First, I have to credit all the photos in the post to my Thundering Herd teammate Alex. I didn’t bring my camera to the tournament because I knew a beer festival was too risky of a place to bring it.
Jeff and I went to a tournament in Munich that was organized around Oktoberfest. It was a three day tournament, with the second day having no games but everyone going to Oktoberfest. It was an indoor beach hat tournament, which means everyone has their name put in a hat and teams are made at random. I was on a different team from Jeff, but I did know Alex from London. There was dinner at the fields on the first day, and then a party in order to warm up our drinking skills. We went to bed pretty drunk, and I woke up about an hour later to our Aussie friend asking me “do you know who that is?” and I look behind and and I see Jeff, and I was so confused, “of course I do, that’s Jeff.” A little while later, I wake up to Jeff pick up his sleeping bag and moving. I ask him what is wrong, and he says, someone is sleeping on my pad… As it turns out, there was some drunk guy trying to sleep on the end of Jeff’s sleeping pad, next to his feet. I got up and grabbed my bag and pad as well (my pad is 3/4 size, leaving nothing for the guy to try and sleep on) and as Jeff is trying to pull his pad out from under the guy, the guy starts crawling in his sleep to stay on it. We eventually got it out from under him, feeling kind of bad, but also creep-ed out. Oh well, next day was Oktoberfest day!
|Kos, Jazz and Alex (taking photo) are friends of mine from London.|
The next day we ate breakfast at the fields and then all donned our Oktoberfest t-shirts. The shirts had small pictures of beer steins on them, and the idea was that after each liter you drink you can color it in with a marker that would be passed around. We walked to the local train station there was a small farmer’s stand selling pumpkins, which Kos decided was a great thing to buy. At the station we saw several people with the same shirt as us, as well as several in traditional Bavarian dresses and lederhosen.
We went into town and had lunch, then made our way to the festival. Form the outside, Oktoberfest looks like any US state fair. There were amusement park rides, carnival food (but sausages instead of hotdogs) and big huge pavilion tents. It’s just that inside these pavilion tents are huge beer gardens, not 4H pigs and chickens.
Before we went into the beer gardens (we had an appointment to enter) we wandered around the park and went into the tent we called “the wheel of death.” Veterans of the tournament told us about it, but I couldn’t believe that it would be allowed, but it is true, it does exist. The wheel of death does not actually kill anyone, but it is a smooth, slightly conical, disc that lies flush with the floor, about 5 meters wide. There is a host who has control of the disc and he spins it at various speeds, and changes the direction, in order to make the people on top of the disc fall down/spin off. He calls out different age groups and genders, and people from the stands run down to sit upon the disc, hoping to grab the prized spot in the middle. Whoever is the last person on the disc wins that round and is the champion and has all the pride that comes with staying on top of a spinning disc. We did a frisbee player round, and I was quickly pushed off, complete with floor burn on my elbow, but it was a surprising amount of fun.
The thing that walks the ethical line for me about the wheel of death is the event where they get two toddlers, maybe 4 or 5 years old, and put boxing mitts on them and then have them fight while the floor is spinning. The floor spins much slower than it usually does, but the kids boxing each other while trying to stay standing is slightly disturbing and too redneck-like for me.
Our next stop was the beer pavilion, which we had reserved benches for, which is good because if you don’t have a space reserved, you either have a several hour wait, or you need to be there at 8 in the morning. We spent the evening drinking liters of beer, playing a drinking game with the pumpkin, and being merry and funny as we went. I think I was on my 3rd beer when I decided it was too much. Inside the pavilion you lost all track of time, and when I would go to the bathroom and look outside, it was suddenly dark and nighttime, even though it had only felt like we’d been inside for an hour. Everyone at the tournament was extremely friendly, and probably even more so since we were drinking liters of beer like they were pints.
The waitresses who were carrying us beer were probably the strongest women I’ve seen. They would carry 6 liters in one hand without a sweat, and the steins themselves are not light before there is beer put in them. In order to keep the crowd entertained, there was also a brass band in the garden. Every 20 or 30 minutes, the band would play a song called “Ein Prosit” which is a short sing along with the lyrics:
Der Gemütlichkeit To cheer and good times.
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit A toast, a toast
Der Gemütlichkeit. To cheer and good times.
At some point I found Jeff and dragged him back to the fields to go to bed. We had a kind of rough time getting home… involving not being able to find the station, falling asleep and missing our stop, stinging nettles, and one of us puking on the train. Though I’m sure Munich has seen worse than us from Oktoberfest. Also, other people from the tournament had similar stories, so it wasn’t only us.
The next day we enjoyed breakfast with beer that was ironically called “Champ.” While we were all remembering what happened, Jeff remembered something. After coming back from the bathroom, he couldn’t find the group, so he stood on a nearby bench. The few other people sitting on the bench stood up, causing the bench and Jeff to fall, spilling people and beer. Then, after setting the bench back up, Jeff did it again. Well, the result of this was eventually finding us, but then also, an impressive bruise on his back. This bruise also earned him the “Best Story” award at the tournament, which earned him a foam finger and a nice beer mug.
|The red scrape bruised more in the next couple of days, making him look seriously grotesque.|
After the exciting weekend we enjoyed a nice train ride home, and school and work the next day. I think we will go to the tournament again next year, but this time wiser and ready for sleeping pad theives and improperly balanced benches.