Sunday, October 23, 2011...a date which will live in infamy.
Okay, maybe it's not that dramatic, but holy crap did we have a good time. No respectable company launches without a splash, so American Sin Bin (hereafter referred to as ASB in all legal documents and court proceedings) decided to let the world know we were in business and watch the Rugby World Cup final at the same time. Not that anyone cared about the World Cup final since the USA wasn't in it, but we figured our short-atention span drinking buddies needed something to watch.
The venue was Tobacco Road Sports Bar in Raleigh, NC...a seedy dive of circus sweat and sawdust that served ample amounts of booze and disappointment. I arrived fashionably late, you know, to make the “Grand Entrance” complete with music and half dressed women on my arm, but as I opened the door hoping to hear the collective cry of “ROB!!!” I was instead greeted with the smell of stale beer and a couple of traditional “chin raises” of “what’s up?” Ungrateful bastards.
“Dude, do you smell that?” ASB President Kelly Crigger says, completely ignoring my over-the-top-entrance. The dude is addicted to photography and brandished a massive Canon slung sideways like a bandoleer across his chest. I give him the sideways puppy dog look.
“I smell like fish!” he continued.
What do you say to someone who randomly says that they smell like fish? “Why yes, you smell like freshly caught halibut” or “Jesus, you smell like a South Florida fishing boat in July!”
I just shook my head. “Nah, I don’t smell anything.” I was lying. He smelled worse than a Mexican whore on Dollar-Do-Me night. I guess, later on, someone told him just how bad he reeked as he went a pulled a Superman, changing his shirt and taking a whore-bath (dousing himself with cheap cologne) fitting…right?…er…nevermind! Somewhere along the way his shirt had been doused in goldfish guts. I was eager to hear how, but not that eager.
The All Blacks and the Frogs (sorry Frenchies) were pounding the crap out of each other. Conversations were light and airy, mostly about Rugby and the booze was flowing. There were shots of American Sin Bin (our signature drink) which, by the way, can only be consumed at official ASB functions, cruising around the room and the wait-staff were working their tails off keeping glasses full of our favorite beverages. The food was plentiful and delicious although there was much more focus on the alcohol than any of the awesome looking food. So basically it rocked. Time to give away free schwag!
Fletcher and Street canvassed the bar soliciting answers for Rugby trivia questions. Most of the tables were more than willing to play...I mean who would turn down free shit, right? But this is a sports bar on a Sunday afternoon...not exactly card carrying members of Mensa, so despite two hot chicks giving away free stuff, a few people brushed them aside like they were selling cemetery plots in Hiroshima. And for those who did play...just because you have a smart phone does NOT mean you are smart enough to use it. All of the trivia answers could have been easily looked up online, but the responses we got...somewhere a village is missing an idiot. Even classier were the answers with seven digits. Bold.
Of course there was world-class rugby on. The All Blacks held their lead and the sobriety level decreased dramatically, as happens in all great launch parties. ASB Accounts Manager Alexis was sucked into a looong conversation (one-sided as she later stated) with a bunch of intoxicated New York Jets fans who were sitting close to our group (she's from Jersey...she deserved it).
The All Blacks pulled out the win (can you imagine the egos of the French if they had won?) to the collective celebration of those who didn’t get up the night before to watch it live. As we all sat there, engrossed by the enormity of the event, most of us in a drunken stupor, the most prolific statement of the evening was made. Street, one of the most dedicated female ruggers I have ever met stared at the screen, in total awe of the Web Ellis trophy and the celebration of the highest level of rugby in the world. She was reverent and respectful.
“I can’t wait until I get my hands on that.”
It was a moment that brought all the other moments together. It was then that I realized that if anyone is going to bring the Rugby World Cup back to America, it is us.