7 for 7: #Beerpope

#Beerpope, a moment that made a Beerpope.

Tradition. Tapey Beercone is steeped in it. Since the first aluminum cans were wrapped in duct tape, the sport has held to a vast array of traditions. One needs only peruse the Official Rules finding there is literally a section titled “Traditions”, as evidence of how deeply traditions are held in the sport. More broadly, the entirety of Articles IV and V on Ground Rules and Sportsmanship codify many of the sport’s most deeply held rituals and conventions. However, the vast majority of these traditions are not founded in Tapey Beercone alone, but stretch out universally into the customs of the Buckos Nation at large. Some, such as naming each new field, or the Testicle Bill of Rights, owe their creation to Piney Pinecone. Still others, such as the playing of the Buckos National anthem or resolving disputes by Rock-Paper-Scissors are carryovers from Buckos culture in general. Not simply a part of the sport, they are traditions held across all aspects of life in the Buckos Nation. Rare is the tradition rooted in the game’s founding itself.

To find such a tradition, one must look outside the rule book and search deep into the history of the sport. One such tradition, one of the sports most cherished, has no description in the sport’s rules or charter, and no mention in the sport’s statistics. There are however traces of its existence in the record. A brief mention in the factbook, a page in the annals, and a curious description in the season 3 game logs. That description records a momentous moment in this most majestic of mores, the coronation of Eric as Beerpope Hammer I.

Becoming Beerpope is a peculiar appointment to receive. The title bestows no responsibilities or benefits. If anything it’s a hinderance, having to play with a cardboard box taped to one’s head. It is bestowed as least as often for acts of indignity as it is for acts of grandeur. Yet the title is no banner of shame, but a badge of honor, signifying a player’s extracurricular achievements and their standing in the sport’s history. Still, while Eric received the title after a monumental, game changing play, the title is more often received after acts of drunken stupor or belligerence. As when Chris began napping on an outfield boulder, or when Richard seceded from his own team. This is in some way how the title was first created. In the third and final game of the sport’s original series at The Ranch, Eric, in a fit of drunken inspiration, stripped off his shirt, donned an empty box of Tecate on his head, and shouted for all to hear, “Hey guys, I’m the Beerpope!”

The original Beer Pope

And since that fateful moment the tradition has been passed down, first to Chris, Pope Rooster I, for his sleepy antics at Hellhole, then Eric again as Pope Hammer I. This was followed by Rooster II, and Reverend I for still more drunken antics. And it was at this time, one year into the reign of Pope Reverend I that a new chapter was added to the tradition. The succession of beerpopes all have one key factor in common. All were founding regents of the game, all were present at the game’s founding and present for the creation of the beerpope tradition. This mirrored the trend in the sport at large, as early on most games were played by regents and regents only, but by this time in the sport’s history those facts had changed. The game taking place, the third running of the Oregon Tapey Beercone Invitational, was the first to see more non-regent players than regents.

Action from OTBCI3.

Had the game’s founders been searching for a sign as to whether this was a good change, it was granted to them. With the game moving along into the mid-innings, Pete “The Wildcat” took the mound again to pitch for his team. He was a season 4 rookie, having played in multiple exhibition games over the past 2 years, he was now pitching in his first Buckos League game. Pete took a moment to gather himself before beginning to throw. As Pete looked towards the batter he saw the homemade backstop and the old electric fencing which gave ‘Lectric Acres its name. Beyond the fence stretching out as far as his eyes could see lay the fields of the Oregon countryside; the grassy fields green from the rain, and patched in speckled shadow from the cloudy skies above, and the dark forests, in dense rows like distant spectators, standing to catch a glimpse of the action on the field. Off in the distance, the purple mountains of the Cascades could just be made out. Looking up, through the clouds, Pete could just make out a ray of sunshine, seemingly shining down directly on to him. This was no ordinary moment.

What Pete witnessed first hand, a spectator fortuitously captured on digital film. A photo so majestic, that upon viewing it, the players stopped the game. The majesty of the vistas were by themselves amazing, but it was the photo’s principle suspect that dropped jaws. There, in the foreground on the mound, bathed in a ray of sunlight sent straight down from the heavens stood “The Wildcat”, caught in the act of throwing his first divine pitch of the inning. The Buckos knew what they had been witness to, so on the spot a ceremony was held, and Pete was coronated the new Beerpope, Wildcat I.

Pope Wildcat I’s Coronation

Wildcat I was a new Beerpope for what had become a new game, a more public game, open to a much wider player base. Fittingly in adapting to a more public image, Tapey Beercone had recently acquired its own Twitter account, and still had not sent out an inaugural tweet. What would be more fitting than the announcement of the new Beerpope? So if an ordinary image deserves a thousand words, and as this particular picture isn’t done proper justice by what is written so far, then how does one properly convey the magnitude of the captured moment in the 142 character format?

Author: The Coach

#8 The Coach, founding Regent of Tapey Beercone.

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