His Liver Grew Three Sizes That Day: A Weekend Around The UW/Cal Game

We’re in the airport.
We’re on the plane.
We’ve landed in San Francisco.
We’re getting picked up by our good friend Rondell.
We’re drinking a couple Moscow Mules.
We drop the car off at Rondell’s garage.

We’re in the Bar None on Union Street.  We’re playing beer pong.  It’s like beer pong, only the cups are teeny and the floors are a sopping mess.  Imagine the grungiest public bathroom you’ve ever been in.  It’s just a small, square room with a toilet that has a broken toilet seat, a sink with a constantly-dripping faucet and a rust line down to the drain, a mirror with a big crack in it, a picture of a giant set of hairy balls in Sharpie on the wall, and a light bulb hanging from the ceiling with one of those pull-chains.  In this bathroom, there’s a bucket and a mop in the corner.  The proprieter of the establishment hasn’t changed the water in that mop for a month.  Every morning before he opens, he slops around a bunch of that black, diseased bucket water on the floor.  Not so much cleaning the filth as spreading it around evenly, coating as much of the floor as possible.  Then, he puts the mop back in the bucket, pulls off the light, and calls it Good Enough.

That floor that I just described:  that’s the floor of the Bar None.  And it, is, AWESOME.

Maybe where you come from they have beer pong at every other bar.  But, where I come from – Seattle – they’re scarce.  Beer pong in Seattle is reserved for Husky tailgates and Taylor Family Get-Togethers.  Beer pong isn’t for sale – or rent – in a public setting where you can challenge any dick in the yard you come across.  It isn’t NEARLY as challenging, since most normal people use normal-sized cups.  And, quite frankly, it isn’t nearly as civil.

Rules are established, games are played.  No bitching.  Or, at least, not as much bitching as there would be if you’re exclusively playing friends and family.  When the biggest issue is worrying about someone’s elbow being near the edge of the table or not, consider the night a Kumbaya-My-Lord-like success.

Our first opponents were a couple of Russian guys who were later found to be snorting cocaine in the bathroom.  Suffice it to say, Bar None’s doping regulations COULD be better.  But, we handled them with relative ease.  Shockingly enough, I didn’t start out the night completely worthless at beer pong.  Who knew?  Our next opponents arrived as most of the beer pong area cleared out.  I want to say there are 3-4 beer pong tables in the beer pong area because there’s no way I can be wrong.  It was either 3 or 4.  Anyway, I was concerned about getting run off the table and not getting another shot to come back.

Our next opponents were a couple of Latinos, and they kicked off a 5-game series for the ages.

I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but we were down 2 games to 1 going into the 4th game.  On our team, there were three guys, so one guy always had to rotate out.  I think we kicked off with me and Colin, which was a win.  I know I sat out one of the next two games, and I’m almost positive they were both losses.  I jumped back into the 4th game with Rondell; this was my 4th game of the night.  Each game had 10 cups, each side had about half a pitcher.  Suffice it to say, I was at the height of drunkenness in that 4th game.  I want to say we had a serious comeback in this game and I want to say I hit two of the final three cups, including the closer to win it.  Yes!  In fact, that game was sent to overtime, three cups.  I hit the first and the last in overtime because I was in some kind of remarkable zone.  I had given it all I had.  I knew if I came back for a fifth game, it would be Michael Jordan playing for the Wizards all over again.

Little did I know (mostly because my drunken math skills are even worse than my already-terrible sober math skills) that the series was tied 2-2 and we had one more game to go.  Colin and I gave it all we had, but it wasn’t enough.  We went home defeated, but with a newfound respect for the Latino beer ponging skills of what’s his name and whose-its.

We’re walking to Rondell’s apartment.
We step onto the roof of his building, soaking in the view of the city.
We arrange ourselves in the apartment.
We sleep.
We sleep until noon.
We have a nice late breakfast at some diner.
We have a nice walk around the city.
We buy mixers for later.
We wait for Rondell to get home from work.

We take shots!  Shots shots shots shots!  More whiskey than you can shake a stick at.  And then we mixed 8 shots of vodka into each of our Gatorades and got a ride from the Lyft car service.

