Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Tournament for the Ages and a Group of Drunken Idiots Gets Thrown Out of the Bar They Go to Every Weekend

(Editor's Note: Some of the following story is slightly exaggerated for effect.)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome back for the second installment of "10 Grown Men, 1 Arcade Machine, and the Worst Monday Morning of My Life"

We resume our tale not where the first part left off, but the following day.  Each of the respective parties was preparing for the biggest event to hit the city of Ogdensburg since Mark Valley participated in the 2010 Founder's Day celebration. 

Yes, it was going to be a big deal. 


I woke up Saturday morning in somewhat of a haze.  I've become somewhat of an early riser, but on Saturday I slept until 9:30 - strange, since I didn't have a drop to drink the night before.  I didn't actually get out of bed until 10 a.m., then I went downstairs and fell asleep on the couch.  I was destined to have a lazy day, knowing that the highlight would come with the tournament's commencement at 7 p.m.  I spent the whole day resting up, lounging around the house and conserving energy for the evening's event.  The Pinkerton's house was ablaze with anticipation, as they were expecting a house full.

Monnat and I arrived shortly after 7 o'clock with a 30-pack of Genny Light and a tin of the finest chewing tobacco on the market.  We were set for an evening of competition, but were surprised to find only two people there when we arrived - neither of them the tenants of the house.

"Where is everybody?" I asked Teej.

"Don't know.  Project and Rico are going to be here in a bit."

After killing time with some warm-up games, the contestants began trickling in.  First Pat and Rico carrying a bag of McDonald's, then Brian, Dylan and a few others.  Finally, Geary and Kyle arrived wearing matching ensembles - t-shirts that read "Boomshakalaka".

Excessive?  Absolutely not.

Awesome?  You bet.

After a few minutes of waiting for the final competitors to arrive, we got set to begin the tournament.  The rules were as follows:

1) Teams of 2 are drawn from a hat.
2) Each team then gets to select 1 NBA team, which they will have to play with for the entirety of the tournament.  Selections are made in the same order that the teams were drawn.
3) The tournament begins in a round-robin format to determine seeds for the playoffs.
4) The #4 & #5 qualifiers would play in a 'play-in' game to determine who would match up with the #1 seed to begin the playoff.
5) $20 per team / winner take all.

Team #1: Brian Pinkerton, T.J. Hannan (Phoenix Suns - Dan Majerle, Charles Barkley)
Team #2: Kyle Rhodes, Jake Morley (New York Knicks - Charles Oakley, Patrick Ewing)
Team #3: Mike Robinson, Dylan Reed (Orland Magic - Shaquille O'Neal, Scott Skiles)
Team #4: Ryan Geary, Eric Robinson (Utah Jazz - John Stockton, Karl Malone)
Team #5: Pat Pinkerton, Eric Monnat (Houston Rockets - Kenny Smith, Hakeem Olajuwan)

Everyone's early favorites were Team #3 and Team #5 - Pat & Monnat / Mike & Dylan.  Monnat and Mike didn't have a whole lot of practice time on the arcade, but they have probably logged more video game hours than the rest of us combined.  Pat had the opportunity to play the game the most, and therefore was most prepared.  And Dylan was the surprise star in the pre-tournament warmups.

The tournament began with opening ceremonies, which consisted of Pat saying "Welcome to the Inaugural NBA Jam Tournament" and forcing the rest of us to pay tribute to the 11th man on the Indiana Pacers roster by watching a video montage of his UNC career highlights set to the background music of "Psycho" by Puddle of Mudd.  As much as I hated that UNC team, the video has kinda grown on me in the 50 times they've forced me to watch it.  The song is appropriate and the highlights are awesome.  If only the video didn't celebrate one of the biggest douches in the history of college basketball.  What a shame.  Anyway, here it is if you want to check it out.

The first couple of games went really well for me and Kyle.  We eaked out a win over Brian & T.J. to start the tournament, dropping a game-winner in the final seconds to start the tourney 1-0.  We played Mike and Dylan in the second game, a thriller that came down to the final seconds - a Charles Oakley missed jumper from the elbow being the difference.  1-1, damn!  We ran through Ryan and Rico in our 3rd matchup to advance to 2-1, then our final matchup with Pat and Monnat wouldn't make much of a difference because we were each guaranteed to be in the #2-#3 slots, so we were inevitably going to face one-another in the playoff anyway.  It was just a matchup about bragging rights.  They won easily. 

Entering the playoffs, the seeds were as follows:

#1 Mike & Dylan
#2 Pat & Monnat
#3 Jake & Kyle
#4 Brian & T.J.
#5 Ryan & Rico

Now it is important to note that while all of these games were going on, everyone in the house (except Ryan & Kyle) were absolutely slugging beers.  Thats what happens when you get that excited about an event; for whatever reason, you just drink a lot faster.  And that's certainly what happened to me (I mean everyone).  By the time the playoffs started I was pretty drunk, stupid from a combination of Genny Light and Grizzly Mint.  Pat was getting after em' too, tipsy by the time the playoffs started and apparently in the mood to celebrate.  We should have seen this for what it was: an omen telling us that the night would end badly at the bar.

