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Hackfest 2003: The Fat and the Furious

Dr. Brett Johnson defended his title as Birdie King at Voyager Village in Wisconsin. Coming off a stunning victory in 2002, Brett was ready to use all legal means at his disposal to maintain his position on the throne. He didn't expect a challenge from the lowly figures of John Kast and G. Lee Mullen-Schultz, but that is whence the threat emerged.


Voyager Village had the honor of hosting the Hackfest for the second year in a row.


Here are the rules used in the 2003 Hackfest.

Birdie King

John Kast, Two-Time Champion. In a rock-paper-scissors victory over Gary Lee Mullen-Schultz.


2003 was undoubtedly one of the most exciting finishes in the hallowed history of the sacred tournament. A mighty push by Mr. Kast resulted in a tie. Gary, who was not credited with a stroke awarded to him previously by the Alzheimer-afflicted Director, ended up engaging in a heated game of Rock-Paper-Scissors with the aforementioned John Kast, who took the best of three affair with a crushing rock vs. scissors victory.

A legal battle ensued, after which the Artistic Director issued this ruling.

A Mahre Display of Flatulence

Hail to the Birdie King!!!

Alas, another Fest is complete and what have we been taught once again? Despite the mush the public schools may be pumping into your children's heads, in life there are winners and there are losers. In the Fest, there is only one winner and a whole bunch of losers. So without further adieu, I will give my unsolicited recap of the weekends activities. First, in no particular order, the losers.

So I was wrong, but I did get to ride home with the trophy. Years ago developed a well earned reputation. If I was a racehorse I would be described as fast out of the box, likes to work to the lead and hold it at the turn and into the stretch. However, I tire at the end and have never been able to finish the race. Only when the format changed to two days and I was able to recharge at the midpoint did I win the Fest. I think age has come once again. Anyone for a 9 per day, 4 day Fest? I guess if my role in life is that of the swayback old nag in the circus, letting all of the little children hop on and ride (and then take Sunday afternoon off) so be it. Your not heavy, you're my Festers.

Brian has quietly observed the masters for 8 years of the Fest. You may have missed it but our little Grasshopper carried the truck rim full of hot coals across the campground and has the Hackfest brands on his forearms to prove he too is a Master. What he has learned through careful observation is that despite all of the practice, lessons and technology, the golf never gets better. Therefore it is far better to commune with nature than it is to spend time at the range. He may not have been the most improved this year (damn close though) but if you figure the cost per stroke lost, Gary and Jim are in the hundreds. Could one of you engineers out there tell me what 30 divided by zero is? What has Duke taught the Masters? Simple, the size of ones manhood is directly related to the length of his truck bed.

Tom came in steaming from his pre-fest penalty. Tom, let me show you something. It is stupid to lock your keys in the car. You can usually see golf on TV on the weekend. Notice I used both Golf and the "S" word and all seems fine. Also notice I did not dare use them in the same sentence. While still in his rage, eyewitnesses report that he seemed to be taking his anger out on his playing partners. "I could count on one finger the number of Tom's shots we used and the rules made us do that," reports one observer. However, on the second nine he was like a Quaker on the underground railroad, willing to help anyone who asked. I still love you Tom. Take some time and get your mind straight and come back next year and win the trophy legit.

As he was only able to golf one day and I did not have the honor of being in his foursome, I have little comment on the overall state of the Kallevig game. However, Glenn did what no Fester or combination thereof has been able to do for 17 years. An Eagle!!! A big fat, stinking mother of all Eagles!!!. Word of the accomplishment spread faster than AIDS at a Liza Manelli concert. Do not be surprised if you arrive in Bosnia and all of the children cry out "Mr. Glenn, Mr. Glenn, the Eagle Man" and the women break down and sob at your feet. This is big and will forever be a part of Hackfest History. In all sincerity, Good Luck and God speed.

Okay, a little humble pie may be in order after my pre-fest comments about Tim. I was able to witness the other feat of greatness, a solo 36 for nine holes. His partners Mike and Brett, the other pro's (giggle) were able to help out and raise his score to a 37. Thanks boys. I guess the old boy (Dick Hidani) was wiser than Tim gave him credit for all these years. A gift of new irons and Bingo! his only son is back. Now if only Brett would quit stacking the rules and pairings against him (Tim's words, not mine) he is ready to challenge for another win. By the by, thanks Tim for being the gracious host and on site organizer of the event for the second straight year.

