October 22, 2015

5th Annual Beer Olympics

The 5th Annual Beer Olympics were in full force this past weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, and it was quite a spectacle... mainly because our host Catherine doesn't do anything half-ass.  We are talking about the girl who had a baby eight months ago and just ran the Chicago Marathon last week.  On Saturday she organized events and port-a-potties, chips and Chick-fil-A (and okra??), and plenty and plenty of beer.  By mid afternoon last Saturday, she had forty Olympians competing for the ultimate prize:  bragging rights and the ability to display this beauty proudly on the formal living room mantle.

Here's how the (pending) National Holiday played out:
Once all the Olympians and spectators arrived, partners were drawn.  It's the most serious and anxious part of the day.  If you're competitive, then you really don't want to be paired with someone who can't catch a frisbee.  If all you care about is drinking, then you really don't want to be paired with someone who's going to be mad at you for not catching a frisbee.  Seriously people, this is stressful.

Jumbo-sized battleship.  Sink a coordinate?  It's a shot of beer with those cups your mom keeps in the bathroom in the cup dispenser.  You know the size I'm talking about.  It's bigger than a shot glass.  It was my first event of the day and it wasn't a great event to start with... I was hoping more to ease into things instead of flying right out of the gate. 
You know, cornhole.  If you don't know, we can't be friends.
And we couldn't have played on a better set of boards.
Last year this game was a buzz kill.  Teams were so concerned with winning that matches were lasting upwards of thirty minutes and people stopped drinking to concentrate.  Unacceptable Beer Olympics behavior.  The solution?  This year the Jenga blocks were placed on a wobbly table on uneven grass.  And the kicker?  While you were trying to be Steady Steven, your partner had to Waterfall until your move was over.  Jenga was hard this year.
Completely fill an ice cube tray with beer.  Using a straw, it's a relay race to see which team can empty their trays the fastest.  You also had to decide whether to use a fat straw or skinny straw (hardest decision of the day).  
Some frisbee game.  I can't throw or catch a frisbee.  Thank God I had an amazing partner.  
It's a trash-can-looking-thing with a little slit.  You get the frisbee in that slit and game over.  But that never happens, so you get points with your partner by hitting the can with the frisbee or knocking the frisbee inside the can or some other circus-like maneuvers.  All the while holding a beer in one hand.

Another frisbee game.  I still can't throw or catch a frisbee.  Thank God for Noelle.
This one involves a beer bottle on top of a pole.  Knock the beer bottle off the pole and you get points.  But you get more points if you catch the bottle before it hits the ground.  All the while holding a beer in one hand.
This was our last event and I don't even know if we played by the right rules at this point in the day.  But everyone knows how to play baseball.  And everyone knows how to play quarters.  Use your imagination and put the two together.  At least that's how we played. 
You can win vertical, horizontal... and yes, Lonnie, you can also win diagonal.
I saved the best event for last.  You are never too old or professional to attach a balloon to your butt, hopscotch down a flat ladder, chug your beer, then get humped by your partner to pop your balloon.   

You are also never too old or professional to watch it in slow motion and not think it's hilarious.

Once all twenty teams competed in all ten events, the four teams with the best records duked it out in the Final Four.  I have no idea if it was a closey or not because I was too busy playing flip cup, but congrats to Frank and Jay.  You are the champions of this years' Beer Olympics.

Miscellaneous Awards

And then this happened...
It all started as a simple game of flip cup.
 But the five year old in us couldn't let go of the balloon pop game.
And the next thing we knew we were playing the ultimate relay flip cup game.  Can't top this.

Once again, I can't wait until next year as it is one of my favorite holidays.  And look out... I'm coming in hot next year with some frisbee skills.  Keep training, y'all!

April 10, 2015

Here's to 40 more wins... in a row... next year

This year's Final Four weekend was bitter sweet.  Well, probably more bitter than sweet.  Ok, a lot more bitter than sweet.  But despite Kentucky’s bitter, heart breaking loss to the tall awkward white boys of Wisconsin, I still managed to have an excellent four days with my family and friends.  Because that’s what friends are for… for good times and for bad times (sing it, Dionne).

