Posted by: cousinbrandon | August 11, 2016

Brolympics 4(on 4): Results of the 4th “Annual” Brolympics

Blue Shirt

Good Guys’ Shirt (Mitch, Matt, Josh and Brandon)

Grey Shirt

Bad Guys’ Shirt (Matt, Pete, Nick and Avery)

Ref Shirt

Ref’s Shirt

On Saturday, July 30, 2016, the original Brolympics gang — myself, Mitchell, Cousin Matt and Cousin Josh — reconvened after a five-year hiatus to relive the (not so) glorious days of our youth. There was a significant change in this, the fourth “annual” Brolympics: rather than playing two-on-two (me and Josh vs. Matt and Mitch), the four of us teamed up to compete against our pals Matt B., Pete, Nick and Avery in a 4-on-4, best-of-11, race-to-6-wins Brolympics. Several pals had been begging for years to let them into the fold, and as the expression goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”

I should point out that this year’s shirts were printed by our good pal Cory Seymour at Backpage Press, who you can follow on Twitter. And while we had a ref’s shirt printed, no one was able to fill the ref’s shoes, so the shirt went unworn. We’ve decided, though, to turn that shirt into our “cup,” wherein the winning team keeps the cup until the next Brolympics champions are crowned.

This year’s Brolympics took place in the Camp Hill/Harrisburg region, and consisted of the following (scheduled) events:

  1. Football
  2. Tennis
  3. Home Run Derby
  4. Bocce
  5. Cornhole
  6. Kan Jam (first appearance!)
  7. Bowling
  8. Pool
  9. Darts
  10. Shuffleboard
  11. Beirut

As a refresher, the images work like this: to capture the results of each event, we documented them with a photograph. The winning teammates for each event held their fingers up, while the losers kept their hands roughly waist-high. So, if the score was, say, 3 to 1 following four events, the team with three wins would hold three fingers high, while the team with one win would hold one finger waist-high.

With that, here’s how it all played out, beginning with…

Event 1: Football

Rules:

  • One 4-on-4 game;
  • Two 15-minute halves;
  • No “Losers Walk”;
  • Team who loses coin-toss defends side of field of its choosing;
  • Kicking team in 1st half is receiving team in 2nd half;
  • Only 1 first-down possibility per drive (located at mid-field);
  • Only 1 blitz per set of downs;
  • Defense can rush the passer after “5 Mississippi” count;
  • Quarterback can’t run with the ball unless rushed/blitzed;
  • Touchdowns worth 1 point;
  • No field goals, no extra points; and
  • If overtime is needed, no sudden death scoring; both teams play till one team scores touchdown and second team fails to answer.

Rather than playing in a park or vacant field, we got the bright idea to play on an actual football field this year, and thus took over the Camp Hill field at Siebert Park. Artificial turf! And as it turns out, I brought my soccer cleats and found the conditions to be glorious.

Now, because we’re all near or over 40, we realized there was simply no way we’d be able to use the entire field. So, we opted to cut the field in half, both by length and width. In other words, our playing surface was roughly 50 yards by 26 yards. Again, we’re old.

We won the coin toss and elected to kick off in the first half. Not a bad strategy, though we foolishly “kicked off” (threw the ball) directly to Avery, who proceeded to run it back for the opposing team’s first (and only) score. Down 1-0, we marched down the field and returned the favor. Now, I can’t quite remember if it was Mitch or Josh who threw our opening score, but I can say for certain that I was on the receiving end.

Tied at 1-1, we elected to have Matt punt the kick-off, which was a huge mistake. I think the ball traveled 10 yards directly out of bounds. Fortunately our defense stepped up and held them scoreless, as would be the case for the remainder of the event. Meanwhile, I caught two more touchdown passes: the first was behind me in the end zone, forcing me to contort my body mid-air; the second was pretty much a jump ball between myself and Pete. Pete managed to get a hand on the ball and tip it, only he tipped it straight up and I managed to come down with it in the end zone.

On the defensive end, Josh managed to knock down a couple would-be receptions, while Matt S. took a shot to the ribs in the opening event (which would force him to later wrap himself like a burrito, though I sadly don’t have any pictures).

When the dust settled, we walked away with a 3-1 victory, thus setting the tone for the day.

Football2

Red stifles “Blue” (Nice “blue” shirt, Matt!) (Red, l to r: Matt S., Josh, Brandon, Mitch) (“Blue,” l to r: Nick, Matt B., Pete, Avery)

Football Final Score: M, M, J and B defeat M, P, N and A, 3-1
Event MVP: Tie, Brandon and Josh
Overall Score: We (M, M, J and B) lead Them (M, P, N and A), 1-0

Event 2: Tennis

Rules:

  • Two sets of doubles;
  • One set per match;
  • If each team wins one match, a third match is played (best two sets out of three); and
  • No third set tiebreaker.

