Sean Beckwith: World Cup’s got nothing on beer pong
Lost in all the World Cup hype was another recent on-mountain competition of champions. The day required snowboarding or skiing, fast reflexes, speed, hand-eye coordination and stamina. When you put it all together, the difference between the titans of the World Cup and the athletes at the inaugural Ullrhoff Beer Games is pretty slim.
The Ullr games were chock full of intrigue just like any other sport. Am I the Mikaela Shiffrin of beer pong? Did team Ganjala use performance-enhancing drugs on their way to the title? Who paid my roommate to take a dive in the bags tournament? What’s it like snowboarding down moguls while carrying a 30-pound dart set? Who had the best team name? Why didn’t team Pitches Be Crazy finish the games? These are all pressing questions, so let’s take a look at the tape.
1. Am I the Mikaela Shiffrin of beer pong?
Gender aside, the short answer is yes. The feathery smooth touch of my toss, feline-like reflexes swatting away pingpong balls and overwhelming tact flattened the competition, with a healthy assist from my roommate Zach “Dangerous” Bowerstock. (That’s actually his nickname, not something created for the games, so if you know Dangerous, call him Dangerous.)
And like Shiffrin in Colorado, I, too, had a home-turf advantage as good friend and one of the games’ organizers Andrew Helsley was forced to set up his pong table due to time constraints. Did it help that we played and beat the two teams that finished one and two overall on a table I’ve familiar with? Perhaps, but perhaps the Magoos and Team Ganjala just weren’t on our level.
Team Illegal Life, made up of Dangerous and myself, employed various strategies with surgeon-like precision. Calling out the father/daughter team for elbows over the table thus making them concentrate on staying behind the line and not on making cups. The Vikings and Team Ganjala’s weaknesses were pretty obvious, and in the Vikings’ case, pungent. We dispatched them using well-timed bounces, including a hot start in the final match to take the title from Team Ganjala.
2. Did Team Ganjala use performance-enhancing drugs?
They did take the title so I’m leaning toward yes because I’m petty like that. However, the above paragraph implies the drugs were performance debilitating, not enhancing. Whatever, they probably cheated.
3. Who paid my roommate to throw the bags tournament?
At first I thought the Bikini Bottoms dosed Dangerous’ drink with whatever they took in the quarters round. Then I remembered we didn’t drink out of the quarters’ cup. Then I thought Jim Buchart, another organizer, tossed him some cash so he could chide me and fit the word “jabroni” into an insult.
Something had to contribute Dangerous’ pitiful bags performance, which was detailed in a text as this: “He looked like he’d never thrown anything, let alone a bean bag.” But I’ll give him a pass and we’ll just blame it on the ski boots. I mean, we did get skunked.
4. What’s it like snowboarding down moguls carrying a 30-pound dart set?
To be clear, this wasn’t part of the competition. After winning the beer-pong session and taking second in Stump, we ended up in third. The second-place Magoos had their choice between a bags set and the dartboard. Having won the bags tournament, the Magoos just needed an extra shove in the bags direction, which Dangerous provided with a bribe that subsequently totally redeemed his earlier failures.
The brilliant team of event organizers — that’s actual sincerity because they beautifully adjusted off-the cuff-all day — offered arrangements to pick up our prize at a later time to avoid trying to get it down the mountain. The 5-year-old child on Christmas morning in me was having no part of it. I want it, and I want it now. So I decided to carry it myself. It was pretty painless. I’m not sure how I found a field of moguls, though. I just took it slow as the rest of the participants — fresh off an afternoon of drinking and partying — straightlined and jibbed their way around me. I did get a couple side eyes from people on the lifts, though.
5. Who had the best team name?
The best name award was between team Drippy Sax and team Probably Not Listening. Pitches Be Crazy was good as well, but Probably Not Listening takes the fictional and award-less accolade.
6. Why didn’t Pitches Be Crazy finish the games?
By the time stump, the final leg of the day, started, they were nowhere to be found. My guess is they knew they were out of contention or too drunk to toss and swing a hammer, so they bounced. To be honest, I don’t think I would’ve even noticed had the emcee not pointed out their absence.
So we may not be world-class athletes, but that didn’t stop up us from celebrating like it. I can’t think of a better way to pass a Saturday than drinking beer, chasing errant wind-affected pingpong balls, snowboarding, bouncing quarters, drinking more beer and fierce competition. I mean, a dartboard is a better prize than one of those crystal globes anyway.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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