There are few things in this world that bring people together like a good drink. No really, there are theories that society was created entirely for the production of beer (that is, according to Alex Foucault ’15). But that’s neither here nor there. What is both here and there is that the Olympics are better than alcohol at bringing people together. That epic NBC theme song, Bob Costas (pink eye and all), hideous glorified sweatsuits from Ralph Lauren – nothing says unity quite like the Olympics. So I got to thinking what if we put them together? Well then we just might have peace on Earth.
Like any good Olympic athlete, I knew preparation was key. However, in our case, preparation was a lot easier than it is for a typical Olympian – it involved picking up several six-packs of “international” beers: Stella, Guinness, Asahi, Smirnoff Ice (hail, Mother Russia) and the King of Beers, Budweiser (cue “U.S.A.” chant). Your choice of beverage for the night indicated your allegiance, so naturally, yours truly spent the night cuddled up to the beer that made a Clydesdale fall in love with a puppy. However, we had to get a little creative, if not a little geographically questionable, given the beer selection at the Spring Street liquor store. Stella was construed to cover not only its native Belgium, but also all Scandinavian nations, Croatia, Germany and occasionally France, while the equally ubiquitous Asahi was given all of Asia. Guinness proved useful in only one event, as it represented the United Kingdom and occasionally France. Budweiser was the North American drink of choice, and Smirnoff was responsible for Russia. We also included a dubious rule in which water drinkers were responsible for nations that have no business competing in the Winter Olympics (glad to have you, Virgin Islands, but really?).
Generally speaking, the rules of the drinking game evolved – and one might say, devolved – as the night wore on. Participants were required to drink every time they heard the beautifully pompous NBC theme song, saw an anchor that wasn’t the ailing Bob Costas or saw their nation’s flag or athlete. Anytime their nation medaled, they had to finish their beverage, and we intended to enforce a special Smirnoff Icing if Russia medaled.
Primetime coverage on Friday (yes, I spent my Valentine’s Day with my real true loves, the Olympics and beer) included men’s figure skating, men’s super combined skiing, women’s skeleton and women’s aerial skiing. We started promptly at eight with the skeleton, but we began to deviate from the rules after it became clear that we had no idea what skeleton was. As it turned out, the sport is basically high-stakes sledding. We drank every time we learned something new about skeleton, which was pretty frequently.
We soon adopted the “kissable” rule: any time an athlete was cute enough to be kissable, you had to drink. Turns out Olympians are really attractive (here’s to you, Patrick Chan of Canada, even if everyone else thought you had crazy eyes), and it also turns out that Bode Miller’s wife is also really attractive. Like, really attractive.
We made it through the skeleton in pretty good shape, but men’s freestyle figure skating proved to be our undoing. We drank for every time somone fell, the camera panned to a disappointed coach or contestant or the skaters dramatically skated backwards with their arms wide.
This was largely an excuse for me to watch the Olympics with friends and feel justified in the time I burned in front of the TV. The College is a busy, stressful place, but the Winter Olympics only come every four years, and you won’t get to share every one with your best friends. So twist one off in honor of Bob Costas’ favorite occasion, learn about people’s weird, life-long pursuits like skeleton and enjoy the season.