Sal Drinking Game
Labor Day has come and gone and this weekend heralds the conclusion of the 2016 US Open Tennis Championships. I have zero interest in tennis outside of the devastatingly good looks of Maria Sharapova and Anna Kournikova, but seeing as how the former has been suspended by the International Tennis Federation and the latter has retired, I maintain zero interest in tennis. The reason why I am so keen on the US Open is that with the US Open comes the Sal Drinking Game.
The birth of the Sal Drinking Game begins with Sal's annual participation in the US Open as a ball boy.... correction, ball man... correction, ball person. This is not a situation of where life imitates art - Cosmo Kramer infamously tries out to be a US Open ball boy and is selected to be the first ever ball man in the Seinfeld episode, The Lip Reader. Sal is in his mid-thirties now and has been a ball person ever since high school. With that level of seniority, comes great responsibility, including handing out towels to players in marquee matches, which most importantly means televised close up shot of Sal.
The Sal Drinking Game was born! What began as an excuse for the Manchester Pub staff and regulars to drink evolved to have rules, albeit simple rules, but rules nonetheless.
1. Sip of beverage whenever you see Sal in a close up shot. If you drink on the remote baseline flow of play shots, god bless.
2. Take a shot whenever Sal messes up. So if he slips, drops a towel, etc. - SHOTS!!!
As the Manchester Pub family and community grew, so did the number of participants in the Sal Drinking Game. Participation hit its apex with the introduction of Trivia League at the Manchester Pub. Drinking was not only encouraged during trivia, but points awarded for drinking could give any team the margin needed to win!
It is coming up on two year anniversary of the fire that closed the Manchester Pub. It does sadden me whenever I reminisce about the great times that we had, the staff and environment created a home away from home, a type of bar that is rare, especially with what tries to pass as hospitality nowadays. What does bring me joy is when the US Open begins every year and without fail I receive text messages and watch my social networking feeds fill with #SalDrinkingGame hashtags, photos of Jameson shots, and the inevitable lament of how everyone hates the Sal Drinking Game. The Manchester Pub may be closed, but the traditions of its family and community continues to be passed on. If you happen to see Sal in the US Open, raise a glass and take a sip, welcome to the Sal Drinking Game.