We missed that sign.

We finished the tournament.  Mike and Dylan won the finals in 2 games over Monnat & Pat.  Apparently Mike & Dylan selected the best team in the game because Shaq is an absolute monster on the boards and Scott Skiles does not miss from 3.  When I say that Scott Skiles does not miss, I mean that he does not miss.  Lights out, every time.  In the time since the tourney, we have developed a theory that the game was developed by Scott's younger brother, and that he sabotaged the game to make big bro look like a god.  I mean, what else would explain Scott Skiles being unstoppable?

As the tournament wound down, we got set to go to the bar.  This is where the night got interesting.  A few of us piled into a couple of vehicles and headed to "The Place" for the remainder of the evening.  It was midnight, so we had a couple of hours to kill before the night was over.  I remember thinking, while we were on our way, that the evening had the potential to get bad.  In my mind, I figured it would go bad for me - that I would end up doing shots, or chugging a few car bombs, and then projectile-vomiting outside of the bar at 1:30 a.m., forcing Jess to drive me home.  Anyone who has seen me do shots knows that this happens about 75% of the time.  The night did get bad, but not nearly in the way that I had anticipated.

As we arrived at the bar, we were all excited to get out and hang with some other people.  I mean, if you'd just spent 4 hours of your life playing NBA Jam, listening to Rihanna songs, and paying homage to the 11th man on an NBA roster twice in a 4 hour span, you would want to engage with some fresh blood too. 

Unfortunately, when we got to the bar we found that the clientelle wasn't the greatest.  After about 10 minutes at the bar, we were approached by a man with beer muscles who was threatening to beat the shit out of an acquaintance of ours.  Uncharacteristically, I decided not to make fun of him or run my mouth.  I've known the muscle-man for years, and apparently our friend had insulted his wife.  I also knew that the muscle-man was drunk.  I didn't want to get into the middle of it, so I kept my mouth shut.

Eric, however, did not. 

Now most of you know who Eric is, and you probably have the same perception of him as I do.  He's pretty much the nicest guy you will ever meet.  I've been friends with him for 10 years, and I've never seen him mouth off to anyone.  However, the muscle-man had already been mouthing off to him before this incident, so Eric was already kind of fed up with him and decided to let him know how he felt.

The staredown that ensued was spectacular.  The muscle-man was in complete and utter disbelief that Eric would stand up to him.  The rest of us were shocked as well.  Eric's usually a pretty non-confrontational guy, so seeing him get a little mouthy with somebody was pretty awesome.  It must have been 10 seconds before the muscle-man finally relented and gave up on trying to intimidate Eric. 

He went away, but unfortunately, it wasn't for the last time.  He returned a few minutes later to try to talk it out with Eric.  Eric was receptive to it, went and spoke with the muscle-man privately, and they patched things up.  Once again, it should have ended there.  But a few minutes later he was back at it, approaching Eric again and trying to defend his side.  I told Eric that the muscle-man was just drunk and a little sore about acting like an ass, so Eric talked to him and said that everything was cool. 

Except this time it had caught the attention of the owner, who asked me what had been going on.  I explained that the muscle-man was just a little drunk and had run his mouth a little bit.  I said that everything was cool, but when the guy approached Eric again, finally Rico yelled at the top of his lungs: "Go the fuck away!  None of us want to talk to you!  Fuck!"

That pretty much ended it.

So with about 15 minutes left in the night, we could finally enjoy ourselves.  I ordered another drink at last call.  I paid my tab, turned around to talk with some of the boys, and was surprised by a quick uppercut to my abdomen from Pat Pinkerton.  I went into a state of shock, completely surprised by what had just taken place.  "Why would Pat punch me?" I thought to myself.

The answer to that question soon revealed itself. 

I looked over to behold Pat doing the "Diddy Dance", yelling "Oh Diddy, you so fly.  Dance Diddy, Dance" at the top of his lungs, and just making a fool of himself in general.  It was funny to watch, but kinda sad at the same time.  Everyone was just kinda watching him, laughing at the drunken spectacle he was putting on.  Even the owners thought it was funny until Pat knocked over a couple of barstools that came down in a heap on a couple of patrons. 

The mood quickly shifted.

Before I knew it, the owner was up out of his seat and escorting Pat out the door.  "That's enough.  Now you're just being a jackass.  Get out.  Come back another time.  Good to see ya."

The night was over.  The tournament was awesome.  We were all really drunk.

Ahhhh!  Success.