A new spring classic: Al Storm Games take Macalester campus by storm


Photo Credit: Erin Ortiz ’15

Photo Credit: Erin Ortiz ’15
Photo Credit: Erin Ortiz ’15

On Friday, April 26, the second annual Al Storm Games returned to Macalester’s campus. Frustrated by the foreseeable disappointment of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Zeus commissioned Mac’s own Al Storm (Alex Morrall ’15 (Centennial, CO)) to hold his own games in their place. Last year’s games were between just two competitors, Paul Schubring ’15 (Gilbert, AZ) and Jole Miller ’15 (Missouri Valley, IA), but this year Al Storm gracefully expanded the field to 16 competitors, who would be put through a series of one-on-one challenges in order to defend their honor and compete for the grand prize: $18 and the Stormy Cup, which is a trophy standing four feet tall made of empty protein containers and topped by a Superman Action figure.

Al Storm structured the games as a 16-person bracket with the competitors seeded by Al Storm himself based on the characteristics that lend themselves to a championship run: speed, strength, cunning, fearlessness and raw determination. With these characteristics in mind, it is no surprise that the favorites were Paul “Pauly D” Schubring and “Swoll” Jole Miller, as well as Mike “Dirty Mike” Darrow ’14 (Menlo Park, CA) and Jacob “Mama Bear” Lueck ’15 (Eagan, MN). Since Al Storm judged 16 competitors worthy of competing in the games, March Madness style brackets were made so that fans could follow along from the sidelines.

The stakes were high for the brave competitors. They agreed to defend their honor in front of a crowd that swelled to 130 people, and they had the opportunity to earn eternal glory by having their name inscribed (written in Sharpie) on the trophy. By advancing to the next round, the competitors also avoided punishment, which became progressively less enjoyable. The first punishment was five deep breaths from Miller’s workout socks, which he specially prepared by wearing it in an old pair of basketball shoes along with another pair of socks to make them especially sweaty and letting them marinate in a box for several hours. The punishment for losing in the second round was waxing a six-inch strip of the loser’s body. A loss in the semifinals warranted the punishment of chewing on a habanero pepper for ten seconds. If a competitor was unfortunate enough to make it to the final and lose, the winner got to slap the loser on the belly. NOTE: All contestants knew of the punishments before the games started and agreed to the terms.

So, at 9 p.m. on Friday night, a crowd assembled with brackets in hand around the Kagin lawn to catch a glimpse of the noble competitors dressed in their chosen battle attire, ranging from kilt to American flag shorts to dress shirt and tie.Erin “Queen Bee” Ortiz ’15 (Corvallis, OR) impressed the audience and intimidated her opponents with her Katniss Everdeen-inspired outfit and an exact replica of Mike Tyson’s face tattoo. Despite dressing like Katniss, Ortiz was not able to capture a victory in the Hunger Games-inspired first round.

Each first round matchup began with blindfolded contestants. Lightsabers and Hulk Hands were hidden on the Kagin lawn. The only direction the contestants received from Al Storm was, “One hit from the light saber: you’re dead. One hit from the Hulk hands: you’re dead. Use your environment and be creative.”

When the blindfolds were removed after a countdown, a mad dash to find the weapons began because the first contestant armed held a distinct advantage. It was during the first round that the crowd on the Kagin lawn swelled to well over 120 people. The crowd should be no surprise considering the entertainment value of some of the battles. Trent Bohrmann ’16 (Grand Rapids, MI) defeated Mamma Bear Lueck after an intense stare down with both competitors in possession of hulk hands and Nate Yordy pushed a spectator out of his seat and used the chair Hulk Hogan-style to defeat the heavily favored Ben Hillmann ’15 (Watertown, MN). Needless to say, Al Storm was pleased. When asked to describe the Al Storm games thus far, the Games’ Retribution Officer Ryan Flanagan ’15 (Madison, WI) said, “The Al Storm Games are Super Bowl Christmas WrestleMania.” One first round matchup had a unique twist. Instead of the Hunger Games competition, Matt Kania ’16 (Littleton, CO) and Dirty Mike competed in a pudding-eating contest, in which they were not allowed to use their hands. Al Storm said the inspiration for this competition came from the Kania’s eating style. “Kania eats like a dinosaur. I want to see him eat pudding like T-Rex.”

Despite his predisposition to eating like a dinosaur, Kania was unable to overcome Dirty Mike’s determination and strategy, and was forced to smell the socks with the seven other losers from round one.

In the second round, Storm tested the accuracy and balance of the eight remaining competitors by having them spin them around ten times and then throw a horseshoe onto the steps near the Dupre bike racks. Although the event was tamer than the first round, there was still no shortage of suspense. Miller won with a six-point toss (I won’t bother explaining the scoring system because only Al Storm himself truly understood it) and Schubring defeated Brad Cox ’16 (Sedona, AZ) in a battle for the state of Arizona. During the punishment for the second round (waxing), spectators learned that both Cox’s legs and Nate Yordy ’15 (Libertyville, Il)’s chests are exceptionally hairy.

The competition for the semifinal round was a game of “ninja.” Miller made quick work of Dirty Mike after overcoming an early cheap shot to the stomach. On the other side of the bracket, Schubring defeated Borhmann in what might be the slowest and most defensively minded game of ninja ever played. When asked about his opinion about the defensive strategies displayed in the Bohrman-Schubring matchup, co-announcer Konnor Fleming ’15 (Charlotte, VT), eloquently stated, “I like defense.”

After several minutes of iPhone Googling to make sure there were no long-term negative health effects from eating habanero peppers, Borhmann and Dirty Mike chewed the habanero peppers and then drank a half-gallon of milk apiece in a hopeless attempt to cool their mouths.

This left Miller and Schubring, who were the only two participants in the previous year’s Al Storm Games, to compete in the final round. In order to win the Games, Miller and Schubring had to complete an obstacle course by first shooting nerf guns into Hulk Hands that were taped to a tree. Then they needed to find a water bottle and chug the remaining water before running into one of the dorms to refill the water bottle and kill the evil witch (played by Shayna Prochovnick ’ 16 (San Francisco, CA)) by dumping water on her. After killing the evil witch, the finalists had to find the reclusive Joe Dykema ’14 (Roseville, MN) and have him write Al Storm a love letter.

When asked about his chances in the pre-championship interview, Schubring said, “I had Chinese food, I can’t lose.” To which Miller replied, “That might be racist, but Paul is usually a good person.”

Ultimately, Schubring was correct, as the Chinese food must have provided him with the winning edge to spook the solitary Dykema from his hiding place and return the love letter to Al Storm and claim eternal glory for the second year in a row.

Co-announcer John Stephens ’15 (Woodbury, MN) best described the overwhelming success of this year’s Al Storm Games by touting the “great competition, great sportsmanship and even greater people.” Competitors have already begun training for next year’s Games, and an official statement from Al Storm has already outlined his future plans for the games, which include the potential new location of the football field, more fans, a more competitive selection process and a general increase in ridiculousness.