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June 16, 2012 - Brandon Marx

The Debacle that was the Best of the West 2012

Hello there children, gather ‘round to hear a tale of woe and anarchy. Listen closely as I weave a story so full of despair, you’ll find it difficult to accept as truth. Children, I present you with the story of…the 2012 Best of the West. *thunder cackles and lightning strikes*

Our story begins on Friday the 18th, at a little place called Stingers in Phoenix, AZ. Most of ABQ arrived too late to participate in this event, save for Sonny, Glaser, Edan, and Corey. I arrived in time to watch the last few games, and to see Gracia and Arnold take down the first of what would be many AZ wins that weekend. It was late, and I wanted to make sure to get to the hotel party in plenty of time, so we left before the women’s event ended. We got back to the hotel and it was awesome. Every room the hotel had was for us. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like the pong invasion of Super 8. It was like Spring Break in the desert: screaming, drinking, ponging. It was a good time, the perfect way to lull me into a false sense of complacence. Things were looking like another great BoW year, and I looked forward to the following day.

Saturday the 19th: a day that will live in infamy, yada yada. Surprisingly, the tournament started only an hour late, which was an improvement on years past. ABQ girls got started right off the bat with two match wins before DCD even got it’s first game in. Beth kept her streak going, as DCD swept its first two rounds, and lost only a single game in the third. Drinks were plenty, rounds moved along at a pretty good pace. And then tragedy struck! A girls squad member for ABQ, Brittney, was escorted out of the bar just before the last prelim match. She hadn’t prepared for a 14 hour drink-a-thon, and the alcohol won her over.

Pongtroversy begins….NOW!

I talked to Beth, and we all knew getting a sub was probably out of the question, but Beth thought the least she could do was ask Chris. What’s the worst that could happen? He could have (and in retrospect should have) just told her no, and let the girls play with a player short. But, as luck (lol) would have it, Chris told Beth she could have a sub play the remaining games. Luckily we had another ABQ female just hanging out at the bar, so she played the game. Everything’s all well and good, prelims are finished, and we all settle in for the two hours it takes to figure out seeding.

The top four squads for the women’s were announced, and AZ apparently came in at 5th place, just behind ABQ by a single game. The AZ girls figured out that ABQ used a sub for the last match, and confronted Chris about it. After listening to the AZ girls, Chris decided to reverse his earlier decision, and told ABQ they would have to play against AZ for the fourth spot. AZ won that match, and eventually the whole tournament. I don’t cast any blame on the AZ girls for what happened, they played damn good and earned their win. I blame the terrible decision making that put each of the squads in that position in the first place, which ruined the ABQ girls’ chance at a fair tournament. Who’s to say our single girl couldn’t have won by herself? Luckey did it later on so it isn’t outside the realm of possibility, but we will never know.

Anyway, at this point it was pretty obvious Gracia had gotten obliterated, as he was stumbling around trying to pack up tables all while this drama was going down. I turned to Mooney and Greg, who were frantically trying to fix all the problems. Mooney was extremely stressed, so I left him to the work of sorting the men’s seed. Later on he came up to me and Beth and apologized for how it went down, which was pretty cool of him and I appreciated it.

On to the men’s! The two AZ squads got the 1st and 2nd seeds, followed by ABQ. I don’t remember the seeds of everyone after that, except that Las Vegas was 6th, and NorCal was in there somewhere, probably 4th, as well as OGP. I do, however, remember exactly who was the 8th seed. This is good, if you’ve stopped paying attention listen up, you don’t wanna miss this!

After finishing the seeding, the top 8 squads were announced. San Diego was read as the 8th seed, and El Paso was told they were the 9th. Shit luck, but what are you gonna do? They said their goodbyes, and headed back to the hotel. Suddenly, the organizers notice a problem! SD wasn’t actually the 8th seed, El Paso was! Haha, good joke guys! That was a close one, let’s just give them a call and get em back here. Wait, you don’t want to call them? You just want to let San Diego keep the 8th seed? That doesn’t seem right, does it?

None of the organizers tried to call El Paso, but luckily beer pong is a closely knit community, and we all have each other’s numbers, so Mark was called by somebody and he got his team to head back to the bar within ten minutes of being called. He confronts Chris, and Chris tells him it’s too late. It sounds like a bad joke, but Mark was seriously told that it was too late, SD got to play the match instead of El Paso, and that was it, El Paso was sent back to the hotel a second time.

And the fun keeps coming! AZ East played the first round of playoffs, and were told over the loud speaker by Mooney that it was a best 3-5 series, just like each game of prelims. Keep in mind this is how it was done last year. After the first round, one of their players (Adam) lost his game, and was told that his squad was eliminated. Understandably, he left the bar. Then Gracia remembered that, no, it’s supposed to be a best-of-3 series for each game in the match. Whoops, that’s ok at least they figured that out in the first round, right? Too bad Adam already left, and couldn’t be reached to get him back.

Moving right along. ABQ narrowly beat Las Vegas in round 1, and faced AZ East in round 2. Ben and I completely shut down and were embarrassingly defeated by Luckey shooting only a single ball (remember, his teammate had left the bar after being told he was eliminated). Luckey is amazing, and I am terrible, that’s how that one went. We ended up losing the round by a single game. I was sad, and felt terrible for El Paso and the ABQ girls, and really wanted to get out of that damn bar. We hung out for a little while, finishing our drinks and commiserating with one another. Half an hour later, we gathered by the limos to head back to the hotel. I was exceedingly drunk, and still reeling a bit from the loss, and so called it a night, missing out on all the drunken pool shenanigans. Damn being old!

The next morning I woke up and scanned facebook for all the drama posts (gotta love em), only to see one by Gabe saying that it looks like we missed our chance to play for third. Wait a tic, play for third? Why would we play for third, it’s not like there was a prize for third. Oh, I see, there was a prize. A prize that was never at any point announced. I went back and checked, you can trust me on that one! Not on the facebook event, not over the mic during all the tedious captains meetings, and not after we were eliminated during the thirty minutes we were hanging out at the bar. I’ve been told there was a third place prize last year, though I didn’t know that at the time. That’s probably my fault then, but it still wasn’t announced anywhere for this year. Ask me if I got a phone call from anyone telling me to come back to the bar to play for third. Ask me if any other player on our team got a phone call. Those who disagree with me say that it isn’t anyone else’s responsibility to get a hold of me, and that it’s my responsibility as captain to know these things. Fine, I’m not above that criticism. Call it a decency thing, then. Even if you don’t like me, I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like Glaser. Call him, he felt just as sore over the whole thing as I did. The third place prize hasn’t yet been distributed, so I’m still not sure how that will be handled, though challenges have been issued back and forth between NorCal and ABQ for a skype match. That should be fun if it happens.

So children, with that terrible taste in my mouth, I bid adeu to Phoenix and what was once the best weekend of the year. We drove off into an eclipsed sunset, which was actually a pretty awesome way to end the weekend.

I guess I should also mention that AZ East beat AZ West in the finals, even with a player short, which is damned impressive. I don’t want to take away from their accomplishment, especially with all the drama their dealing with on their own right now. AZ did ultimately sweep the weekend, which is not an easy task and they should feel proud for having done it. If BoW happens again next year, even though I won’t be there, I have no doubt it’ll be a vast improvement, and I know ABQ will still attend. We just wish you’d call us, maybe?

– Clawless

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