I also witnessed the most amazing ride of a lifetime. On the first tee Sunday, Mike got on the Dukes back and didn't get off until the 10th tee. Brian was playing out of his skull and Mike just kept repeating, way to be a team player Brian. The one and only time Brian jacked it out of bounds and asked Mike to contribute, Mike OB's his own and cost the team a stroke. Sound familiar Tim? It was apparent by midday that Mike was doing what all good Festers have done, ride that wagon and save it for Chicago. Maybe the time for that strategy has passed as a little more effort in the early going may have made him the ONLY 4 time champion. I see it this way...he is a 14 time loser and very few festers can lay claim to that.

Eric came in with a plan. the strategy was sound and he put hours and hours into practice before the Fest. By the time he reached the parking lot for the Friday prefest round he was more ready than he had ever been before. He laid out his strategy to John and I and we agreed, however bold, if he were to make a run, this would be the year to try. Oh, by the way, I'm not referring to golf. I am talking to his plea to the Director for admission into the "Legends Committee." His hopes were quickly dashed and it took him two full days to recover. With one round of golf to go he had no time go gather his pride, self esteem and the needed strokes. Sorry loser, we welcome you back to the mere mortals committee with honors.

If Jim Hove had made any more rapid improvement in his game Brett may have called for not so random drug testing. Was it testosterone, steroids, Jack Daniel's or speed that made the difference? We may never know. Jim claims he owes it all to Mike who had taught him last year to develop a pre-shot routine that he was comfortable with and rids his mind of all those negative swing thoughts. I was his partner on Sunday and really thought he was the destiny child. How was I to know that two others had played a round that they had never and will never see again? Don't worry Jim, the Cray is already crunching and those above you will be years climbing back up that hill. I know it is bold, and I had said it before but Jim is the opening line favorite for 04. Grab a piece of this action while the odds are long enough to make you some serious ching.

We promised not to utter the word so I won't. But I would like to thank a last minute fill in for bringing back a little childness to the Fest. On course shots, sleeping in the love mobile already dressed for the round. I don't know if I feel young again or just stupid.

I almost paid no attention to the Director as he was the defending champ and stood no chance to stand on the stage again. I guess it was easier to dump your dirty laundry on the trophy than take it home and make Marie wash and press it for you. But, surprise, surprise, the Brett Johnson magic appeared on the final nine and he did what few defending champions have done, fell in the middle of the losers. One last time. Hail to the King! For the Seventeenth time, fine job with the Fest. We love you and adore you and look and now count only 363 more days until beginning of this life altering event you have created and nurtured into our lives.

I had no opportunity to see Trent play in his first Fest. He did what any Virgin in a sea of Gods should do, he sacrificed himself to the Gods and became one with them. In all seriousness, I did not see any disrespect for the traditions or lore of the Fest. Unlike others we know, he respects the game itself and has earned my vote to find a permanent home when available. His game did live up to what I had seen in the past. Lets say that there is no mediocracy in his bag. He has a game we all could love half of the time. Perfect for the Fest as Trent provides a random factor that can either screw over his partners or make them the King. Trent, one suggestion. You might want to show a little less remorse after costing the team a stroke. You need to relieve yourself of that stress or you won't last another year. As is fitting, Trent joins the rest of the losers after year one. Was it good for you too?

So here we are at the finish. There can only be one winner. Who came in second at the Masters this year? Who knows and if you do, who gives a crap. On two different occasions I had picked both John and Gary to win. I am no genius but Gary has wanted it so bad for so long and Brett has blown 6 CPU's trying to fix the rules to hand it to him. This year was the year of the Gary. He practiced, took lessons and bought the best technology money could buy. His game was on, his partners helped. He grabbed bonus points and hacked away at his Chicago score with reckless abandon. The planets were aligned and he has a wife and children who love him. Even the Chinese changed their calendar from the year of the snake to the year of the Gary.

John had the Jis.

So what do we know for sure. God is good. Up is up and down is down and oh yes, rock beats scissors.

But here we go. I usually take great sport in poking fun at my liberal friends as I believe they all use the same playbook. Can you say Gore vs. Bush? Lets see, the rules are written, they are tried and true. Each of the participants had them in their hands weeks in advance and the must have, must know rule has always been the case. But when the champion was crowned, by the rules we all know and love, out comes Gary with the last minute appeal. Unfortunately for Gary, there is not a friendly Palm Beach County Judge or blind to the law Florida Supreme Court. All we have is a Director, educated in law and the only word when it comes to Hackfest rules and rulings. Yes, in the past strokes have been given and taketh away. Each time, like this year they were well known to all before the first ball was struck. If there was an oversight, the responsible ones pointed the oversight to the director and the necessary corrections were made.

Gary, it was a running joke all weekend but I would like to add another thing to the list.
  1. George Bush won.
  2. Paul Wellstone is dead.
  3. John Kast is The Birdie King.
Deal with it.

