Slobodan Milosevic/Francisco Franco vs. James Polk/Pablo Picasso
Winner: Slobodan Milosevic/Francisco Franco
Much like Kristallnacht, this game was a clear indicator of the sheer power held by authoritarian leaders. Polk and Picasso started the game poorly, wasting no time in reaching a 4-cup deficit to Milosevic and Franco. Once he stopped whispering things in Picasso’s ear about manifest destiny, Polk single-handedly staged a comeback toward the end of the game, but as Jojo would say, it was “too little, too late.” Picasso made only one cup throughout the entire game; in a post-game interview, he admitted that he had been tripping acid and was distracted by the anthropomorphic qualities of Polk’s hideous mullet. While Milosevic and Franco were happy with their victory, the real triumph of the night was the miraculous conflict avoidance between Picasso and Franco.
Catherine the Great/Hernando Cortes vs. Nero/Aristotle
Catherine the Great didn’t have her heart in this beer pong match, as she was too busy mackin’ on the beautiful, muscular horse on which Cortes entered the venue. Cortes made a few shots, but wasn’t able to focus due to Nero loudly exclaiming “FOR THE EMPIRE!” before and after each shot. The distraction affected Aristotle as well, who was only able to sink 3 cups and come up with 4 alternative theories of morality during the game. Nero carried his team to victory, catching fire in the middle of the match (a piece of situational humor which only a few scattered spectators seemed to notice). In general, a swift victory was achieved by Aristotle and Nero; Cortes ended up having to walk home alone, and Catherine the Great got fucked by a horse. Standard procedure.
William Shakespeare/Jean Paul Sartre vs. Nelson Mandela/George Wallace
Winner: Nelson Mandela/George Wallace
It’s hard to imagine any team losing to Shakespeare and Sartre. Widely regarded as the weakest team in the tournament, they were only able to snag a spot in their division by winning a play-in game against the ill-fated champions of the children’s beer pong tournament, Elian Gonzalez and Anne Frank. Although Mandela and Wallace weren’t a notably strong team (certainly not a very cohesive one, either), they had no trouble in defeating Shakespeare and Sartre. The highlight of the match was probably the crowd’s general amusement with Shakespeare’s easy frustration and poor composure; after the team made their first cup in the middle of the game, Shakespeare dramatically shouted, “Bitch cup, bitch cup, wherefore art thou Bitch cup?!” On another occasion, he proclaimed, “To bounce or not to bounce? That is the question.”
Martin Luther/Harriet Tubman vs. Otto von Bismarck/Charles de Gaulle
Winner: Martin Luther/Harriet Tubman
This was probably the most shocking result of the first round. Bismarck and De Gaulle entered this match as heavy favorites – two of Europe’s most powerful men (disclaimer: One of them was French) facing off against a monk and a slave rescuer. Part of the team’s issue was definitely their lack of cohesion, seeing as Bismarck regularly shouted eighteen-syllable German nouns while De Gaulle was trying to focus on making shots. Evidently, Bismarck’s disdain for the French superseded his desire to win. Bismarck managed to make seven cups, but De Gaulle – much to his own chagrin – made no cups, meaning that he will have to serve as “Le Troll” in the second round, sitting under the table for the duration of the Luther/Tubman vs. Mandela/Wallace match-up.