I started planning for this year's Final Four after last year's loss in the championship game to UConn.  I applied for Final Four tickets through the NCAA lottery, requested to be off work for the entire month of March, and started working on accommodations.  Conveniently, the 2015 Final Four was located in my sister’s home city of Indianapolis, known to Charles Barkley as “In The Annapolis.”  She and her husband graciously volunteered to share their home with a clowder of seven other Wildcats, including my mom (our official chaperone), my sweet cousin, and four close friends.  Our Wildcat Headquarters was spectacularly decorated for the weekend… it was all cats everything, homemade championship banners hung from the ceiling, and there was blue and white galore.  Even all their family pictures had been replaced by pictures of the basketball team.

Everyone arrived on Friday, the day before the semi-final games.  We had a low key night with a cookout… we all needed rest and needed to get mentally prepared.  Because what if Coach Cal needed us?  There was no better way to do this than to watch The Sixth Man (the recent documentary on UK fandom) and re-watch games from earlier this season.  There may or may not have been a few Fireball shots. 
It was finally game day.  My sister lives out in the ‘burbs and it is a good 30 minutes from downtown Indianapolis.  Transportation to and from downtown was a source of great deliberation, but my sister came through with a client who owned a limousine service.  A sixteen passenger white limo arrived early Saturday afternoon to haul us downtown.  Our day was starting off on point and I was feeling good vibes.
Kentucky fans invaded the city like it was our second job, but I was super impressed with the Wisconsin fan contingency, and even Michigan State fans put forth a respectable travel effort.  Duke fans, however, were scarce, which doesn’t surprise me because Duke fans suck.  Bars were beyond crowded that afternoon and it was a task to find a place where you could move more than two limbs at once.  We ended up at Howl at the Moon, where we actively bantered back and forth with the other fan bases on the “phrase of the night” boards.  At one point, my mom had to use her whistle to give Britt a timeout and a flagrant one foul for dancing with a Wisconsin fan.  Together we managed to accumulate a $900 bar tab, probably because we needed help taking the edge off while watching the hours until game time slowly tick off the clock.

After a day of waiting, praying, and wishing I had Xanax, it was finally game time.  38-0.  Two more wins… in a row… this year.  We headed to Lucas Oil Stadium, rode what seemed to be ten escalators to the roof of the building, and found our seats in another atmosphere.  I don’t want to talk about the game.  It still hurts.  It wasn’t supposed to end this way.  And I wasn’t supposed to get nacho cheese spilled down my back by the guy sitting behind me.
But I do have an explanation for the loss.  It wasn’t the non-called shot clock violation, or Kentucky failing to score on three consecutive end of game possessions, or… wait… I just said I didn't want to talk about the game.  Folks, the loss was due to my purse.  See, I carried the same purse to every game starting with the SEC tournament.  It’s a slightly large purse… some might call it carry-on luggage.  But, whatever, it was my lucky blue purse.  However, the NCAA had this dumb rule that they enforced during the Final Four:  only clutch purses no larger than 5” x 8” are allowed.  If you needed something bigger, it had to be a clear plastic bag.  Not being able to carry my lucky blue purse completely messed up my purse game and ruined the mojo.  I’m sorry BBN.

Walking out of the stadium had to be one of the worst experiences of my life.  Wisconsin fans had somehow multiplied by the thousands and were everywhere.  There was a large underpass where Indy locals formed drum lines that echoed loudly.  The Wisconsin fans chanted "Let's go Badgers," which seemed to echo even louder.  The underpass seemed to be at least a mile long and took forever to walk through.  This dumb underpass even had disco balls.  What underpass has disco balls?  I looked at my friend and asked him, “Is this what hell feels like?”  I just wanted to be surrounded by blue so we could all be miserable together and instead I was just getting salt poured in my wound.

