As I approached the upper courts at Volunteer Park Sunday morning, the first words I heard were “You need to get more drunk.” While booze and sports have historically made a great pairing, drinky time is usually more for the spectators and less for the athletes. At the Hopvine Tennis Tournament, appearing this past Sunday in its 11th incarnation, many of the athletes incorporated significant amounts of drinking into their core strategies.
Take doubles team Blue Thunder, featuring Greg Lundgren, owner of Madison’s Hideout bar. “If you’re not a good drinker, but you’ve got skill, you’re done. You won’t do well. If you’re not a good player, but you’re a good drinker, you’re done. You won’t do well either,” Lundgren said. “You’ve got to bring the intimidation factor, along with the drunk factor—that is a potent combo.”
Champions at Team Tie Dye, who bested Blue Thunder in the semi-finals, undermined Lundgren with a strategy of their own. “Our game plan today has consistently been ‘hit it to the drunker dude.’ It’s been working well,” Sarah Titcomb said.
The strategy proved effective — but at the end of the day, trickier to implement. As the sun began to fall in the sky, it became harder to tell who indeed was the drunker dude. In one of the most epic games of the day, competing levels of drunkenness from all ends resulted in one of the highest scoring games of Hopvine Tournament History. Repping Mercer St (not Mercer Island, they wanted to clarify) team Mercer Madness fell against team Double Oh Felines, but not without a brilliant fight. Down 5-1, Mercer Madness clawed their way back in a maddening volley to tie at 6-6. Dan Romanow of team Double Oh Felines blames the insane turnaround on “sun and alcohol.”
The game ended with a tie breaker set stretching the game to 16-18 before Mercer Madness let up and ceded victory.
“We certainly didn’t learn our lesson,” Romanow said on moving forward in the tournament. “We learned nothing from our experience and will continue to drink and expose ourselves to the sun.”
Truly, an epic display of athletic prowess at Volunteer Park this weekend. Kudos, to all you sauced up sportsmen and women who make the neighborhood proud.
We’ve posted more pictures by CHS contributor Alex Garland from Sunday’s action on the CHS Facebook page.