Ireland. The Emerald Isle. The Motherland to many of us and now thanks to our good friends at The Busker Irish Whiskey, a potential destination in the near future. Sidenote - it's delicious.
We've been doing this sort of contest every year for March Madness and I think it is safe to say this is easily the best prize we've ever seen. I mean, leave it to an Irish company to come through with an amazing trip to Ireland (with a plus 1 I might add). No wonder everyone loves us (the Irish).
Anyway, before we head into Round 2 to see if any of us advance to the Sweet 16, I figured we should break down which employees are still alive for the trip to Ireland and how they might fare on this journey.
#13 Furman - Large, Spider, Vibbs
Large - This guy is the clear cut first pick of anyone to travel with to Ireland. Heck, his parents are straight off the boat from Erin. His father helped build Manhattan. No, seriously. Anyone who's had the pleasure of drinking with Large knows he's a man of great taste and a wealth of wisdom. He is going to shut down every pub each night. So long as you don't have to share a room with him while he valiantly battles sleep apnea and snoring, he's a swell guy to travel with anywhere. Sorry, Annie.
Spider - If you drew up an ideal travel companion, Spider would be on the short list. He is always willing to drive, doesn't cause problems, and will jump into a pub brawl no matter what. Considering everyone in Ireland is friendly, I think he's great to have on the squad.
Vibbs - I had the pleasure of spending a weekend in Vermont with Vibbs last winter - such a delight and he didn't even force me to eat something against my will. He is one of those runners who can slam beers despite weighing as much as my right leg.
Overall, these three are an excellent group top to bottom. They make this trip better simply by being there.
#15 Princeton - Kayce, Kontent Kim, Katie Stats
Kayce - Kayce is never one to shy away from a Guinness but as a new mom as of about a month ago, traveling to Ireland to visit a whiskey distillery might be like those crazy videos of how they teach toddlers to swim these days - When they throw them in the pool they kinda sink a little, you worry they might drown, but then they find their way to the surface and kinda just survive.
Kontent Kim - I've never had the pleasure of spending any time with Kim in a social setting outside the office. That said, I lived in Oklahoma for a time in my life and the women I met from there always had a way of holding their own. She is all class, well traveled, and despite being in rainy, overcast Ireland, my guess is she would always be prepared to remind me to put on sunscreen.
Katie Stats - Few, if any, have a work ethic better than Katie. Not just at Barstool either. I'm talking all the folks I've ever come across. She is head down and cranks out her job without a hint of a complaint. This is likely the college athlete in her. Why do I say all this? Well, in my experience these are the people who are quiet all day at work and truly get after it at happy hour. It is entirely possible she is the last one at the pub until the tap is dry.
Teams from Jersey are scrappy and find a way to win. The same could be said for these three ladies. Speaking of Jersey…
#16 Fairleigh Dickinson (Ridiculous) - Bob Fox, Big Ev
Bob - Everyone loves Bob and for good reason. He's easy to get along with and great to engage in conversation. My guess is he somehow finds his way to hanging out with U2, we lose track of him, and he ends up as a guest bassist on their next tour. Good for Bob, though.
Big Ev - I can't wait for the first time Ev is watching a soccer game in a pub, belts out a patented, "LET'S GO!" when his over hits, and knocks over a kindly old fellow wearing a donegal tweed hat clear off his barstool that he hasn't moved from since Bloody Sunday.
A Cinderella story indeed and since these two are as nice as Cinderella, stamp their passports.
#9 FAU - Reags, Castellani, Nadu
Reags - Despite his heritage, this trip is wasted on Reags. He has 23 blogs per day to write and not even the Cliffs of Moher will get him out of his hotel room.
Castellani - By the time this trip happens we are going to be into baseball season so they only way we will see Chris is 3 inches from his phone's camera while he complains about the Tigers. Him and Reags will only leave their rooms to get the free breakfast.
Nadu - Can you imagine how heads will turn when Nadu is peacocking around the isle in a fresh tracksuit and white AF1s. I don't think Stellas have made it that far to the east though so he may not get in his bag. My biggest concern, truly, is that he kisses the Blarney Stone and that entire block of limestone ends up stolen.