Mitch and Josh (the stronger of our two teams, and Matt S. and I pretty much don’t play anymore) took on Matt B. and Pete in match 1, while Matt S. and I battled Nick and Avery in match 2. Although we played on courts alongside one another, the matches were played simultaneously, so I didn’t really have an opportunity to watch the other match. As it turns out, I don’t think I really would have had a chance to watch, as Mitch and Josh demolished their opponents by a score of 6-1.

Our match, however, was a nail-biter. Every game but one, I believe, went to deuce, and pretty much every one of those games had multiple deuces. We jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, though quickly fell behind 4-2, and later 5-4. Our opponents had three match points against us at that point, yet failed to convert. Somehow we managed to get it back to 5-5, and eventually went on to take the match down with a 7-5 victory. I give the credit to Matt S., who did a fine job at the net. And while I certainly improved as the match went on, I never felt comfortable. Kudos to Nick and Avery, who both played well. Their effort, however, was all for naught.

(I should note that Mitch and Josh provided wonderful video commentary of our match; however, I’m too cheap to pay for the premium version of WordPress, so video uploads aren’t an option. You’ll have to take my word that they exist.)

IMG_0924

Matt and Brandon, awaiting serve

IMG_0925

Avery and Nick, serving

IMG_0930

Matt B. and Pete can only watch

Tennis1

An unfazed Mitch and Josh and an exhausted Brandon and Matt S. celebrate their respective victories.

Tennis Final Score: M & J defeat M & P, 6-1; M & B defeat N & A, 7-5
Event MVP: Tie, Mitch, Josh and Matt S.
Overall Score: We lead Them, 2-0

Event 3: Home Run Derby

Rules:

  • 3 innings;
  • Each batter gets 3 outs per inning; each team gets 12 outs per inning;
  • 3 strikes equal 1 out;
  • Ball is foul (a strike) if it doesn’t roll forward after contact or hits the net;
  • Balls over the fence are home runs;
  • Balls over the fence may not be caught for outs; and
  • Teammates pitch to one another.

I’m not gonna lie: this one was a bit of a slog, so we shortened it from 5 innings to 3 innings. We realized pretty quickly that there was too much standing around on the part of the non-hitting team, so we figured we’d speed things up a bit. We elected to play on the tennis courts where we just completed our second event, thus hitting from one set of courts onto the other. And while we didn’t measure a distance, we determined the batter should be at the “T” of one court while the pitcher stood on the other side of the net. Complicated explanation, I know.

Courts

My awful, awful depiction of the HR Derby set-up

The other team won the coin toss and elected to be the home team, thus our team batted first. Matt S. hit first, followed by me, then Josh, then Mitch. We were at a huge disadvantage, as Matt’s ribs were a mess following his football injury; thus, he opted to hit one-handed. And believe it or not, he homered. Several times. It was nearly effortless. I, too, hit a few over the fence in my initial at bat. Josh? He popped one, too. Not so much for Mitch.

Going into the last inning, I believe we were down 13-12. Somehow I managed to hit four home runs in my final at bat (8 total), and coupled with my teammates’ homers, we went up 19-13. Matt B. got up to the plate and immediately hit two out, but that was all he could muster. And he didn’t get much help from his teammates, as we ended up taking the event by a final score of 19-17.

HRDerby

Fortunately random strangers continued to walk by to snap pictures

Home Run Derby Final Score: We defeat Them, 19-17
Event MVP: Tie, Brandon & Matt S.
Overall Score: We lead Them, 3-0

Event 4: Bocce

Rules:

  • Team play (red balls vs. black balls);
  • Each player throws one ball per round;
  • One game played to 21;
  • Any part of the field is “in bounds”;
  • Teams may score a max of 4 points per round; and
  • Must win by 2.

Bocce, to my disappointment, was nearly cut this year. Seems some people (ahem, Mitch) weren’t as keen on including it this time around. I, however, fought for it, as I love the game and have performed pretty well in Brolympics past. Funny, then, that we not only played, but that I played so horribly. Fortunately the same can’t be said for teammates.

Rather than playing in an undulating field with patches of dirt and grass, we opted to return to the football field and play on the stretch of turf behind the end zone. So, for once, a flat Bocce “court” would be used. As I’ve noted in the past, we don’t play the typical Bocce game, in that there are no perfectly rectangular sand courts utilized; rather, we chuck that tiny ball wherever the hell we damn well please.

Our opponents got out to a fast 5-0 start, led by Nick’s prowess around the Bocce court. We stormed back, though, and went on (I believe) a 17-0 run. Mitch and Josh both played particularly well, but it was Mitch led us to our fourth straight victory, as we bitch-slapped them yet again.