We all congregated back at Howl at the Moon and immediately made the decision to exit after realizing that the bar was half full of giddy Wisconsin fans and the other half full of squealing bachelorette parties.  I couldn’t handle watching happy people do the Wobble anymore.  Get.  Me.  Out.  Of.  Here.  We made the decision to head to Tin Roof, the official Kentucky bar for the weekend.  Misery loves company and I found Tin Roof to be quite enjoyable.

Of course the night couldn’t end without a little debauchery.  As the bar was closing, I heard commotion and turned around just in time to see my close friend punch a Wisconsin guy twice. She claims he was being a jerk.  Knowing Tina, I have a feeling she may have instigated it.  But, whatever, he was a Wisconsin fan.  Standing barely five feel tall and pushing one hundred pounds, she can be a stick of dynamite and an angry little elf.  She said she used a self defense move of an uppercut punch with just the palm of her hand.  However, she later told us that she learned this on google and not in a self defense class.

Rumor has it that there was a yoga class being conducted in the limo during the drive home.  That could explain why I was sore the next morning.
There's a saying that goes, “When life hands you lemons, drink more vodka.”  Actually I think the saying is “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” but I like the vodka one better.  So instead of pouting around the entire next day, we decided to head downtown and make the most of it.  We had dinner at Prime 47, a steakhouse so good even Ted Turner was in the joint with his Rolls Royce parked outside.  

After dinner, we headed back to Tin Roof to finish the night.  It was a semi-calm evening… nothing to write home about.  The most exciting part of my night was when my sister decided to share with the crowd my high school portrait.  Everyone had an opinion of what celebrity I most resembled.  I heard everything from Emmy Rossum to Madeleine Martin.  But this is what won the night.
Then Monday happened.  By Monday, no one had surfed the internet, watched SportsCenter, or read the Twitter machine… we were avoiding basketball at all costs.  We had zero interest in the Duke versus Wisconsin championship game.  If this tells you anything, we even watched Pitch Perfect just to keep our minds off anything basketball.  But in the midst of our sorrows, we discovered the greatest cure of all.  Do you remember the childhood game of Hungry Hungry Hippos?  One of the girls saw the human version of this game on youtube and my amazing cousin Ricky spent the day making this happen for us.

I wasn’t the best at this game after several rounds, but I was at least third best.  And just like Andrew Harrison was third best, I wasn’t disappointed.  WHO DA THIRD BEST!?

I can’t put into words how I feel after this year’s basketball season.  These boys made history and took the fans on an amazing journey, starting way back in August in the Bahamas.  It was a joy to watch this team and we will probably never see another team like this again.  I refuse to let a single loss determine how I will remember this team.  They were spectacular the entire year.  With that said, I’m not sure what I’m going to do until Big Blue Madness in October.  But I do know that I will be cheers-ing to 40 more wins… in a row… next year.

March 17, 2015

You people are crazy: Looking at you, BBN

Several months ago, I requested vacation for the entire month of March.  All because of basketball.  Because of course I did.  I’m the girl who traveled to the Bahamas to watch Kentucky play in exhibition games in August.  I’m the same girl who bought NCAA tournament tickets back in October.  I have this little massive spot in my heart for this thing called Kentucky basketball and March Madness brings a whole new level of excitement to my life.  And the excitement began this past weekend at the SEC tournament.  
This year the tournament was held in the Holy Land of Nashville, Tennessee, where you will hear Wagon Wheel and Chicken Fried no less than fifty times.  Maybe even more if you’re (un)lucky.  For a girl who loves all things not country, I had to put my Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy, and Tyga on hold for a few days… oh, the things I will do for Kentucky basketball.  Bridgestone Arena and Broadway were home to an estimated 50,000 Kentucky fans, all clad in their blue and white, and most without tickets to the games.  Thousands of fans just came to experience the environment and to be a part of something very special:  The Pursuit of Perfection.
After last years roller coaster ride through the season and tournament, UK came up short of their ultimate goal:  a national championship.  This prevented an exodus of players from leaving for the NBA, and most of the players stated they returned for one reason:  unfinished business.  Add in four uber talented freshman from the number one recruiting class and Coach Cal had something very special on his hands.  The Cats made it through the regular season unscathed, something that had not been done by a major conference team since Indiana in 1976.  It was now time to take that undefeated record into post-season play.

