When I was in college I fed Ryan Lochte beer out a kegerator into a Frisbee, and he chugged it.
So watching him win a gold medal has special significance for me.
Now, I understand that other friends of mine that went to UF probably saw a curly haired Ryan Lochte act like an ass during their time there. Because if my encounter with him is any indication, he is quite the ass. But this is my Ryan Lochte story.
My friend Joe was on the track team for a bit. And because of that, I got to hang out with athletes. Granted, I was spoiled before I even got to UF because another friend of mine was on the football team. And when I got to the Gainesville before my freshman year, one of the first going out experiences I had was as a “recruit”. See, my friend was on the team and told me to come out and pretend I was a recruit to play linebacker. I was big enough. And really, at that age, you have no idea who might be athletically and motivationally gifted enough to make the team. I was neither. But thankfully, I didn’t look much different than the actual recruits. So, for a night I was a “recruit”. I got into all the bars immediately and was given shots and beers without asking. That night ended with me falling off a stage at Fat Tuesday’s because I was too drunk to realize where the border between the stage and the bar floor was. But it was awesome.
I also got to go to a couple of “athlete parties” my freshman year and hung out with football players who were too high to speak and witnessed Rex Grossman take a girl into his SUV to “hang out”. He did not emerge for quite some time.
Anyway, Joe was actually on the track team, so I got to hang out with him and his athlete friends. They were like any other college students, only I feel like they partied even harder. Whenever I’d drink with them it was always a competition. But I guess that’s the way they are bred. Drinking, like any other activity, was a competition. Who could drink the most, or the fastest, or drink the most the fastest. So, needless to say, I fit right in with that crew.
The group of athletes that Joe hung out with had amazing parties which attracted the best that the University of Floida’s athletic program had to offer. At one particular party, members of all the major sports were there, and drinking anything that they could get their hands on.
They had a kegerator. And back then, one of my main moves at college parties was to man the keg. You were constantly near the beer, and you got to meet everyone at the party. Manning the keg was a beautiful way to get drunk but also have conversations with the people at the party.
At this particular party, they ran out of cups.
So, a young athlete who I had never seen before walked up and wanted a beer. However, he had nothing to hold the beer. I had been filling up random Tupperware containers for other people with a little ingenuity. This kid, however, had nothing.
So, I said, “What am I supposed to pour this beer into for you?”
He just kind of looked at me. So, I looked around and like MacGuyver spotted a Frisbee sitting off to the side and said, “Well, here we go!”
So I filled up the Frisbee with beer and handed it to the kid.
At first, he looked at me and his eyes said, “No way,” but then other people near the keg saw this and realized he was a freshman so brought peer pressure into the equation.
“Drink the beer!” someone bellowed.
So, he looked at it, and at this point people were yelling at him to drink the Frisbee of beer.
So, Ryan Lochte, gave a final look around, knew what he had to do, and turned the Frisbee up and started chugging.
If memory serves me correctly, half of the beer spilled out on the floor. If you’ve never chugged a liquid out of a Frisbee then you probably don’t realize how hard of a task it is. But he finished the Frisbee beer and everyone cheered. I believe that half of the cheering was because they were witnessing someone chug beer from a Frisbee, and the rest was just the moral support that comes when anyone is put on the spot at a college party and comes through.
But Ryan Lochte chugged that Frisbee beer. And we all cheered.
So, now when I walk through Publix and see the magazines with him sporting his six-pack abs on the cover of Men’s Health, and that is all I can think of.
And when I watched him beat Michael Phelps and the rest of the best of the world in the pool tonight, that is all I could think of.
And when he stood on the podium and they played America’s national anthem while he smiled and cherished his gold medal, all I could think was there’s Ryan Lochte, the shitty curly haired kid that while drunk at a party chugged a Frisbee full of beer that I served him out of a kegerator.