:
He was right, he was #hired.
He was great at the job too. He’s funny as hell, he’s capable of drinking 30 beers in a day and not get sloppy, but he’s also intimidating so everyone listens to him. The perfect mix!!
Technology-wise, this year our CTO Matty O made an actual website: ColumbusBeerFest.us. It functioned much the same way the Winner’s/Loser’s Brackets did in Excel and on the TV screens, but now – people could go outside, grab a hot dog, and check their phones and know how the games were going inside. Pretty clutch when you think about it, but also, I don’t think enough (or anyone) knew the functionality.
The idea of it was phenomenal, the actual execution – by ME – of advertising its usefulness left something to be desired.
The last non-gaming related note I want to make had to do with the phenomenal jerseys of Team Jordan that year… Now, this team had always brought their A-game when it came to uniforms, looking like they were straight out the desert, but this year they thought outside the box.
— Matt Clark (@MattClarkPoker) April 8, 2014
These were the sorta things I saw the day of and I always got so pumped that people took the time/energy/whatever to make/buy uniforms like that… and these were cool as shit. Even if Jordan did push off…
(NOTE: I was made aware that MC tweeted this sick photo of Jordan’s jerseys, but on the day of, he hit only one single quarter shot in Anchorman and the team ruthlessly cut him from the team after that. Tomorrow we’ll see if that personnel change made the difference in 2015!)
But let’s get to the actual games, shall we?
Let’s start with an early and quick memory of the games: my own team, South Africa. As I had mentioned, it was Fletch & I and two girls. So we knew if we lost in quarters, we were drinking a TON of beer. The first round is always a best of three round, and WHAT DO YA KNOW, we lost Game 1. We were playing our friends (Team Niger, made up of Brice, Tyler, Alex & Michael Phelps) – a first round match-up I made on purpose to further my claim that I can beat anyone in quarters with any team, ever… WELP, losing Game 1 was NOT part of the plan.
Fletch and I crushed the pitcher as best we could, and I honestly was so full already I think I actually said to Fletch, “if we lose again, I’m gonna boot.” Instead, the champions we were, Games 2 and 3 went our way. My reign of quarters supremacy continued, despite stacking the odds against myself, despite losing in Game 1. Suck it Niger!
Let’s hit some other highlights from the gaming portion (which as I’m looking at them, are ALL from teams who will be there this Saturday at BeerFest X… fantastic):
- Naughty America made it all the way to Baseball and it was the last time we saw them play at BeerFest… until this Saturday**!!
- Madagascar, a team of four chicks, made it to Top 6 and this was wildly impressive… the can straight up game.
- Wales a team led by yet another future WCS contributor, Slick Willy – who was a FRESHMAN at the time, also was Top 6 that year.
- Tommy Ryan took his Canadian Bacon team to fourth place.
- Ivory Coast made it all the way to Civil War but were eliminated by Prussia, taking home bronze. The first of many top finishes this team had at BeerFest.
Then we arrived at Daas Boot. Rock Nation vs Prussia.
Prussia was a team led by Clammy Cam (Jesus, another WCS contributor… unreal the alumni we had here) and a gentleman we cleverly nicknamed Black Rob, for both his dark complexion AND his first name.
Now, this round of Daas Boot was littered with controversy. Absolutely littered.
For starters, Prussia had played all day until Civil War with the same 4 players. But heading into that game, one of their players had to leave.
Prussia admitted this sucked and wasn’t fair, but there wasn’t really a good solution. If we straight eliminated them, that would’ve been pretty weak (I thought). But if they played, it (could) be super unfair as well. On one hand, the new guy could be cold and rusty, he hadn’t been playing drinking games all day, but also he was 100% sober.
Really, the kid who left put us in a terrible situation. The first time in six years we had someone leave the party before their team was eliminated. I forget why he had to leave, but short of a family emergency I don’t know how you could justify that move…
Ivory Coast agreed to let them play in Civil War, figuring they could win anyway, but unfortunately didn’t.
Rock Nation went along with it, because again, it’s too late, I already admitted this kid to the tournament… We weren’t NOT gonna do Daas Boot and just award the trophy.
So off we went. Prussia versus Rock Nation. Rock Nation was a team of rugby guys who could drink 20+ beers in a day (no joke, I’ve witnessed it on countless occasions) but that didn’t necessarily translate to slugging a boot. Drinking a boot and being able to drink 20 beers in a day are two very different skill-sets. One is a sprint, the other is a marathon.
I believe we saw a bit of puking from both sides, but at the end of the day, Prussia won the race.
Undoubtedly controversial – which Prussia, to this day, are fast to admit to – but again, there was no good solution.
— BeerFest (@Lourde_Taylor) April 28, 2014
Black Rob ended up being BeerFest’s Jackie Robinson.
He broke the color barrier as our first champion of color. It was a momentous day, a day that will forever live in BeerFest infamy.
“No Prussia, no diamonds!”***
And just like that, in the blink of an eye (which admittedly that year was more of a twitch due to the “energy beer“), BeerFest VI was over.
At this point in 2014 (and my life), my time in Syracuse was very much solidified. I was working a hilariously easy job that paid me too much, to do too little, living at a house that cost nothing, having a TON of fun living life like a degenerate.
BeerFest was nowhere close to over.
* = If you look below at this very confusing map of Long Island, you can totally see how Rockaway – despite being a part of an island that most of which is in Long Island – it totally a part of Queens:
** = Naughty America likely isn’t the team name, but Z & EM are back… To me, that means the team is back, just changing its name. You can be the judge for yourself.
*** = This was a saying that we coined earlier in the year as Thad Lewis had started a couple games for the Bills, and we would say “no pressure, no diamonds” as this guy who was relatively unknown was being thrown out there to start NFL games. Classic.