Why is BeerFest 8 on Day 9???
Sooooo, if you missed yesterday, you missed the decision to cancel BeerFest in 2016. Well, I guess it was more like “cancel” BeerFest… Because naturally, I got the itch to bring it back.
As mentioned, Water Cooler Sports begin in the summer of 2016. In large part, this website was a way for Miller, Ketch, myself and Big Fudge to have a platform to blog about sports and post podcasts. But honestly, to me, it served as a living resume for a job that I’d actually want (to basically work at Barstool – or really any Barstool-esque writing job).
Here’s the thing though… I kinda starting falling in love with this website more than the idea of using this website as a resume. I wanted WCS to be a brand, I wanted to start driving serious traffic, and I figured a good way to do all that, MIGHT just be to revive BeerFest and get some hype around that.
CONTENT. CONTENT. CONTENT BABYYY!!!
And I knew BeerFest could be PRIME, Grade-A content.
The announcement came during a visit to Boston, in January 2017, during a Facebook Live – 10 months after the email the ended it all – with almost no hype beforehand:
I was committed to making BeerFest VIII Water Cooler Sports’ first sponsored event, crucial to building the brand at Le Moyne (that was the plan at least), and knew had to crush it.
It was time to get to work.
My first move was (hilariously) to request the entire week off from work leading up to BeerFest. I figured if I spent an entire week in Syracuse, I could get everything exactly the way I wanted it*.
Another thought of mine was that I had to tackle the fact that I fucked up and just one year prior shut BeerFest down when – OOPS – jk, here it was again!! Sooooo, I threw together a bunch of “Make BeerFest Great Again” hats, to play it off as a joke and get some of my BEST friends of mine to advertise them:
THE PLAN: You want a small school to know you’re bringing BeerFest back? Get a couple senior girls to show throw something like that on social media. BOOM. The word is out there.
So now there’s a bit of buzz, right? It also didn’t hurt that Slick Willy was a senior, living at Columbus at the time (and was cool as shit) and could fill the attic with teams easily. So I knew the field was full, there was buzz around it… Let’s get to work in executing the party.
The week leading up to BeerFest finally came (aka when I took an entire week off to prepare), and I arrived at Columbus. No joke, in order to clear & clear the place, I filled like 20 contractor bags of trash from the attic. Some of the walls were ripped down so I stapled that orange fencing (the kind you probably saw on like rec soccer fields as a kid) on the walls. Did it look great? No. But it got the job done.
Okay, so now the place is “cleaned” and ready to party in. Time to make sure the party is awesome.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM.
I’ve mentioned before, but for YEARS we played the same Scott Stapp National Anthem, because in our hayday, Creed was the running joke… But at BeerFest VIII, in 2017, I didn’t think that would play quite as well.
Instead, I got a kid, @ForbesOnSports to be exact, to come and SING the national anthem live. For those who don’t know, Forbes is an extremely talented guitarist and singer, so I was like… “this would be new, this would be memorable.”
…what I did not expect was Dean on the side to be playing symbols!https://watercoolersports.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/national-anthem.3gp
Forbes crushed it, Dean crushed it, and from my perspective (no offense Scott Stapp), that National Anthem was our best. The crowd sang along and it was just perfect.
I was also very encouraged by the energy and passion of the attendees… It wouldn’t have surprised me if people didn’t come back with the over-the-top jerseys we were growing accustomed to, but let me tell ya, we had some gems.
Wales FINALLY did it and came dressed as actual whales. It was one of my favorite things to see BY FAR:
And Team Djibouti came with an all-time epic picture
stapled photoshopped onto their t-shirts:
There were others (Bahama mama’s in the Hawaiian shirts, Vatican City nuns,) but those two were probably my favorite and an indication that the energy was NOT lost, in fact, far from it.
Now, in BeerFest VIII, we did see the return of what was reminiscent of Team Turkey – the winner of our first three tournaments – this time playing as Team Byzantine Empire. Half of the team was former Turkey guys and immediately upon entering the field, I figured they’d be top dogs.