If you’re not familiar, apparently it’s only in San Francisco?  Anyway, it’s for anybody.  Anybody can own a car and work for this company.  You contact them via your smart phone – you can see a photo of each driver in your area and where they are on the road via the GPS – you pay via your smart phone, and you tip via your smart phone.  They drive you where you’re going, you give a friendly fist bump, and you’re on your way.  It sounds absolutely amazing, because how often have you waited around forever for a cab that doesn’t show?  It’s bullshit, right?  Right.

Anyway, we got a ride on the BART, we sarged a lady dancer from a local university, we got off in Berkeley, we had some sake and sushi, and we made the long-ass walk to the game.

Oh, and we met some very nice tailgaters who were standing on the side of the road on the way to the game.  And they GAVE us beer.  I shit you not, I don’t know if that has happened at any Husky game I’ve ever been to.  I guess either we were just lucky, or most other fans are freer with their booze.  They even gave us cookies!  God damn.  Hospitality, I tell ya.

We’re walking for days through campus.
We’re entering the stadium.
We’re walking to our seats.
We’re there with five minutes remaining before the game.

I want to say the smartest thing we did was not bring any alcohol to the game, except one of us did.  Fortunately, I think it was only the one soda with some vodka in it, split between three of us, so it wasn’t that bad.

What do I remember about that game?  Shawn Hochuli.  That’s what I remember about this game.  There’s never a bigger fucking tragedy in any sporting event than when the main referee or umpire decides he’s going to make the whole fucking thing about himself.

I also remember penalties.  An endless string of penalties.  And turnovers.  Good GOD the turnovers!

I remember thinking we were getting jobbed on some of these calls.  Certain things weren’t getting reviewed that I thought SHOULD have been reviewed.  Certain things were overturned that I thought SHOULDN’T have been overturned.  I remember the replay guy being very fickle of when he showed replays in the stadium; a sure sign that a play went against the home team is when they don’t show the replay until after the ref has made his final decision.  I remember some of those, where the replay guy didn’t show the replay (THINKING that, since he didn’t show it, that must mean good things for UW) and the call still went against us.  I remember being enraged, but thinking, “What’s the point in yelling and making a bigger ass of myself?  This is what we signed up for.  You go on the road, you’re subjected to the hometown discount.  You have to overcome that if you are truly the better football team, otherwise you don’t really deserve to win.”  In essence, when you’re playing on the road, you can’t just be neutral-site better, you have to be twice as good as that to beat another team in their home stadium.

Especially when the ref decides to hogtie the fucking proceedings and make everyone fucking miserable.

I remember going into halftime simultaneously thinking, “We should be winning this game,” and “We’re lucky we’re not losing by 20 points.”  I remember Cal being pinned at their 8 yard line facing a 2nd and 31, then facing a 3rd and 23 (okay, maybe I don’t remember those exact numbers, but I remember 2nd & forever and 3rd & forever).  I remember them handing off, essentially conceding a punt to us.  And I remember Cal converting that third down with a 64 yard run (or, really, a forever run).

I remember I was seething for most of that third quarter.  Quietly seething.  Unable to speak I was so upset.  Here I was, once again, following this football team on the road.  Here I was, once again, witnessing the worst fucking game in the history of football.

And then, I dunno, something happened.  The cloud was lifted, thanks to the insight of a 6 year old African American Cal fan sitting in front of us.  Him and his 10 year old buddy had some Cal gear on and showed up sometime in the first half.  I want to say those weren’t their seats, but since no one claimed them, there they were.  I should say that we were in a Husky section of the stadium.  Behind one of the endzones.  My seat was directly behind the large pole that houses the field goal net when field goals are kicked.  As such, there was an area in the middle of the field that I could never see.  Fucking obstruction seats.

Anyway, this black kid, he was jawing back and forth at my buddy Rondell.  They were going at it, verbally, and the kid was clowning my boy pretty good.  I could do nothing but laugh and laugh and laugh.  Huge bellowing cackles.  Lifted my mood and somehow led to the Huskies playing a better brand of football.

I remember third and goal from the 29 forever yard line.  I remember thinking we had just blown a great chance at a touchdown because Keith Price didn’t know enough to throw the fucking ball away as opposed to taking a 16-yard sack.  And I remember the sickest fucking catch I think I’ve ever seen at the far endzone on the other end of the stadium.  Austin Seferian-Jenkins.  I mean, my GOD was that a thing of beauty and will and I don’t know what else.

