so it’s all over and you wake up on monday and almost everybody has left the hotel room in the dead of morning and there’s just you and your one remaining friend from milwaukee and a balloon sculpture hanging from the light fixture to remind you of what really happened in the flash of days before.
i watched fifty-some-odd people compete this weekend and some of them three times each, taking their routines from the preliminaries to the finals and putting their guts on the table each time. though i believed in his capabilities and charm all along, mike phillips’ rough start to this climb made what happened all that more intense, and if it hasn’t already been whispered to you across a bar somewhere, the real story is this:
he wasn’t supposed to go to the USBC in the first place, what with this year’s new in-house rule that intelligentsia was only sending baristas to portland if they placed in the top three of their regional competitions. and though mike held the great lakes title in 2008, his performance just two weeks ago in chicago didn’t make the grade, and despite pleas from many who knew how hard he’d worked and how crazy-style he’d practiced to get the opportunity, rules are rules and the company made no exception to send him to the national contest. so what does motherfucker do? he buys his own damn ticket and bunks in with a co-worker and a guy from muncie all weekend, goes out dancing until 1:00am the night before finals, and wins the goddamn US barista competition! it didn’t seem like it was gonna happen and mike was maybe the most surprised of all, but wouldn’t ya know it when they called off all the names suddenly phillips was the last man standing. couldn’t be happier to see you win it, buddy.
the twitchy postgame mad-props explosion will try to keep it concise (but good luck). scott lucey, you are a showman and consummate ambassador of coffee and an incredible person. to watch your success in chicago and your still tremendous third place to your loving-rivalry opponent mike was emotional and bittersweet. nick, devin, booya and the homie ryan, you all did such, such good jobs, too. did you see those friggin scores?
for making the weekend incredible and affirming of our community and of the goodness of people in general, i owe texas-red-sized thanks to colin whitcomb, jenny g, rj and again sL for the privelege of getting to roll as honorary milwaukee crew and have a physical and emotional home base during a crazy few days. meet me downstairs at the doug fir? i hear they have champagne on tap! to also: amberfox and eddie, thank you for bringing my home front (pasts and present) to portland, jj for the rides and kindness and the bike helmet, giana for the bike so i could practice riding uphill in a busted gear with teisl patiently behind as we joined the amazing bikes to rwanda usbc coffee crawl, to which we owe clara big ups for organizing. (what an amazing opportunity to offer people to see the real side of a city during a convention-center-centric event! amazing hosting work by both her and brent fortune this weekend), to diane for being the most awesome cousin ever even before the constant deliveries of peanut butter cookies and needed sandwiches and bizarre willingness to put up with a melee of coffee people and even find them half as lovable as I do, to kristen for the wicked MSP layover, to josh at foodgps.com for letting me crib details, to scaa for thinking i might be useful, and to marcus boni for that passionate open-mouth kiss on stage. well, i’m just kidding about that…for now.
thanks also to stephen morrissey for telling me in 2007 that if i started this blog he would read it. he didn’t have any clout then, but apparently it worked, and anyone reading this right now makes bothering to do it worthwhile.
see you in the ATL! can i have a nap first?