The SEC tournament has been my annual girls’ trip since 2008.  Every year brings unforgettable stories and this past weekend was no exception.  This year we bunked five girls and about 15 bags of luggage into a room at the Omni Hotel, which was just steps away from the arena and the Broadway debauchery.


This past SEC weekend felt like Groundhog Day and all of my memories just run together.  I really can’t separate the days from each other… so here’s a brief summary:  game at noon, Kentucky wins, woo-hoo, start drinking, hopefully eat, continue to drink, continue to drink, realize it’s only 7pm, woot woot, continue to drink, go to bed at some point (maybe), wake up with a smile, shower, game at noon, repeat.  
My sister said that our shenanigans from this weekend sounded like I have never ever left my house before.  I guess that's what Nashville does to you.  With that said, here are some of my favorite highlights from the trip:
***Our first line of business upon arriving at the hotel was taking a picture of our room number to ensure we would all safely return each night.  However, we did not all return each night.
***Our second line of business was getting a drink in hand.  We headed to Tin Roof and proceeded to drink for the next four hours on $20.25.  I think our bartender forgot to ring a few drinks.  Or thought we were cute.  Or just wanted a big tip.  Whatever, it worked.
***Hanging out with a white guy named Randall Cobb is fun because when you scream “Randall Cobb!” everyone stops and stares.  
***I went balls to the wall the first night.  I was in bed by 8pm the second night.  I am getting old.
***Dicks Restaurant is the best place for 16 people who have been drinking all day to eat because the waiters could be as mean to us as they wanted... being dicks is their M.O.  Our waiter somehow managed to keep us all everyone except Tina under control for several hours, and that is an amazing accomplishment.  He kept us 100% entertained with these completely inappropriate hats that he made us wear:
  • I spent a lot of money to look this cheap.
  • When I fart, my thong whistles.
  • The only A’s I ever got in college are in my bra.
  • 50 Shades of Grey broke my vibrator.
  • I was a butt double in Broke Back Mountain.
  • My girlfriend is inflatable.
  • My crotch is so dry that my crabs ride dirt bikes.
Yes, there were children sitting at the table next to us.  No, their Dad didn’t mind.  In fact, he wanted to hang out with us for the rest of the night.  I was not going to be the one explaining what a vibrator was to his eight year old son.
***I have the best mother in the world.  I’m in UK basketball la-la land and she’s worried if I took my trash tote out for the weekly trash pickup.
***My friend received this text message from a boy.  I will blame all my bad decisions this weekend on this guy:
“Getting all boozed up and making bad decisions is the code that I live by!!”
***Spooning with three girls in the same bed, with the girl in the middle having strep throat, was not one of my greatest life decisions.  Because spooning with someone different the next night is how you spread strep throat.
***I really wanted to hang out with my friend Britt and my cousin Kelleigh Saturday night, so I forced two guys I know to go to several bars with me to look for them.  Apparently the girls were at Roberts, which is next to Jacks.image
I still don’t know where Jacks is.  And we never found Roberts. 
***And those two guys?  THEY LEFT ME!  I then peed my pants.

***But I wasn't the only one to do that this weekend.  Apparently it was the cool thing to do. Just ask Tina.  
***Britt bought a ticket for the championship game from a scalper, only to find out it was a voided ticket at the door.  The arena officials were accommodating and allowed her to purchase a standing room only ticket, even though the event was sold out.  Britt bought the ticket, but that wasn't the solution she had in mind.  She left the arena, hunted down the scalper, received an upgraded ticket, a refund on the SRO ticket she just bought, and made the scalper walk her to the door to make sure her new ticket was legit.  And that is why I love her so much.
***Does this guy look like he made it to all three of our noon games?  He didn’t.image
***But UK did win the ‘ship.  And that made me a very happy little girl.
34-0... 6 more wins... in a row... this year.