I also figured Wales, who previously had two consecutive Top 6 finishes, could be making that leap from a perennial greats to champions.
Instead the first round of Anchorman was FULL of surprises. For example, Canada, the defending champions from 2015, were eliminated in the first round. Wales too got the boot, falling to an all-girls Ireland team who pretty much took that victory as their own personal Daas Boot victory (since I think that’s all they ever wanted… at least you’d have thunk so from their reactions). Slick Willy probably still has nightmares over that.
But one of the biggest surprises to me was that the Byzantine Empire had lost it’s first matchup in Anchorman and would have to go through the entire Loser’s Bracket in order to make it to Daas Boot. This was Kev & Jimbo’s first loss in the tournament EVER and I remember hearing that they lost, thinking “there was NOOOO way a team could make it all the way through the gauntlet that is the Loser’s Bracket“…
Now Rockaway had quite the showing in 2017 – ALL around: Zimbabwe, Djibouti, Canadian Bacon and Rock Nation.
Canadian Bacon & Zimbabwe (aka the Ryan bro’s) went all the way to Top 10 losing in Beer Pong.
Djibouti, who I already had mentioned had FIRE jerseys, were 5th, getting eliminated uin Turbo Quarters by the last surviving Rockaway team – ROCK NATION.
The final remaining teams this late in the tourney were Poland, Jamaica, Byzantine Empire and Rock Nation… and each has quite the story.
I loved the addition of this game, as it hammers home a very important rule: “NO DRINKING AND DRIVING” aka just make sure you drink and then put the drink down before driving!
We let each team pick their best two guys and whatever team whose best driver gets 1st place, wins.
Well, apparently giving an older team the chance to play an N64 game was brutally unfair because the Byzantine Empire SMOKED Jamaica… next up on the Byzantine’s quest to Daas Boot? POLAND.
Now, Poland I had met a few months earlier at their house in Cuse. We actually recorded the Blind Light Beer Taste Test there… So I was rooting for these guys (sorry @TeamTurkey, but I had seen you do it too many times…). Unfortunately, Poland was loooooooooong gone by the time Civil War started.
The best part of the game was when one player got eliminated (no names, you’re welcome), and despite his team being VERY MUCH still in the game (maybe like 3 guys vs 2 guys) he goes, “Fuck this shit man… let’s get outta here!” to his teammate, as if because HE lost the entire team lost!
This was a song and dance we had all seen before (at least I had) and I knew the result. Team
Turkey Byzantine Empire just had to finish strong.
Amazing!! They took FIVE years off from playing at BeerFest, but Hass & Jimbo did it again! It just goes to show, that kings really do stay kings.
I had come back to my old stomping grounds and did what I had to do. I generated a ton of traffic to this website and got WCS’s name out (kinda) to a community that I knew and loved… And I did so by reviving a party that was fucking awesome, a ton of fun and something that many of the people participating in 2017 were experiencing for the first time!
Special moment in BeerFest history – the revival.
I knew that year while I was running it in Cuse, that was my last BeerFest THERE. If I was to do it again, it would happen in NJ and I was fairly confident people would make the trip. I mean, tons of people in 2017 drove from NYC up to Cuse, why not flip those trips and have people come to me in Jersey?
The next year’s BeerFest was going to be different in so many ways, but a challenge I was ready to take on.
* = In hindsight, one week was even tight because the house was DE-STROYEDDDD** but I made it work. I always do.
** = I mean, it was a college house and they didn’t have their landlord (me) for what was then a year and 3 months.
P.S. Oops, forgot to talk pamphlets here… This year, I found myself in Syracuse, WITHOUT that job whose printer I had used in 2015, so what did I do? I marched my 27-year old ass into Noreen Falcone Library and printed 150 pamphlets with Hurley. It was only of the funniest things I think I did that whole week. Kids were there studying their dicks off for finals (or whatever it is nerds do at college)… And I’m in there like the degenerate I am, printing pamphlets for a beer game tournament, now FIVE years removed from attending that school. CLASSIC!!!
P.P.S. Oh yeah, here’s the actual pamphlets themselves (if you’re into that sorta thing):