We had our fifth annual Studer's Invitational Beer Olympics event this past weekend. We had a total of 42 participants this year (more than ever!), and finished off five half-kegs of beer (also, more than ever). Our day was enhanced by a borrowed sound system, complete with a microphone (which I loved) and beautiful weather (albeit a tad warmer than comfortable).
It was a great, great day. Tons of games, fun, and laughter capped off with an awards ceremony that always makes me giggle to see the honest pride in the eyes of the winners of the various honors - including 'Rookie of the Year', 'Shark,' and 'Zophagus.'
And I could even try to be cute and pull a Jeff Foxworthy and say things like..
'If you ever felt pride at the sight of your teammate who just threw up, return and finish their ice cube tray in canoe races..you might be a Studer's Invitational participant.'
'If you ever uttered the question, How's it flowing?, in reference to the keg tap system before you attempted an upside down keg stand...you might be a Studer's Invitational participant.'
'If you ever woke up with suntan lines on your face in the shape of an octopus...you might be a Studer's Invitational participant.'
And the details of the day deserve its own proper post (especially for Pinterest's sake, obviously), but as a very brief highlight of the day; I'm here to tell you it was definitely a good year for Beer Olympics.
And I imagine it's very easy for young people and optimistic party planners to re-pin my posts about Beer Olympics because they want to try to spend the day 'getting wasted' and playing drinking games. They might pump their fists and think its an excuse to drink an excessive amount of beer. Optimistic party planners might even call it a cool use of time, money, or planning.
And just as easily, naysayers may dismiss the day, roll their eyes and shake their heads at our event. They might think its trashy or just an excuse to drink an excessive amount of beer. Naysayers might even call it an inappropriate use of time, money, or planning.
But both the optimistic party planners and the naysayers would be wrong. Because, just as everything in life, your perception depends on what angle you take the picture.
And neither see the participants, many of whom only come together once a year- hugging, laughing, and cheering each other on.
And they don't wake up to their facebook newsfeed filled with new friendship notifications of people who only met the day before.
They don't get to smell and taste the donated food brought by participants that line both walls of our garage in roasters, crockpots, and tupperware containers. Or see our kitchen counters filled with donated breakfast foods and coffee for the morning after.
They didn't watch as participants and spectators helped each other carry tables across the yard, put obstacle course tires into place, replace empty toilet paper rolls, tap new kegs, clean-up spilled food, re-fill cups and pitchers, and fix running toilets.
They didn't hear the announcement halfway through the day to raise more money for extra kegs so no money would be taken away from our donation fund and then watch while participants dug in their pockets and ran to their cars to give more money.
They didn't hear the whole lot of fifty plus people chanting, "Miss Tay! Miss Tay!" while holding up their blue support bracelets - sending thoughts and love her way.
They don't see our guest beds used, the seven people sleeping in our living room, the three in the dining room, and four tents in our yard the next morning. (Which we take as a compliment that our home is both welcoming and comfortable).
They don't watch how those that slept over spend their morning organizing supplies, stacking chairs, taking down tents, washing pitchers and roasters, and wiping down tables before driving home - some of which had two hour plus drives.
They didn't see a group of eleven of us- the last of those to leave - giggling and recalling the day before over bagels and coffee on our back patio; a mixture of friends and family - really all connected only by this one day.
To both the optimistic party planners and naysayers: we say - yes, we hold a day long drinking event at our house. And yes, we emptied five kegs this year. And yes, when we wake up in the morning and look at our house, yard, and garage - it takes a short moment to wonder if its been irreversibly trashed.
But Beer Olympics is so much more than a day of drinking; maybe its more than what is possible to understand from the outside. Because from the inside; from our angle - it is one of the most generous, inspiring, and uplifting days of our entire year.
If we're being honest - its hard to know who the day most benefits. Is it our donation receipt, or the participants who make new friends and memories, or maybe most of all Brandon and I? Because we get an enormous reminder of the flat out decent and good-hearted people that surround us.
If you seek to take the picture from the pretty side, your life suddenly becomes a whole lot more beautiful. And we will tell you - our life is really quite beautiful indeed.
To all of you that are a part of this event, we are so thankful- because without you, we couldn't do it. We don't know how we got so lucky to have this many amazing and kind people in our life - but we are infinitely grateful and proud to know you and call you a friend.