EMERSON, IA. — Countless Iowa families head outside to play football around Thanksgiving each year. Only two do it with 300 cans of beer. For the 10th year in a row, the Babbitt and Hembry boys of Emerson gathered friends Saturday from Kansas City to Chicago for a game of six-on-six, one-hand-touch football. The game is one-hand touch because the player’s other must clench a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. And if he drops that can, he drinks it. “What’s more all-American male than drinking beer, playing football and hanging out after Thanksgiving?” said Michael Babbitt, another founding brother. “Everybody just knows to come. We don’t call. We don’t email. Everybody knows to show up.”
The rules, per the event’s website, are straightforward:
1. You must have a PBR in your hand at all times.
2. If you drop the PBR, you must chug it and grab another.
3. 40-yard field.
4. One-hand touch.
5. Extra points still given if you can pull out your high school jersey or letter jacket. Extra points will also be given to beards and mullets.
6. We play until we get to 70 points … or until we get really tired or we run out of beer, whatever happens first.
The main thing you need to know about playing football with a can of beer in your hand is that you always dent the can for a better grip, said Jason Gray, a Chicago investment banker who grew up in Emerson and plays every year. “When you get families and start moving away, you don’t talk like you should. Everyone knows that when this comes up, it keeps everybody together,” he said.
PBR and Thanksgiving Day football. That’s what America does! Yeah I know I’m a couple weeks late on this, but it’s still the holiday season. Seriously I don’t know if I’ve ever read a more American story than this. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a better tradition than this. Like I feel like I need to go out and murder a terrorist after reading this. Just an awesome thanksgiving day tradition. In fact I may fly to Iowa next year and just show up at this thing. Sounds like you don’t need a formal invite. Just show up a 2pm with a 12 pack and your high school jersey and be ready to go. And I’ll tell you what else these guys were all pretty good. Like I bet these were all high school heroes because they were still slinging it out there. America Fuck Yeah!
PS – What do dorks and kids in the band and shit do during Thanksgiving? Like what traditions do they have? Do all their friends come to their mothers basements and play the tuba or dungeons and dragons or something?
Double PS – If you don’t think I’m setting this up as a yearly Barstool game you’re fucking nuts.