A lot of people say to me "Ere you, you write about sport 'n' that. What have u ever done in sport yer tool?" (Actually nobody has ever said that, but its a nice way to open) So I feel like I should tell the story of my greatest sporting achievement. This was also because my good friend and team member, a man known only as 'Rooksie', and I were talking about it the other day.
To set the scene, its September 2010, imagine you are in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the strip, in a dingy Irish themed casino called O'Sheas. Two Teessiders end up in an area with a load of tables and people throwing ping pong balls into cups of beer. Yes, we had stumbled into the beer pong area, not just any beer pong area, but where they have held the World Series of Beer Pong. (Like the World Series of Poker, but Beer Pong.)
In our alcohol influenced state we decided we would give it a pop.
Now our experience was limited in the sense that I had played a few friendly games with mates while being in the States and Rooksie had never even seen the game before.
Anyway we got ourselves next up on a table, we watched the game and I tried to explain to him as much as I could about the game in about 5 minutes and then we were up.
Frankly, early on, we were rubbish! Awful in fact, so bad we were 5 cups down without even hitting one of theirs, but then we started to kick on, Rooksie hit a couple, I hit a couple, but they were so damn consistent. We fought back, and got it to one cup all. It was on a knife edge! Then the unthinkable happened they got our cup. They missed their second chance so we were in a shout. Now those of you who know the rules know that you both get a go, if one goes in then you both get a couple of cups back and carry on, get both in and you steal the win.
So Rooksie, the rookie, steps up, massive pressure in his first ever game, but he shows a cool head that is beyond his experience and sinks it. We were back in the game. However I still had a chance to steal it. I stepped up, the pressure was on, $10 worth of beer on the line! I threw it, life went into slow motion as it crept into the cup. We had won it! Our American opponents faces dropped! They had been beaten by a couple of Northern Limeys, one of which had never played before.
After this, a man emerged from the shadows, a man with a daft hat on. Saying he had watched our game and wanted to play us. He also came telling stories of how he was a semi-professional player and competed in tournaments all the time. We looked at each other expecting a battering.
The game started and we carried our form into the game and kept up with our American opponents. We were down to the wire, three cups each, two cups, one. I had started to sweat a bit under the pressure. Again the inevitable happened, they got the last cup. I thought that was it. We went with the same tactics, Rooksie went first, popped it into the cup, we back on level on terms, I stepped up. I couldn't hold my nerve, I missed so we went back to 3 each. Then we blitzed them, Rooksie landed 2 cups, set me up and I got the punishing last cup. They had no reply, even with his semi-porfessionalism he couldn't rescue it. We had won! We jumped and celebrated! Such a great achievement.
We played again and got battered because we were totally smashed and it was 5.30 in the morning. We had our moment in the sun, on the champions podium.
So that was my finest sporting moment, I may have not won trophies or leagues, but we won even though we were the underdogs. I can't exactly put it on my CV or anything, but it happened and I will always cherish it.