Posted by: cousinbrandon | June 13, 2017

Brolympics 5: Return to Havertown

Blue Team (Matt, Josh, Mitch and Brandon), front

Red Team (Brooksy, Satten, Forwood and Doy), back

On Saturday, June 10, 2017, the original Brolympics gang — myself, Mitchell, Cousin Matt and Cousin Josh — reconvened after last year’s beatdown to once again lay waste to the opposing foursome. This year, however, we teamed up in Havertown (just outside of Philadelphia) to compete against an all new set of pals, featuring (Mike) Brooksy, (Matt) Satten, (Jon) Forwood and Steve “Doy” Gruszka in a 4-on-4, best-of-11, race-to-6-wins Brolympics. These fellas had been asking for quite some time to get in on the event, and we were all too happy to abide. And while I don’t want to give anything way, I can tell you that we had a Brolympics first. Sort of.

This year’s Brolympics consisted of the following (scheduled) events:

  1. Football
  2. Tennis
  3. Wiffle Ball (first appearance, as it replaced the Home Run Derby)
  4. Bocce
  5. Kan Jam
  6. Cornhole
  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 20-minute halves;
  • Two-hand touch;
  • “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.

We broke the rules. But I’ll get back to that.

This year we returned to the site of Brolympics 2: Grange Field. It’s the same place (and event) where Mitch twisted his ankle, which then blew up like Violet in Willy Wonka.

Like last year, 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. For some reason, though, we decided to add 5 minutes onto each half, playing 20-minute halves rather than last year’s 15. We. Are. Dumb.

We lost the coin toss and kicked off to the Red Team. We managed to keep them from scoring on their opening drive, and quickly got the ball for the first time. We then proceeded to go three-and-out, looking absolutely terrible on our first drive. We also realized that this year’s competition was — no offense to last year’s opponents — stiff. They came to play, in that they were bumping off the line, throwing laterals, playing tight man-to-man coverage and even getting on the board first with a touchdown pass on their second drive. I wish I could remember who completed the pass to whom, but I can’t.

I’d love to tell you that I remember all of the details, but all I know is that, after two 20-minute halves, we were tied at two scores apiece. Hot, hungover and exhausted, we made the executive decision to call it a draw, with each team taking a half-point, something that had never happened in Brolympics history. Nobody likes a tie, but I did mention we’re old, yes?

A couple of important notes about the game:

  • While it was an outstanding defensive play, Satten drilled Josh in the end zone, knocking the ball loose and simultaneously breaking(?) his own rib in the process. Great play, but potentially damning for the rest of the competition.
  • With under a minute to play, Josh threw a bomb roughly two-thirds of the length of the field that Mitch caught for an over-the-shoulder touchdown to tie the game at 2 (and earn the tie).

Like kissing your sister. Blue Team (L to R: Matt, Brandon, Mitch and Josh) ties Red Team (L to R: Satten, Doy, Forwood and Brooksy).

Football Final Score: Team Blue ties Team Red, 2-2
Event MVPs: Blue Team, Josh and Mitch; Red Team, Satten and Brooksy
Overall Score: Blue ties Red, 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) took on Doy and Brooksy in match 1, while Matt and I battled Forwood and Satten 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. It wasn’t too difficult to keep tabs on things, though, as the members of the Red Team informed us beforehand that they had no shot at winning tennis. They were right. Mitch and Josh took down their match 6-0, while Matt and I won 6-1. To be fair, had Forwood and Satten managed to get their first serves in, I genuinely think it would have been a close match. But they didn’t. So it wasn’t. I should also note that Mitch plays in a tennis league, so had he lost his match we would have banished him from our team for all of time. And, no, the picture below, while similar, is not identical to the Football shot.

Quick work. Blue Team (L to R: Matt, Brandon, Josh and Mitch) crush Red Team (L to R: Satten, Doy, Forwood and Brooksy).