I should point out that the rain began to fall during Bocce, which was, perhaps, a blessing, as it was crazy humid outside. What’s more, we smelled. Bad.

Bocce

This shot came compliments of the timer on Mitch’s iPhone

Bocce Final Score: We defeat Them, 21-9
Event MVP: Mitch
Overall Score: We lead Them, 4-0

Event 5: Kan Jam

Rules:

  • Two matches, with each match being best 2 games out of 3;
  • If both teams win a match, a third match tiebreaker will be played (best 2 games out of 3); and
  • Games played to 21 exactly.

After a quick stop for food (and the day’s first beers), we opted to reshuffle the order of events, as the rain was beginning to come down pretty good. Cornhole was slated as the fifth event, but the rain would have destroyed the bags, and nobody wants that. So, instead we moved the competition to the parking lot behind Nick’s house, where we decided some rain-saturated Kan Jam could easily take place. (Based on how hard it began to rain, we let our arrogance get the best of us. In fact, it got so bad at one point that we stopped playing completely and took shelter in Mitch’s car.)

In the opening match, we put up Josh and Matt S., our two “weakest” players, after the other team put up Avery and Matt B., who I would consider the strongest Kan Jam competitors among us all. Our strategy was such that we were willing to essentially give up one match if it meant taking the second match and forcing a tiebreaker. (Mitch, for some reason, had trouble with this strategy, though the rest of us agreed it made sense.) Avery and Matt B., seasoned players, easily handled Josh and Matt S., beating them two straight and sending us down 0-1.

And then the rains came…

Rain Delay2

This rain delay is brought to you by Canadian beer (and American beards)

After a lengthy delay, we started the second match. Mitch and I took game 1 from Pete and Nick, and then it happened: Nick slotted his disc in game 2, thus ripping the momentum from us. Game 3 was theirs for the taking. If I’m not mistaken, they were up 20-17, needing only 1 point to win. But they didn’t. And we did.

So, the tiebreaker came to fruition just as I imagined it would: Avery and Matt B. versus me and Mitch. Before Brolympics began, I resigned myself to thinking that Kan Jam was one of the events we would most certainly lose, as we knew they had four solid players. But then something happened. Up 20-13 in game 1, they couldn’t shut the door. Mitch and I got it to 20-19, and eventually forced overtime. And then a second overtime. When the dust settled, I think we ended up winning game 1 by a combined score of 25-24, though none of us were smart enough to write anything down, so who knows.

At this point we needed to win only one of the next two games. And then, on my second throw, I shouted: “Don’t touch it!” as I knew it was going to hit. A second later, as the disc began to make it’s way through the slot, I proclaimed, “It’s in!” That’s right. I slotted my throw to win the game, something I don’t believe I’d ever done before. Upset city. In a race to six wins, things weren’t looking good…

KanJam1

Taken at the Maennerchor later that afternoon, again on Mitch’s iPhone

KanJam2

An attempt to jump and high-five, as it was our fifth win (so dumb, I know)

Kan Jam Final Score: M & B defeat A & M, 2-0
Event MVP: Tie, Brandon and Mitch
Overall Score: We lead Them, 5-0

Event 6: Cornhole

Rules:

  • Two matches, with each match being best 2 games out of 3;
  • If both teams win a match, a third match tiebreaker will be played (best 2 games out of 3);
  • Games played to 21;
  • “Skunk” in effect (meaning 11-0 wins the game); and
  • Must win game by 2 points.

While I knew that we had a chance at Cornhole, I also realized it wasn’t a good one, particularly because our best Cornholer was still nursing that rib injury, thus making it difficult for him to throw the bags. Additionally, I knew coming in that they would likely dominate us in this event, as Matt B. is easily the best Cornholer I’ve ever seen, and his teammates — particularly Avery — have game, as well. Still, I had hope all the same, although very little. Okay, none.

Following the rain debacle, we all made our way to our separate headquarters, showered, and agreed to meet back at the Maennerchor for Cornhole, Pool, Darts and Shuffleboard. Fortunately Nick was good enough to call ahead and ask if we could use their upstairs space for Cornhole, as the rain outside simply wouldn’t allow it. And the folks at Das Maennerchor were good enough to comply.

IMG_1029

Matt S., full extension

Nick and Matt B. took on Matt S. and Mitch in match 1, with their team winning both games in a sweep, putting them up 1-0. Match 2, while close, ended in similar fashion.

IMG_1968

While waiting for our match, Pete fashioned a “speaker” for his iPhone out of a clip-on lamp

Avery and I stood at one end, while Josh and Pete stood at the other. And although I started slowly, I certainly came on, with Avery and I throwing many “no blood” rounds against one another to the point of sheer amazement. In the end, though, the other guys finally got off the schneid and took us down two games to none, thus eliminating the chance of a Brolympics shutout. Oh, well. They earned it.

