This was a holiday that was going to be pretty easy to celebrate. All I needed to do was drink a beer. I have no problem finding beer these days. I know right where to look for them and when I buy them, I never get any hassle. Apparently, I’ve aged out of that “let me see your ID” stage. I’m also not the kind of person whose need of a beer (as in having already had too many) is often questioned. The hard part was going to be selecting the place to have a beer and of course the type of beer to have. Both of these questions were answered for me. Today we had an after-work team event at a local golf and entertainment complex and there was going to be beer there. This would be the perfect place to celebrate National Drink Beer Day.
The place is called Mulligan’s Island which is kind of your typical golf and entertainment place. It has both a Par Three and a Pitch and Putt course but also a driving range, two mini golf courses, batting cages and beach volleyball. It’s in Warwick and somewhat oddly situated alongside the State of Rhode Island Department of Corrections. (No, that’s not a facility where they help you correct your swing.) Our group had use of the driving range, the batting cages and the mini golf (that was our “time in the yard”) plus we had some burgers and a station for beer. It ended up so that only about 15 or so people were able to come, but it was still a fun group and an enjoyable place. I started off in the batting cages where I swung mightily at the slow pitch softballs while the ladies took on the fast pitch softball machine next to me. Yes, I felt a little less manly waiting casually for my lob pitches as the sound of whizzing softballs coming in hard against the backstop filled the air. But slow pitch is more my style. That’s probably the only speed at which I have hit a baseball in the last thirty years and I wasn’t trying to be a hero today. I got some good swings in – probably a bunch of doubles, maybe even a homer or two. But then the pitches kept coming. We were paid in advance, so the machines didn’t stop automatically at ten balls. They just kept coming. Pretty soon, I had broken a sweat and my hands were starting to callous.
After the batting cages, we went back over to the party area where the beer was ready for us and I was quick to swoop one up. I went for a can of Corona which seemed ideal. The design of a can of Corona, a somewhat new addition to the beer aisle, is pleasing to me. It resembles the iconic Corona look that we have seen for years on their cases. The white of the can makes that logo really stand out when you see it. In any case, it’s a fine looking can and the perfect choice for a cool Fall night at the driving range. I opened it up and then moseyed on over to the range with a bucket of balls. I’ve never been one to enjoy hitting a bucket of balls. I enjoy hitting a few balls, maybe even half a bucketful. But if you give me a whole bucket to hit, it wears me down, my hands get calloused and I get bored. Part of that comes from my inability to hit a driver. I can crush an iron and even hit it straight some time. But if you give me the big boy clubs, I flub it. Sometimes they barely go ten yards even though I put all my energy into the swing. Every once and a while I can get it right, but usually I just hit a high pop fly right back at the pitcher. Also, when you are at a driving range you get the feeling that everyone is watching you (they aren’t), but this adds to that sensation of failure and embarrassment. I managed to stick with this activity for a good chunk of time and even outlasted most of our group out there, but then I had to quit. My hand was blistered. My arms were sore (my neck was sore too because I was smacking it with the shaft of the club on my back swing – that’s a new one). And I was hungry, so I put down the club and went to go grab a burger.
It was National Drink Beer Day so when I finished up my first Corona, I reached in for another. I kind of felt that I was giving this holiday an appropriate celebration. I could have gone crazy today and grabbed a beer ball of Genesee Ale from the packie and finished it off with Lola in our backyard – an exercise in excess. But today, I drank beer in that perfect social way. It helped break the ice in what could have been an awkward social gathering. Just having a beer in your hand makes this kind of event easier – a 12-ounce aluminum crutch. But it also keeps you refreshed too. A little way to take the edge of a long day, and a way to hydrate yourself after working up a sweat swinging sticks at balls. You can’t drink a nice glass of wine after hitting a 40 mile an hour, arching softball clean over the pitching machine – you need to drink a nice cold beer like a man. It just seemed right for the night and a proper tribute to the enjoyment of drinking beer.
Right after I cracked open my second one, the call to play mini-golf was sounded so I joined up. There was a group of five of us and we took off to the links. They have two courses there and one was more difficult than the other. The less-difficult course had more people on it, so we opted to play the hard course. And it was challenging. It didn’t really have obstacles likes lighthouses and clowns, but it had long greens with different hills and uneven surfaces, it had thin bridges and rocks to hit around and over, and it had a certain amount of water threatening nearby. I started off playing terribly with my first putts landing my ball in nasty corners. That was followed up by playing the back and forth game and hitting the ball three or four times before it plunked in the hole. As play moved along I got better, but it was too late. I had already fallen too far behind to even try to catch up. I ended up getting a 36 on the front nine with a 26 on the back, but it was not enough. I came in fourth place. I suppose the worst outcome was that they sent an email out the next day with all the pictures from the night and I was featured in one digging the ball out of the water hazard. It wasn’t my ball – I was trying to save someone else’s – but I’m sure everyone just assumed I was having a tough day on the course. Still, I held tight to my beer in true celebration of National Drink Beer Day.
That was Drink Beer Day. This has been something I’ve been celebrating for over thirty years. It started in high school, although honestly, I really wasn’t drinking that much beer in high school (I seem to recall more grain punch and bug juice). I picked up my game in college, and then some (our 11 in 11 party comes to mind – 11 kegs in Townhouse 11). I’ve been drinking beer regularly ever since. It’s the drink I will opt for when asked. It’s just nice and easy. Always refreshing. Today’s celebration was a more mature take on this day. It made me appreciate the act of actually drinking beer in a more social and enjoyable way. Still enjoying it all, but in moderation and as the ice breaker. I wouldn’t have wanted to have been out there without a beer and that’s a testament to why we drink it. I’ll keep drinking beer as long as I’m in social situations. I just hope I can correct my slice.
Next up: National Coffee Day