Tennis Final Score: Mitch and Josh defeat Brooksy and Doy, 6-0; Matt and Brandon defeat Forwood and Satten, 6-1
Event MVP: Tie, Matt and Brandon
Overall Score: Blue Team leads Red Team, 1.5-0.5

Event 3: Wiffle Ball

Rules:

  • 9 innings;
  • Each team gets 3 outs per inning;
  • 3 strikes equal 1 out;
  • Foul ball on strike 3 is an out;
  • A caught ball is an out;
  • Balls off the fence are triples;
  • Balls over the fence are home runs (but can be caught for outs);
  • Ghost runners (can not take extra base);
  • No “fast” pitch; and
  • Teams pitch to the other team.

Because last year’s Home Run Derby was, well, boring, we instead decided to change up and play a straight-up game of Wiffle Ball. And while there may not have been a ton of scoring, it was wildly suspenseful. Plus, there was less standing around, as players from both team were now forced to play defense.

I made an attempt to sketch what the “field” looked like (as we played on a run-down tennis court), but the drawing was simply too crude and added zero value. All you need to know is that we spent entirely too long determining the foul lines. Oh, and we started drinking. Yes, it was a public park with a little league game going on simultaneously, but it was after noon, so…

The Red Team won the coin toss and elected to be the home team, thus our team batted first. Matt hit first, followed by Mitch, then Josh, then me. With Brooksy on the mound, we went down in order in the first. Not sure how the Red Team set their line-up, but they, too, got out of the first frame without scoring, as Matt served as our pitcher with me in left field, Mitch in center and Josh manning the space between pitcher and outfield. Things went on like this for a while. Hits here and there that were snuffed out by great defensive plays, and some deep balls were hit (but caught), thus keeping the score tied at 0-0.

But then, in the 6th inning, Mitch put one over the fence to give Team Blue a 1-0 lead. In the 7th inning, I hit a solo shot of my own, and then hit an RBI double in the same inning, the score at 3-0 going to the bottom of the inning. It remained at 3-0 till the bottom of the 8th, when the Red Team, at long last, got to Matt and began to scratch out hit after hit. They got the game to 3-2 and loaded the bases, but with two outs we got out of the inning. We were held scoreless in the 9th, and after getting two outs in the bottom of the inning, Matt struck out Satten(?) to end the game 3-2.

Brandon and Brooksy, discussing the right field foul line.

Forwood, stationed as “short man” for the Red Team.

Jewyville Sluggers. Blue Team (L to R: Mitch, Matt, Josh and Brandon) defeat Red Team (Doy, Forwood, Brooksy and Satten).

Wiffle Ball Final Score: Blue Team defeats Red Team, 3-2
Event MVPs: Tie, Brandon and Mitch
Overall Score: Blue Team leads Red Team, 2.5-0.5

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.

Pretty sure we didn’t even start Bocce until after 2 o’clock, meaning most of us were tired, hungry, hot and on our way to getting drunk. I, for one, had had nothing to eat all day but a cup of coffee and some fruit snacks. And some beers.

This year we used both baseball diamonds and the football field area of Grange Field for what was a relatively flat playing surfaces populated by large patches of dirt thanks to the baseball infield. We took an early lead in this one, realizing we were having better luck on the longer tosses than the shorter ones. At one point we went up by more than 10 points, but then they slowly chipped away at our lead. When the (baseball field) dust settled, though, the Blue Team defeated the Red Team by a score of 21-11, ending on a game-winning shot by Mitch.

 

Mitch with the backspin toss.

Mitch with the backspin toss (again) as Brandon, Forwood, Doy, Josh and Broosky look on.

Bocce balls! The Blue Team (L to R: Mitch, Matt, Brandon and Josh) defeats the Red Team (L to R: Satten, Doy, Forwood and Brooksy).

Bocce Final Score: Blue Team defeats Red Team, 21-11
Event MVP: Mitch and Matt
Overall Score: Blue Team leads Red Team, 3.5-0.5

Event 5: Kan Jam

Rules:

  • Two matches, with each match being best 3 games out of 5;
  • If both teams win a match, a third match tiebreaker will be played (best 3 games out of 5); and
  • Games played to 21 exactly.

After four events, lunch and several beers, we had already been at it for six or seven hours. Holy hell.