IMG_1047

The bad guys win one. (Where are your goddamn shirts, Nick and Avery?!)

Cornhole Final Score: They defeat Us, 2-0
Event MVP: Tie: Avery, Matt B., Nick and Pete
Overall Score: We lead Them, 5-1

Event 7: Pool

Rules

  • Two matches,  with each match being best 2 games out of 3;
  • If both teams win a match, a third match tiebreaker will be played (best 2 games out of 3);
  • 8-Ball (must call pockets);
  • Alternate shot; and
  • Scratch on the 8-Ball is a loss only if cue ball is also pocketed; and

Bowling was slotted as the seventh competition, but we opted to put it on hold in the interest of time and instead move forward with Pool. The event got somewhat controversial, which will become clear as to why in a moment. (Granted, we’d been drinking a lot by this point, so I guess it goes without saying that controversy wasn’t far behind.) Like Kan Jam, Mitch and I realized we were the superior players on our team, having both played in a pool league for several years. Unfortunately, three members on the other team did so, as well, thus putting us at yet another disadvantage. It seemed that we defied the odds in several instances all day, though, so there was no need to believe we wouldn’t do so here, either.

In match 1, Matt S. and Josh squared off against Avery and Pete, whereas Mitch and I contested Nick and Matt B. in match 2. Their match didn’t last long, as it appeared that Pete went apeshit in the first game and cleaned up rather quickly. They took game 2, as well, thus putting us in an 0-1 hole. (I should note that these matches were played simultaneously.) We lost the first game in our match, but stormed back to take the next two games, thus tied at one match apiece. (Again, I should note that, like Kan Jam and Cornhole, I wanted to do a best of five rather than a best of three. I was outvoted. Dicks.)

IMG_1057

Pete: “Have any of you seen our dignity?”

So, then, here’s where the controversy arose. The other team believed that they should have the option of putting up the two players of their choosing, yet we insisted that the winning team should be the one to play in the Finals. In other words, if two players won their match, those same two players move on. After much discussion/debate, we agreed to let each team put up whoever they wanted, and they opted to go with Nick and Pete, whereas we stuck with myself and Mitch. And we won.

IMG_1060

Mitch’s selfie game is on point, yo

Game over.

Pool1

Champions

Pool Final Score: M & B defeat N and P, 2-0
Event MVP: Mitch
Overall Score: We win, 6-1

So what does this mean? It means we needed only seven events to take down the fourth “annual” Brolympics. Sad, really, that we had to leave so many events on the table, but seeing as how we’d been at it for roughly 13 (drunken) hours at this point, so be it. To be fair to our opponents, us four have been playing these stupid games as a group for many, many years. Losing simply wasn’t an option, and other stupid cliches. What’s more, nobody outside our locker room believed in us. (That may very well be the worst sports cliche of them all.)

Currently, the ref’s shirt/”cup” remains unsigned, so we still need to get our hands on a white Sharpie to etch our names into the trophy, so to speak. What’s more, we need to line up competition for the next Brolympics. Any takers among you? If so, start getting your team together. Competition welcome.

Until the next Brolympics, have at it, you vultures!

CB

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Responses

  1. You idiot, I would have been your ref..

    • Goddammit! We were scrambling for a ref/photographer.

      • Whatever!

      • Oh, and that’s my home field and tennis court too! I was probably there later that day.

        • That would have changed everything! Thanks a lot for not coming forward, Poppy. Even though you didn’t know about it.

          • Thanks for thinking of me (too late and after I complain of you not thinking of me)! See you next year(as we run into each other awkwardly at the grocery store)!

            • Get off my lawn!

    • Seth – I’m pretty sure I suggested you. Or maybe I wanted to suggest you, but never actually spoke the words. Either way, it’s the thought that counts.

      • For the record, I ALSO suggested Seth. What, were we too lazy to pick up a goddamn cell phone?

  2. Pete L and not Matt B played that last game of pool with Nick.

    • Good catch.

  3. Also, “Several pals had been begging for years to let them into the fold…” is a little misleading. I think it was more like you found 4 reluctant participants that agreed to join the fold after much begging.

    • Perhaps. I mean, it’s a true statement, even if the four of you weren’t necessary the four who were begging…

      • Yeah I was going to ask “Why couldn’t they play?”

  4. By the way I was more proud of that phone speaker than anything else I did all day.

    • Considering the final score, that comes as no surprise.

      • Thank you for closing the loop there Brandon.

  5. Thanks for the invite

    Judd

    >

    • Who?


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