I realize that the exact location where Hunter S. Thompson proclaimed that, “We can’t stop here: This is Bat Country,” is somewhere around Barstow, CA; but I consider these entire United States of America as one huge Bat Country, and its capital – its beating, blood-pumping heart – resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. After returning from my second trip to the desert, I am convinced that Las Vegas represents the most, and perhaps last, true bastion of American Freedom, with New Orleans coming in a close 2nd. Where else can you get a drink at anytime, have a smoke anywhere, and gamble everywhere? And nobody fucks with you.
With a free beer in one hand, a smoke in the other, and money on two horse races as well as the Hawks-Bulls game, I felt like Shoeless Joe from Field of Dreams, when he asks Kevin Costner: “Is this Heaven?” Only, instead of replying, “No. This is Iowa,” Kevin says to me, played by Ray Liotta, “No. This is the Sports Book at Caesar’s Palace.” Freedom.
To make things even better was the fact that I had the opportunity to make the trip thanks to one of my dearest friends, who is like the Yin to my Yang. Whereas I’m a little on the reckless and, well, stupid, side, my main Man is super smart and cool, calm, and collected. When I’m worrying about turning $100 into a $1000, my Partner is there to remind me: “One bet at a time jC.” And I keep my Man on his toes and trusting his gut. The whole trip, it was like we were dancin’.
Here’s an example, that really sums up nicely a Vegas buddy trip with two happily married guys (not to each other, to two awesome ladies who couldn’t make the trip; not that there anyhting wrong with that). So we’re walking up The Strip one afternoon, on our way to play a little Craps, and we pass this casino called O’Sheas, and there is this midg- sorry, dwarf, dressed like a leprechaun announcing a Beirut- sorry, Beer Pong tournament. My Partner and I look at each other and nod; little was said. We were getting in on that shit. See, a little about us: we went to Lehigh University; so we know a thing or two about hitting cups. First of all, the fucking game is called Beirut people! But I think at this point, with how ubiquitous the game is, and considering how everybody calls it Beer Pong even though Beer Pong is a completely different game all together, I’ve almost resigned myself to the fact that Beirut will always be misnamed. But I haven’t give up hope yet. Lehigh, our alma mater, is alleged to have either invented the game, or at the very least gave it the name Beirut – due to the shelling the Lebanese city took during its country’s civil war in the 1980′s; Lehigh kids are nothing if not classy, and sensitive to geo-political strife. Much of this Beirut/Beer Pong lore can be corroborated here at Wikipedia, for what that’s worth. And, no, I didn’t edit the entry. I never do that shit. But I digress; back to the action. So after not making much headway at a cool craps table, we head on over and register for the tourney. Our team name, seeing as though we were repping Lehigh and Pennsylvania: the AMISH OUTLAWS – AOOOO! Now it had been quite some time, over a decade, since we were at our peak skills; that meant it was time to practice. At first we were a little cold as we threw back and forth across the table into water cups (we weren’t try to get all jammed up quite yet.) But then, it all started coming back to us, and the balls were splashing. Looking over at the other tables – 6 in all – there was definitely some stiff competition. There were some cats who were nailing cup after cup, and taking full advantage of the liberal allowance of leaning. We had out work cut out for us. At this point I started live tweeting, and asking the Lehigh crew for some good vibes.
OK, shits about to go down soon. Thanks for the good vibes, Party Peeps. The AMISH OUTLAWS are gonna show em how we do Beirut Lehigh style!
The tournament begins, and we make quick work of our first round opponent, at which point I proclaim to my partner, “We’re taking this shit!” His reply: “One cup at a time, jC; one cup at a time.” Dancing. And then we kept winning.
AllRIGHT! The AMISH OUTLAWS won our 1st Round matchup on the Vegas Beirut Tourney (we refuse to say Beer Pong) Onward! #winning
The AMISH OUTLAWS move on to Rnd3 in the Vegas Beirut Tourney! AaaaOooooo! #winning
Our first trouble came against a team with skills that were clearly inferior to ours, and one member who was clearly wasted; however, since bouncing is allowed in these tournaments – and swatting said bounces, inexplicably, is not – this drunk fool was able to nail a handful of cups simply with blind pussy bouncing. And I cost the AMISH OUTLAWS a cup by succumbing to my instincts, and swatting some of that weak shit right the fuck out! It came down to one cup on each side, and they nailed it, right in my eye, as I was talking some sublime shit. I was talking a lot of shit. All was not lost, however, because will still had our one buy-back opportunity, which pretty much every team took advantage of. Thanks to our buy-back, we were able to keep rolling. Sometimes we were both hot and annihilated, and sometimes one of us picked up the other as we gutted out a tough win, and we each hit our fair share of final cups. We danced our way into the Final-4. So out of 30, 40, maybe more, teams, the AMISH OUTLAWS found ourselves standing toe-to-toe with 3 other teams, who actually consider themselves professionals at Beer Pong, and travel all over to tournaments. This one cat told me they were heading to Atlantic City for one in a few weeks.
But alas, the magical rumspringa
that was the AMISH OUTLAWS run in the Vegas Beirut Tournament came to an end right there in the semi-finals, where we lost to the eventual champs, these two big meat-head Beer Pong pros from Cali, with zero personality. We wanted that title, but more than that, we wanted to represent Lehigh and Pennsylvania like the motherfuckin champs we all are! And I feel we did that; plus we put on a hell of a show for the spectators in attendance.
The AMISH OUTLAWS rolled our way into the Semis: aka the Final 4 in the Vegas Beirut tourney, but our run ended there. We repped Lehigh HARD
Final word on the #Vegas
Beirut Tourney: the AMISH OUTLAWS rolled our way to Semis(Final4), only to get beat by eventual champs. #LEHIGH
So that is story of the AMISH OUTLAWS: I feel that it illustrates the synergy between two old college roomates, and the random fun and freedom of Las Vegas. Back in college, when we played Beirut, great pains were taken to avoid alerting the campus authorities about our activities. Beirut was technically a big no-no on campus back the Day. What a pain in the ass that was.
You haven’t truly lived until you’ve played Beirut in Vegas, with people setting up your cups for you, and a janitor mopping up the schwag on the floor at your feet. The beer never tasted so good: It tasted like Freedom.
AMISH OUTLAWS for life.
Stay tuned for more musings on our recent visit to Fabulous Las Vegas, including a review of the wild new show at the Caesar’s Palace Spiegelworld: Absinthe.