Kan Jam took on a similar tone as Tennis, in that it didn’t appear the Red Team favored themselves in the match-up, as tossing the frisbee around was not their strong suit, apparently, and they gladly would have replaced Kan Jam (or Tennis) with Basketball. Still, the games continued as planned, because A) we love Kan Jam; and B) it’s our fuckin’ Brolympics and we’ll do as we goddamn please!

In an effort to speed things along, we played both matches simultaneously. In match 1, which took place on Matt’s front lawn (and was, therefore, less than the requisite 50 feet between kans), Josh and Matt took on Forwood and Brooksy. In match 2, which took place in Matt’s ridiculously long driveway, Mitch and I took on Satten and Doy.

First, let me say that Josh had never — ever — won a game of Kan Jam, both in Brolympics or casual play, because, up until recently, he could barely throw a frisbee. In the last month or so, though, he taught himself to throw left-handed, and, well, it paid off. In match 1, Matt and Josh won three games to none. In match 2? Well, it was more of the same, with Mitch and I winning three games to none. Aside from a close game in the first match, there wasn’t a whole lot of drama. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the event. Throwing things into things. And because it was his first-ever win, I’m awarding the co-MVPs accordingly.

 

Kanned Heat! Blue Team defeats Red Team (as photographed perched atop the shrub next to Matt’s house).

Kan Jam Final Score: Matt and Josh defeat Forwood and Brooksy, 3-0 (19, 14 and 12); Mitch and Brandon defeat Doy and Satten, 3-0 (8, 7 and 12)
Event MVPs: Tie, Josh and Matt
Overall Score: We lead Them, 4.5-0.5

Event 6: Cornhole

Rules:

  • Two matches, with each match being best 3 games out of 5;
  • If both teams win a match, a third match tiebreaker will be played (best 3 games out of 5);
  • Games played to 21;
  • “Skunk” in effect (meaning 11-0 wins the game); and
  • Must win game by 2 points.

This was it. The first event we fully expected to lose. Most of the events (aside from Tennis and Kan Jam) were head-scratchers, as we really had no idea of what to expect from the opposition. Cornhole, though, was another story entirely, as we knew the Red Team was composed of four guys who played regularly, one of whom (Satten) was really good. Our only real saving graces were A) Satten’s rib injury; and B) the fact that we had three pretty good players of our own in Matt, Josh and Mitch. I hadn’t played Cornhole since the last Brolympics aside from two random games, and I was never great to begin with.

We decided to stick with the same teams as last year, which meant that Mitch and Matt played together in match 1, taking on Forwood and Doy. I prayed for a victory, as I knew our chances of beating Brooksy and Satten were slim to none. In the opening game, Mitch and Matt skunked them 12-0. They went on to take the second game, 21-12. And before I knew it, the match had ended, with Mitch and Matt defeating the opposition 21-6 in the third and final game. If nothing else, this boded well for the would-be tiebreaker match, as Mitch and Matt played well.

Josh and I were up, and miraculously, on my very first toss, I put it right through the hole. Not sure I even hit the board with my other three. This, though, would be something of a theme in our match. While I don’t remember the scores, I can tell you that we won the first game. Brooksy and Satten came back to win the second game. And then they won the third game, too, going up two games to one. I had accepted our fate, but then something happened. We started scoring points. Consistently. And with that, we took game four, evening the match at two games apiece. Up 8-6 in the final game, Josh had a 7-point round, quickly building our lead to 15-6. And somehow, miraculously, we held on to win it. Sadly, again, I have no idea what the scores of our games were, as I was drunk and tired and not writing anything down. (Thanks, by the way, to Matt, who managed to record most of the scores prior to this one.) Again, I have to believe the outcome would have been different had a healthy Satten been playing. Still, I might have played the best Cornhole of my life that day, as Brooksy continuously mocked me throughout, mimicking my natural reaction to shrug my shoulders and throw my hands out every time I threw a bag through the hole. It shocked me, truly, every time.

With another event under our belt, we needed only one more to take the whole thing down.

Satten watches on as Brandon goes into his wind-up.

Josh looks barefoot, drunk and confused as Brooksy stares at his fate.

Matt and Doy enjoy a beer during match 2.

We put it right in their Cornhole! Blue Team (L to R: Brandon, Mitch, Josh and Matt) defeats Red Team (L to R: Forwood, Satten, Brooksy and Doy).