Gary's Reply To "The Ruling"

Some salient observations:
  1. The aforementioned James Bernard Hove was, in fact, waiting in line for tickets to the musical group called "The Who." This lack of logical rigor is representative of the rest of the document.
  2. I see no references to existing case law in the entirety of the ruling. Am I to believe that there is no precedence whatsoever for this seemingly pedestrian situation?
  3. There seems to be a great deal of legal precedence for "fixing things in the past." Should a prisoner on death row be executed even though new DNA evidence shows he could not have been guilty of the crime? I think not.
  4. The Artistic Director makes no mention of my past drinking exploits. The infamous "Splash Puke" comes to mind. Is this a deliberate slight, or simply another egregious oversight?
That said: Hail the Birdie King, John Kast!


Brett's Reply To Gary's Note

Gary's thinking is a lot like his golf game: one can see a lot of jerky movements that result in a lot of dirt being thrown around, but he never takes the shortest path to a clear objective.
  1. "The Who" doesn't change the ruling, it only underscores the rationale for the ruling: how can you trust an overly fallible Artistic Director to correctly change history when his memory is for shit?
  2. In fact, there is no existing case law on this subject that would help Gary. When it comes to sports, courts consistently defer to the rulings of the oversight bodies that create and interepret the rules for each particular sport (unless they conflict with federal or state statutes). As long as the rules (and their [mis]interpretations) are followed, issues of fundamental fairness do not come into play. Had I taken a golf club and imbedded it in Gary's Skull while he was in the midst of the Rock/Paper/Scissors tiebreak (rendering him unable to continue) it may have been unfair to Gary, but he would not have been awarded the title "Birdie King" because he would not have won under the rules as they were understood by the officials at the time of the event.
  3. Gary looks to the criminal law to attempt an analogy, this is a predictably inept stretch of logic. Criminal convictions are predicated on the existence of a "guilty mind" and result in punishment. A loss in the Hackfest is not punishment, it is Gary's ordinary lot in life (the title of Birdie King is one that has to be earned). As per #2 above, "guilty minds" are encouraged in sports. The very nature of the Hackfest is that since all competitors are trying to win, they are doing all they can to make sure their fellow competitors lose. The proper reading of Gary's criminal analogy is: Gary's criminal never had the "guilty mind" that should result in punishment--no post hoc conviction could give it to him, said conviction only made him appear guilty--hence his real status is that of a free or unconvicted person. Likewise, Gary never won the Hackfest, so to award it to him post hoc would only make him appear to be the Birdie King, his correct status would still be that of loser. The court that let the criminal go free fixed a mistake that an earlier court made relative to the appearance of guilt, they did not alter the reality of the prisoner's underlying guilt or innocence. To award the Hackfest to Gary would alter only the appearance, not the underlying reality. I am avoiding the mistake the trial court made based on false appearances (convicting the prisoner/awarding the Hackfest to Gary) by letting the Hackfest be won on the field of battle, not in a courtroom after the events occured.
  4. Gary's past drinking exploits were not mentioned because of both their paucity/lack of impact and the intellegence of the actor involved. I used examples that people would instantly remember and actors notable for a discernable learning curve.

Michael Sauer Showing Why He Needs A Good Beating

I am continually impressed with what our public institutions of higher learning (the hallowed halls of academia) are ever thrusting into the world-at-large; the prime example being one Brett Johnson.

The complete and utter propriety of his communication is a wonderment to an uneducated plebe of my humble vessel. As an esteemed member of The Hackfest Legends Committee I, Mike Sauer, heartily endorse and support the Artistic Director's judgment from on high.

This presentation of Hackfest 2003 scenario and solution (along with interspersed facts, tidbits, and arguments) lead me to believe that he has a bright future ahead of him in the world of corporate law. Either that or he'll make an outstanding aluminum siding salesman.

Either way, the barrister has spoken his writ of habeas corpus and all involved parties must abide (Gary: "The Dude abides").

In closing I would like to add that this whole sordid and sorry affair could have been niftily avoided if the aforementioned Artistic Director wasn't so cavalierly wanton in his way with precious Hackfest strokes. These baubles are the intrinsic, priceless, jewels which line the crown of each Hackfest champion each Hackfest tournament. To flout about with such valuable components as a 'stroke pimp' and offer each one of these tasty morsels as offering up a 'ho' to the nearest 'john' debases and devalues the special and unique meritorious worth each stroke deserves, and is action most unbecoming the provider and ad hoc procurer of each and every Hackfest stroking system.

I await any comments/rebuttals that are forthcoming.

Good day, sirs. Miguel Hackfest Champion '88, '89, '95
P.S. Hail, hail Birdie King John!