Friday, September 6, 2013

Brian Suh Takes on THE BIG ROOST

Yesterday's blog post was on Zach Kleiner, one of our freshmen managers from last season. Today's post will be on Brian Suh, our other freshmen manager whose birthday also happens to be today (happy birthday BSuh). Like Zach, Brian was recruited over Facebook, and upon joining the program, we immediately noticed Brian took advantage of the immense amount of free food the program had to offer.

He had a big appetite but the thing that separated Brian from the rest is that he always finished meals with an empty plate. He put a lot on there, but he finished it all. His confidence and ability to execute his dining gameplan was impressive. As a result, myself, Rob Cross, and Nick Souder wanted Brian to put his abilities to the test. We wanted him to take on the Big Roost.

For those who don't know what the Big Roost is, it was a challenge at Rooster's BBQ (a now out of business restaurant) in which the person has to eat a 72 ounce steak, 1 pound potato, texas toast, and a salad in 1 hour. We were confident Brian could complete the task so on December 17, 2012 myself, Zach, Rob, Nick, and Rafi Goldman, our final manager stepped into Rooster's with Brian. It was showtime.

However, before we got to the restaurant Brian was busy preparing for the big day. After consulting with our strength and conditioning coach, Curtis Turner, Brian's plan of attack was as follows: a relatively big breakfast to stretch the stomach, followed by non-stop hydration throughout the rest of the day. Brian was pissing every 10 minutes the entire afternoon because clearly his bladder isn't as big as his stomach. After the preparations were over, we arrived at Rooster's to present Brian Suh as the 104th challenger to the Big Roost.

Upon arrival we were hoping that there would be an extensive crowd at the restaurant but there were about 5 other customers there. We really wanted to create an encouraging, loud, home-plate advantage for Brian, but instead the crowd was more like one you'd expect at a Vandy football game when Robbie Caldwell was the head coach. Anyway, once we got settled, I claimed the rights to live tweet the event so in the remainder of this post I will re-post my tweets (and accompanying photos from that time), and go through our collective thought process at each point in the journey. Enjoy.

NOTE: Bold type is the actual tweet, regular type is additional thoughts

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Brian has the appetite of an ox and is confident in his ability to conquer the big roost. Here he is in anticipation

Right now we have just settled into the restaurant. We have placed our orders and they have started preparing the Big Roost. Everybody is trying to keep the atmosphere light and jovial, but we all know the seriousness of the task at hand, and we don't want Brian to lose focus. His eyes are like lasers in this photo, penetrating and fearless.

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A bit of background on the contest. 103 have tried and 98 have failed. Expectations are high. Brian wants on the wall 

This tweet is pretty self-explanatory. The odds were long, but the hopes large.

Brian just headed to the bathroom for the 3rd time in 15 min. Being properly hydrated is a key component to tackling this challenge

During each of Brian's trips to the restroom, we had somebody accompany him. As I said above, not only did he need a lot of water during the day, but he needed confidence throughout. Conquering the Big Roost was going to have to be a team effort. You can't leave the man alone, he needs constant encouragement when facing such a daunting task.

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When you see the roost for the first time, you are immediately struck by its largesse. Obviously, 72 ounces is a lot but when you actually see it, it feels like even more. Once the food arrived, we started talking strategy. There was some different components to the meal, but one of the biggest challenges is the fact that you could not cut the steak at all before the hour started so you have to account for the time it takes to cut the steak into your calculation. It was not something we had prepared for.

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Brian eyes the Big Roost. The roost is trembling in fear

Just look into his eyes in this photo. There is no fear, just intense focus and unwavering confidence. He looks like Vladimir Putin here, the eyes are stone cold and filled with contempt. Except instead of fighting capitalism, Brian is fighting a dead cow. A cow that no longer breathes, and is no longer living, but poses more of a threat to Brian than it did when it was alive. It now has the potential to wreak havoc on his digestive system and also turn him into another victim to go on the wall. Brian is determined to defeat the dead meat.

Brian sends the roost back!!!!!!! It is not cooked enough to his likely. The roost is back on the grill as we await its rentry

Part of the contest allows the contestant to take one test bite to see if the steak is cooked to their liking. I think the steak was fine, but this was a power play on Brian's part. The roost was getting set to dig in and stand its ground as the hour ticked off, but Brian threw a curveball. It's like the eating challenge equivalent of icing the kicker, so back to the grill the roost went.

The rest of the table: myself, @robcross924 @thenicksouder and @ hesonfire28 just got our meals. 2 brisket a, 1 ribs and 1 order of wings

We got our meals at this time. My brisket came with fries and mac and cheese, and this was after I got a 10 order of wings and before I ordered my banana pudding. Meals like that are the reason I am currently dieting today.

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At this point the excitement is palpable. We have waited for the roost to be cooked to Brian's liking and the nervous tension has been replaced by palpable excitement. It's like the start of a new season when every team thinks they have a chance to win the championship, that is how we felt now. That we had a champion in our midst.