 

Cornhole Final Score: Mitch and Matt defeat Doy and Forwood, 3-0; Josh and Brandon defeat Brooksy and Satten, 3-2
Event MVPs: Tie, Matt and Brandon
Overall Score: Blue Team leads Red Team, 5.5-0.5

Event 7: Bowling

Rules:

  • Each player bowls two games; and
  • Total combined team pins from both games wins.

This was the first time we’d bowled since Brolympics 2, and the first team we’d bowled in the four-on-four format. Josh, most of all, was very excited about this event, as he’d actually bowled a few games the day prior. I had no expectations for bowling, but had always been decent enough to hold my own, and I knew the same was the case for Mitch and Matt. The Red Team, then, was the wildcard, as I had no idea about their abilities as bowlers. Again, needing only one event for the overall victory, we were focused. But drunk. Very drunk. Thankfully the alley had a bar so we could continue to drink while simultaneously honing that focus. (And by “focus,” I mean “drunk.”)

The opening game was tight. Very tight. After 10 frames, we led them by a combined score of 447-442. We knew that we needed to take Bowling, as a loss here meant we’d then have to get into the “bar games,” an area we would likely be somewhat susceptible. We drank. And we bowled. And we drank. And we bowled. And with a single frame left, Mitch went 9-spare-strike in the 10th frame. And just like that, our lanes went dark! He rolled that final strike, and the power just blew in our lanes. Still, we had a hefty lead by that time, so the strike was ancillary. Had it recorded his score correctly, I think Mitch rolled a 163 in game two, and our team beat them handily by a score of 554-417.

And with that, the competition portion of the evening came to an end.

My bowling shoes and socks game is strong.

Game 1 results.

Game 2 results.

Hey, gents. Let’s bowl some balls. Red Team (L to R: Brooksy, Doy, Forwood and Satten) defeated by Blue Team (L to R: Brandon, Josh, Matt and Mitch).

Pool Final Score: Blue Team defeats Red Team, 1001-859
Event MVP: Mitch
Overall Score: Blue Team wins, 6.5-0.5

The (drunken) face of victory (at McSorleys Pub).

Like last year, we needed only seven events to win this year’s Brolympics. Yet despite the final score, the competition was fierce. Every event (other than Kan Jam and Tennis) was competitive, and best of all the opposition was in great spirits through out. No complaining, no long faces. I don’t know how many times I heard the Red Team say “I’m having a blast!” and “This is so much fun.” Mad respect to those guys, who are welcome back any time. After Bowling, we went to the bar next door, shot pool, played shuffleboard, and drank some more while a Beatles cover band played in the corner and the bartender mean-mugged everyone. Weird. Oh, and then we went to Wawa, because of course we did.

Before concluding this year’s Brolympics, I wanted to include a list of “highlights,” as texted to me the following day by Mitch. So, I give you now a recap of the best of Brolympics 5, according to Mitch:

  1. Highly crushable beer is the best beer.
  2. Epic is never epic.
  3. Honey Bbq Frito Twists are the best things ever when paired with your midnight Wawa hoagie (and a drunk).
  4. “You gonna fight or fuck?”
  5. Ribs don’t care whether you use flags or not.
  6. Bowling is the best event.
  7. Our shirts are awesome, except when we all wear them at the same time (paraphrasing Satten).
  8. Josh came REALLY close to throwing up in my Pilot.
  9. We’ll never get to play darts and shuffleboard, and we won’t ever sniff a game of Beirut (Beer Pong).
  10. Showers made a difference.
  11. Goodbye tennis, hello basketball.
  12. Josh KAN really throw a frisbee — it takes practice!
  13. And, frisbess don’t really hurt, except when Satten hits you in the temple.
  14. I hit a strike in “The Natural” fashion to end my bottom of the 10th frame (epic!).
  15. Philly-challenging bros > Harrisburg-challenging bros.
  16. We need to set a date for 2018.

The true MVP, according to Mitch.

I’d say that we now need to line up competition for the next Brolympics, but I’m pretty certain these four are more than happy to enact their revenge. If not, 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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