When things were going well, the former president of my undergraduate institution (Augustana College, Sioux Falls SD) used to say, “It’s a good day to be a Viking.” (In case you're wondering, he wasn't insane, Vikings were our mascot.) This weekend, it was good to be a Viking . . . although not for any reasons associated with my alma mater.
This weekend, my wife and I went to the Dixie Cup. The Dixie Cup is the annual conference of the Foam Rangers, a homebrewing club in Houston, TX. It is one of the largest homebrew gatherings in the US. (This year they had 1,200 entries in their contest.) I have been to the Dixie Cup several times and it is always a blast.
Many years, members of my club coordinate on what to wear for the Dixie Cup. Usually, we take the theme of the Dixie Cup, and then dress up as if we misunderstood it. For example, on the year they had a Star Wars theme, we came dressed as characters from Star Trek. Most years, however, we simply dress as Vikings. (Or, more technically, we dress as Vikings dress in popular mythology. In reality, Vikings never wore helmets with horns. That portrayal was an invention of the British, in the 17th Century. The British — who bore much of the brunt of Vikings raids in the Age of the Vikings (from the late 8th through 11th Centuries) — were intent on portraying Vikings as simple barbarians instead of the highly-organized and disciplined raiders that they were . . . but I digress.) This year’s theme was The Dixie Cup Goes Down (Under) — and had an Australian flair. So, it’s probably best we just went as "Vikings."
In any case, we Vikings plundered this year. The Austin ZEALOTS won the Dixie Cup! In addition, one of our members, Mark Schoppe, scored the most points as an individual. (Another member, Kerry Martin, came in second.) The brewing team of Keith and Pam Bradley came in first in the team standings. And, our finish at the Dixie Cup meant that we also won the Lone Star Circuit — the circuit that includes all the homebrew competitions in Texas, except (ironically) our own (the Austin ZEALOTS Homebrew Inquisition). So, it was a good day to be a Viking . . . or, as I mentioned, a British re-imagining of a Viking....