Let us preface this recollection by sending our condolences to all people who have lost loved ones in a war or conflict. Let us never forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Here’s hoping each and every active soldier gets home safely. And soon.
Happy Memorial Day.
It was the best of times. Not “and the worst of times”. Even for AJR, whose side of the story you’ll hear later, could this be considered a bad day.
Because we went to a hippie school, not only were we in session until early June, but we never got Memorial Day Monday off from classes. For the first three years, we grabbed our ankles and did our best Kevin Bacon impression. “Thank you sir, may I have another?” But not this year. No way. We were going to Memorialize.
I remember waking up with more excitement and anticipation than a Jewish Princess on her 16th birthday. Calls were made, food and beer were purchased, coals were lit, and by 10am there were at least a dozen of us camped out in the middle of campus, sitting in our lawn chairs holding a cold beer.
At a school with less than 2,000 intellectuals, the sight of 12-15 large athletes, and a couple of token girls, drinking booze and eating red meat in public was horrifying. For that one day, we owned campus.
Colonel Cool made it his goal to wish every passerby a Happy Memorial Day. Anyone that didn’t respond with a similar gesture, was immediately sent in to Senator McCarthy’s office. Fuckin’ Reds. We even had a couple of those mousy professors intentionally take the long way around our gathering, as if we heathens might lessen their self-worth.
Side note from dmk: I had an Israeli-Palestinian Conflict class that day around 12:30. I went into class, drunk, wearing a basketball jersey and my duct-taped sandals. Throughout class I kept my sunglasses on. My protege had to nudge me every once in awhile to keep me awake. Other class members were openly mocking me. It was a splendid way to begin the day.
It was a glorious day, weather wise. The sun was shining down on us, as we tossed baseballs and footballs across the grassy knoll. Most of those gathered that day, intentionally skipped class(es) in honor of those who gave their life for our freedoms. Some did not, and we had numerous acquaintances, including AJR, that stopped by for 10 minutes to enjoy a juicy bratwurst or a handful of chips. I remember calling my dad sometime before noon, just as the buzz was starting to kick in. He knew something was going on, and asked me what I was doing. I told him we were Memorializing. He loved it. He had always assumed we had no class on Memorial Day, and I reminded him what happens when you assume. I’m pretty sure he told me at that moment that he had never been prouder of me. I’m still not sure if he was serious or sarcastic. Either way I wouldn’t be surprised.
Sometime early afternoon, the clouds gathered above and it started raining. At first, it wasn’t enough to dampen the mood. But soon enough it became too much for us to handle considering our house was six blocks away. Some left the site and went to class, while the rest packed up shop and moved the Memorialization to our off-campus house.
For some reason, I’m guessing it was the alcohol, a few of our drunkest friends decided to go play horseshoes in our yard, in the middle of the downpour. It must have looked fun, because within a few minutes the remaining six in the house joined in. As with most drunken episodes, the reasoning behind your actions gets lost in the shuffle, and this was certainly the case here. Somehow, the horseshoe game turned into a mud fight and we all ended up covered in mud, i.e. Arnold in Predator.
Here comes the interesting part. At four o’clock that afternoon, our group’s intramural softball team was to play in the championship game against AJR and the arch-rival gang from the grade below. As two-time defending champs and still undefeated, they were the dominant team. Our team was a legacy that was passed down to us from the grades above, and our core group of players were role players on the previous few teams. We weren’t bad, but never good enough to win a title.
At the start of the 2006 season, our goal was to beat AJR and the Juniors and take home the championship. As the season progressed we became less and less focused on the games and more focused on how many unopened beers were in the dugout. Fortunately, for us, we went to a hippie school and no one else could play softball worth a shit, so we pounded most everybody even while drinking between at-bats. We had lost a game to AJR and company in the regular season, and if I remember right, it wasn’t even close.
So here we come rolling up to the title game, just as the weather clears. Half of our team is fairly sober and wearing the appropriate team uniform. The other half is beyond drunk and covered in mud. At that point we could not have cared less who won the game. Since it was the championship game we decided to step it up a notch, and brought our beers out of the dugout and onto the field with us. Good decisions all around, obviously.
Anyone that has played sports, has had at least one experience of the “Zone” or as Big Daddy Drew calls it, being “FUCKING INTO IT”. It’s that moment, or ideally continuous moments, where you feel unstoppable and you notice nothing other than the task at hand. That’s what our entire team was like that afternoon. We were “FUCKING INTO IT”. We jumped all over the opposition and they never mounted much of a threat.
I’ll let AJR step in and describe it from his point of view:
For AJR26, the Memorial Day full of glee, happiness and a championship for GldnKnight, dmk, and Colonel Cool channels nothing but shitty memories. More on that later.
In almost three full seasons, we had never lost an IM softball game coming into the championship (26-0). In addition, the opponents were our elders, and we wanted nothing more than to have them lose to us in the title game for the second consecutive season.
These reasons were important, but the true reason this game meant a lot was due to the fact that I hate to lose. I am a winner. In fact, all of us who post on Icy-Hot Sensations are winners. It sounds pretentious, but the men on this blog and the friends we surround ourselves with are better than many people in the world at an assortment of different activities, trivial or important.
That being said, both sides wanted this game more than either class year was going to let on. To add fuel to the fire, the elders’ starting pitcher was Benedict Arnold, Jr.. The cunt had played on our team for two straight springs, and she suddenly decided to play with her grade level, even though she was never asked prior to that season. Fucking whore.
There are only a few things I remember from the actual game, because the rest have been removed from my depressing memory bank:
1.) How well dmk and GldnKnight’s squad hit the ball and how poorly my team hit.
2.) My personal two-run homerun.
3.) A bullshit, drunken call which ended any hope that my team had of coming back from a deficit, but ultimately did not alter the outcome of the game.
We lost the game that Memorial Day. Immediately following the game, I remember sitting in the dugout experiencing a wave of emotions. Anger. Frustration. Disappointment. Disbelief. It sucked big time monkey cock. We weren’t supposed to lose.
It was not until we reclaimed our title a year later, in our senior season, that I understood what that championship game and Memorial Day was all about. If I we had to lose a game, I would not have wanted to fall to any other team or group of people, who were in their final days of college and just out there having fun.
I guess 35-1 will do.
Just picture it. AJR and his proud team were decked out in their best softball gear and had been living for this game the last couple of weeks. Across the way, you’ve got guys caked in mud with their name and number scratched into their backs, drinking Busch Light by the gallon, jumping in the river, pretty much thinking about anything other than the softball game. Yet somehow, we won. Convincingly. 15-4.
I’m pretty sure we would have given Jennie Finch and the U.S.A. softball team a run for their money that day. Sometimes it’s better to be stupid than good.
We were pumped. Not necessarily because we won. But I think the irony of the whole situation was more entertaining than anything else.
That day, the better team won. But not the more deserving team.
A good friend of ours summed up this day perfectly:
“A nap on a Monday is a good day. Today… was a GREAT day!”
Happy Memorial Day!