I remember being re-energized.  I remember wanting to stand and shout for the defense, but I remember the old people behind us were bitching.  I remember my friend explaining that the people in front of us were also standing.  I remember an usher coming over and getting everyone to sit down.  I remember seeing some empty rows down lower and I remember bringing my crew down there to finish the game.

I remember just a ridiculous fourth quarter.  I remember, even when we had the lead, thinking this game was going to be blown.  I remember thinking the refs wanted so desperately for Cal to beat us.  And then I remember Shaq Thompson’s interception.  Sweet, sweet Shaq.  We steal him from Cal, he goes on to put the nail in Cal’s coffin in 2012.  The nail of Jeff Tedford’s Cal coaching career to boot!  We handed the ball to Sankey four times and went up by 8 points.  Of course, Cal had one final drive in them, but they didn’t have enough to capture the victory.

I remember wanting to rush the field.  Just me and my two buddies.  The saddest rushing of the field ever.  But, it wasn’t meant to be.

We’re walking out of the stadium.
We’re going to get more sushi, but they’re closing.
We pick up some Thai food instead.
We pick up some Four Loco thereafter.
We’re drinking them out of paper bags, as God intended.
We’re back on the BART.

We’re sarging this one Husky fan, but she was having none of it.  That ride was probably the most entertaining ride of my life.  We had the whole car clapping as we walked out (now, whether they were clapping because they were entertained, or because we were finally leaving, I’ll never know).

We’re on the longest bar crawl known to man.
We’re drinking more beer.
We only actually hit up two bars.
We get sasquatches.
We go back to the apartment.
We somehow figure out how to work Rondell’s TV (little-to-no thanks to him; he who lives in the apartment where the TV resides).
We watch some episodes of The League.
We go to sleep.
We wake up around noon.
We go to Mel’s Diner.
We eat lunch.
We take the longest walk known to man.

We stop for coffee.  It should be known that after lunch, I was as hungover as I’ve ever been.  Hungover, full, with a belly full of chocolate shake and club sandwich.  At the coffee shop, I go in to use the bathroom.  I shit you not, someone saw I was headed to the bathroom and he runs up ahead of me and takes a solid 5-minute dump with me standing outside the entire time.  Thanks for that.

Then we went to some park, took some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, and made the LONG walk back to the apartment.  I got the sit-break that I needed.  We hung out with Rondell’s roommate, watched some New Girl, and made about 5,000 “Do You Even Lift” jokes.

We go to pizza.
We come back to the apartment.
We play some beer pong to pass the time.
We get dressed.
We go out.
We dance.
We drink and we dance with chicks.
We meet up with the B-Man.
We close the bar down.
We go back to the apartment.

We play more beer pong.  Unfortunately, even though it was “Fall Back” Saturday night/Sunday morning, the bars didn’t give us the extra hour’s worth of drinking like we were expecting.  To say we were mildly upset was putting it … mildly.  So, we went back and played beer pong.  This part of the night is only notable because I was losing badly and yet I defeated my good friend Colin by shooting my ball into the cup he was holding in his hand.  I don’t think any one of us had seen that before, so I’m writing it down here for posterity.  That may happen where you play all the time, but for us not so much.

We go to sleep.
We wake up hungover as hell.
We somehow make our way to breakfast.
We have mint tea and bacon and eggs.
We somehow find the will to recover.
We go back to the apartment.
We get a ride to the airport.
We say our goodbyes.

We get off at different terminals.  I flew United, this time without incident.  Still, it’s like teasing the bears.  You don’t want to do it too often, lest you run into some serious trouble down the line.

Colin’s flight was an hour earlier than mine, so I parked myself at an airport bar and watched the morning football game.  Denver at Cincinnati.  I had a large beer and finished probably half of it in 90 minutes.  For some reason, I thought I could handle more drinking before I got on the plane, but I could barely choke down what I did.  Then, I charged my iPod, got on my plane, listened to some podcasts, passed out intermittently, and landed safely without incident.  I took the Link, I saw some happy Seahawks fans leaving the game.  I got off at Westlake and had myself a Taco Del Mar burrito.  Then, I walked home and sat around and did absolutely nothing.

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