First off there needs to be a little backstory so the dots can connect. I jumped on a family city league team in the early 90's. This team had been together for a very long time already under the Spanish name for Dog. By the time I jumped on the team name had changed to a very popular type of alcohol that Sammy Hagar endorsed.
Well this team which was primarily 75% all family never set foot for the most part on a softball field during weekends. It was the prototypical League night Larry type of a team that use to exist. Every August they would enter a booster tournament in North Shore Lake Tahoe to benefit the local middle/high schools.
The Tournament would land on the 2nd week of August mostly, so the teams that would play in it were only league teams from all over Nor Cal or the Reno/Tahoe area. Occasionally you would find a tourney player or two on teams. Reason why is B/C/D State tournaments were always the same weekends all over Nor Cal.
There were many a moments during my first 5+ years on and off the field. All nighters, getting kicked out of casinos, fights, and hotel rooms. We even managed to actually win a few games here and there. Mostly 2-2 weekends give or take. But as time went on the team started to change and more tourney players would end up on it, but our outcome would be the same: Drunk and not making it to Sunday.
During those first few years of me being on the team we got the bright idea after getting kicked out of a casino to take a little drive over the hill to Carson City on a Friday night prior to the tourney. After a few miles on the 28 on our way to the 50 an over the hill we see a sign. Sign Says "Carson City 26 Miles"
Well we made it over the hill and made it to a certain establishment where certain types of debauchery takes place and those that were not attached to a ring on their finger partaked in. The good boy married type just drank and enjoyed the eye candy
Each year there were different variations of the 26 mile drive pre tournament. Motor-homes, Bachelor parties, renting of rooms all with the same result. "COMPLETE CHAOS"
Fast forward to 1998... A/B/C Usssa state landed on a weekend prior to the booster tournament.
This year our league team was basically and all star team of various tournament players who were playing anywhere from A to C and the handful of original family core who either just went for the ride or to possibly play a little. This year half of us (roughly 8 of us) decided to fly to Reno. The other half drove up early on Friday and settled in to the 10 room cabin one prominent nor cal sponsor took care of which was immaculate which i'll get to later.
The group that flew started off at the shop early in the afternoon with some cold ones and a bbq. We either got cabs or someone drove us to the Airport which was a stones throw away from the shop and we flew Reno Air to lovely 775. Rather than stay in Reno for a minute and gamble we chose to drive to that lovely establishment we had once attended before.
Ironically cruising the 395 outside of Reno we see a mileage sigh that also says "26 Miles". Now I am behind the wheel in a rented Pathfinder that cruises the road as if you are gliding on glass. I'm probably 5 - 6 Coronas deep at this time over the course of the last 4 - 5 hours so I felt I was good to go to drive.
After spending a minute or two at the establishment to allow the single guys to be little kids in a candy store we hightail out of there and proceed to do the reverse 26 mile drive over the hill back to North Shore.
Well I am just a little happy camper cruising that Pathfinder down the interstate not knowing going downhill I am going roughly 80 miles an hour. One of the passengers in the car mentions "That was a state trooper we just passed" Sure enough the cop made a U-turn and got behind us, I pulled over and for the next 30 minutes I became the whipping boy for the Nevada State Trooper. The state trooper started to interogate me on everything from my A,B,C's to where I was coming from and why was there a half open 12 pack in the back of the Pathfinder. She even made up tests that I had never heard of, I passed them all with the exception of saying the ABC's backward correctly that I found out later from one of the teammates in the car.
Now came the final final after I was pleading to her about losing my job, etc..... she wasn't having any of it.... Now came the time to do the on the street breathalyzer.
I proceeded to blow until she told me to stop... to may amusement she was absolutley furious when she turned around.
I had blown 0.0783 and Nevada/Cali at the time had just changed to 0.08 so I dodged a major bullet that night. (Didn't learn my lesson as 3 months later I got a DUI 0.16, best and worst thing to happen to me as I've been dry for 21 years since other than 2 - 3 times a year in Reno or Tahoe).
Well that State Trooper was so pissed she started yelling at all four of us. Telling my teammates that if they drove the car and she saw them she was going to give me a DUI. Which at the time all of us were fricking paranoid and actually believed her. Side Note: I got a ticket for going 85 in a 55. $235 fine in 1998
Like idiots we parked the car, gathered our luggage and bat bags and took a cab to a local casino in downtown Carson with no clue what we were going to do. The three teammates were not happy campers and told me to guard the bags in a staircase outside the casino as they went to eat breakfast and gamble way into the early morning. Around 4:00a.m. they all said "F-It" and said we are going back to the car so we took a cab. I was terrified to drive so two of the guys who went on later that month to win Usssa "A" World over POVS and Geno flipped a coin to see who would drive the rest of the way. The pitcher won the toss.
Roughly at 5:00a.m. we made it back to the 10 full bedroom cabin where the rest of the team was either waiting for us or sleeping. (Now remember in 1998 none of us had cell phones or gps) so we had zero contact with anyone on our whereabouts.
AS for entertainment that year in the cabin nothing happened as we were all pretty much shell shocked after the Friday events and didn't want to push the envelope too much. First time I had ever been to Tahoe on a Saturday night and didn't drink alcohol. BTW: We made it to Sunday and actually took 2nd place winning a bath towel which I thought was a pretty decent award
I know this is a long ass story so I'll give the cliff notes for the 1999 year.
Same core league team with the exception of the upper tourney players as most of the team were playing "AA" now or other A/B teams. So it was a mixed matched league tourney team. We had that great Nor Cal sponsor again who took care of 10 bedroom cabin.
Instead of the 26 mile drive we chose to stay local and get drunk out of our mind on the Friday night, that Saturday we lost early and started rolling in the losers bracket, so team with a guy with Levi's and a tank top started talking sh@@ to us so put on a Garbage Can bounty on him and who ever hit the garbage cans won a $100. Guess who won the $100 we ended up losing to league night Levi wearing tank-top Larry but I was a $100 richer.
Since we were done the debauchery started early that evening and rather than take the 26 mile drive we decided to bring the 26 miles to us. Sponsor made a few phone calls and an hour later we had some entertainment, problem was the team was not happy at all with the entertainment as it was not top shelf. So they gave them the red tag. A few hours later into the morning the second shift came along and boy oh boy was it top shelf, I had put my tail between my legs and hightailed it to my room to be the good boy that I am so I missed out on the final final.
Our team in the 15+ years that went to that booster tournament never won it regardless of the unloaded or loaded roster we had.
But...... we always won at the Bar, The Casinos and for sure at the 26 mile drive.
Fricking great times.
P.S. if any of us to this day ever cross paths all we have to do is mention the two words "26 miles" and the stories flow till the wheels fall off.