So we have two guys who won't leave the hotel and the other might single handedly bring track suits to Ireland.
#9 Auburn - Troopz, Zah, Expressions
Troopz - It is entirely possible that Troopz has been to Ireland, gotten in an animated shouting match with every last mick in every last pub over a soccer game, and is actually banned from the country. If not, let's just assume that's the end result if he goes this time. Damn if I don't love his passion though.
Zah - Let me tell you something about Zah - he's a sweetheart but you gotta keep an eye on him. One minute you're enjoying some soda bread and the next thing you know he's outside the pub doing circles riding on a donkey. If I've seen it once, I've seen it 9 times from Zah. Complete wild card.
Expressions - Admittedly, I've never met Expressions and I'm sad about that. However, I am going to confidently say that you don't get the name Expressions by being quiet in the corner. I have absolutely zero clue what could happen with these three together in Ireland but I do know that nothing is off the table.
Listen, if they end up going it will be fine. Maybe. Eh. No promises.
#11 Pitt - Rico Bosco, Kirk Minihane
Rico - Believe it or not, Rico is actually Irish. The hot-headed, fiery guy with a short fuse. Shocking, I know. (I'm very Irish so I can say that and no don't worry he doesn't have me blocked any more. He is coming to Christmas this year, as a matter of fact.) My only concern is that he finds himself in a pub with one 16-inch box TV from 1989 with a broken remote and all he wants to do is watch Mets opening day. JESUS CHRIST IT'S 2023 YOU WOULD THINK BATTERIES IN THE REMOTE FOR THE TV THAT TIME FORGOT WOULDN'T BE TOO MUCH TO ASK BUT I GUESS ONLY ME, HUH YEA REAL FUNNY SENDING ME ON THIS TRIP DAVE
Kirk - Close your eyes. Picture this. Middle aged white guy. T shirt tucked into his khaki shorts. Fanny pack. Ok now you see Kirk in Ireland. I'd pay to follow along in his tour group as he continuously corrects the tour guide on facts. Kirk would be enjoyable to go on this trip with though because I think he'd truly appreciate it and try to soak in as much as he could. We may even play a round of golf together.
What a combo these two would be. At the end of the day they would both end up really enjoying the trip but the paths they take to get there would be drastically different.
#10 Penn State - Cons (me), Chaps, Kate
Me - Listen, the only time I've been to Ireland was to fly in and out of Shannon Airport on my way to Iraq (I'll save you the trouble and say you're welcome for my service) so I've been dying to take a trip to my family's homeland. I'm as Irish as they come and it is my birthright to visit. I can shut down the pub and wake up early for the trip to the distillery. I am easy to travel with and I never complain. My wife (you all remember her) is also of Irish descent so having a plus one is ideal.
Chaps - My only concern for Chapsy are those twigs he calls legs. Ireland's terrain could be tricky for him to navigate but otherwise, he is great to travel with. He's been known to enjoy a whiskey in his day so I think he'd be smiling ear to ear the whole time. Not to mention with that red beard he is going to fit right in with the locals. He is one to call it a night early though which leaves the rest of us to run amok.
Kate - Kate's middle name is "Adventure" (it's not but it should be) and when Chaps goes to sleep, that's when she gets going. She will find the only karaoke bar on the whole island and you better believe we will shut it down. She's going to rip so many drunk heaters. We will have to endure her dragging us to some God awful street art exhibit that she read about one time on tiktok but other than that, it'll be a hoot.
We deserve this trip more than anyone. That's all there is to it. I hope we go and have beers with Colin Farrell.
So there you have it - 19 of us with a shot at a trip to Ireland. Whoever ends up making it is going to have a blast. There is no way this is anything except the trip of a lifetime. We are one lucky bunch. I guess you could say we have the…luck of the Irish. Slainte.
P.S. Dave - can we fly private please?
P.P.S. Banshees got robbed at the Oscars