Brian brings a 2nd plate in to make cutting the meat a bit easier. He is using a combo of A1 sauce and the house BBQ sauce on the steak

This was Brian's first strategic decision. As you can see above, the 72 ouncer took up most of the plate so Brian wanted to rearrange it and make cutting easier therefore saving valuable time that could be used to chow down. Brian's choice of sauces was standard, but interesting because he slathered his steak in sauce. When you are eating 72 ounces of meat, you need flavoring, but steak sauces are high calorie condiments so at the time I was questioning if he had achieved the right flavor/caloric balance.

Brian has mastered art of multi tasking: chewing piece of steak while simultaneously cutting next piece. And he just took his 1st breath!!

At this point Brian just sprints out of the gate. He is on a roll and pursuing a very aggressive mentality. He wants to get out ahead of the the competition and never look back. Pacing is not part of the equation right now. He is trying to set such a high bar of excellence that he eats so much so fast, he can just coast to the finish line. This hot start comes back to kill him later on.

new strategy in place, Brian just ripping the steak off w/his mouth and cutting out the middleman (the fork). It's like eating pizza he says

This was just primordial barbarism. Brian was eating like a lion who just rips up overmatched animals with his mouth. He had no regard for the steak at this stage, his teeth were ripping into it shamelessly. There was no dignity, no neatly cut pieces to be consumed at a leisurely pace. Just shreds of meat being thrown into his mouth all at once. The caring Brian we all knew had disappeared at this point.

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Now Brian is sandwiching the large steaks between pieces of Texas Toast. He's innovative

After eating straight steak for awhile, Brian's taste buds are sick of it. He needs to try something else. So he plasters on pieces of Texas Toast loaded with butter onto the steak. This will help him get over the feeling of fear that he can't eat the steak any longer and to rekindle the fire we saw earlier where he was full steam ahead.

I've put a table wide ban on telling jokes. If Brian laughs he has higher probability of both choking on his food and losing pace

At the time of this tweet, there had been some resident comedians in the audience who didn't realize the seriousness of the task at hand. When you laugh while eating you are more likely to choke on your food or spit it out because you can't swallow. In a race where every second is precious, we can't afford an amateur comedy hour.

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LOOOK AT HIM GOOOOOOOOOOO. Ripping steak like the karate kid rips wood

Brian starts ripping the steak apart with his hands. All those hours of weight lifting and those awful looking protein shakes he makes for himself start to pay off.

He's discarding gristle and fat off the steak like a stripper discards her clothes. Just rapid fire dismantling

You don't need to eat the fat or gristle as part of the challenge so Brian gets rid of them. He realizes he only has room for the essentials. He can't spend time eating fat, he needs meat. He's basically decided to pursue a thick girl (the well-cut steak here) versus a fat one (the blubbery exterior) at this point.

Brian's mom just texted him about ordering his textbooks for next semester ASAP. I don't even know how to respond to this blasphemy

In response to hearing about his moms text, Brian says "it's so Asian of her to do that during dinner"

I was disgusted at this series of events. Her son is in the middle of conquering the biggest challenge of his life, and she's thinking about books? We are talking about books (Allen Iverson voice)! It's not like this was the day before classes started. We had just finished finals 2 days ago, the semester was three weeks away, and she's thinking about books?! LET BRIAN LIVE!!!! AND EAT!!!

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Brian is halfway through the competition. We have 30 minutes remaining

We all feel good about the progress Brian has made thus far. We estimate he has finished over half the steak to this point but if you look at him now, you can see the early signs of fatigue setting in. He went hard the first half hour, but now does he have enough left in the tank for the second one? We are all skeptical.

Brian is taking some vry deep, labored breaths right now. Showing his 1st signs of fatigue. And on a side note I just got my banana pudding

Brian really starts slowing down here. He is breathing like our team after running a series of 22's. Out of breath, borderline wheezing, almost sick. But this was a time of joy for me as I got my dessert!

Sweet Home Alabama comes blaring over the speakers. It's gettin grooovvvvvyyyyy in here

I just randomly decided to comment on the music selection at this time.

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Brian takes a quick break from the steak to dig into his dressing less salad

Smartly, Brian decides not to waste any calories on salad dressing. He goes to the salad not only to vary the taste but also give his jaws a much needed rest. Salad is much easier to chew and digest so this is a slight recovery period for him before going back to the steak.

Brian has his head down as his jaw looks to be functioning at about 50%. Please send me tweets of encouragement to read to him

At this time, Zach Kleiner channels his inner Coach Franklin and is yelling at Brian to take this challenge six seconds at a time. One bite at a time. Worry about 6 seconds at a time. He is relentlessly propagandizing the message to Brian who is doing his best to take it to heart. A few moments later, Nate Watkins tweets in "make sure he's just focused on being 1-0 tonight. Tomorrow doesn't matter right now".
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 TEN MINUTES REMAINING!!!!!!! Can he do it????? 

With 50 minutes passed, Brian has made significant progress. The steak has taken a massive hit, but like the Russian Army under Stalin, it just has more manpower than Brian does at this point. There is still a good amount of steak left, and clearly Brian is mentally and physically exhausted. Optimism is low.

AND A MASSIVE BRIAN CHANT STARTS TO BREAK OUT. He has quickly become a fan favorite and he just got a pat on the back from a hot girl!

This is the crowd's last stand to will Brian to victory. The chant starts out organically before spreading like wildfire to the other 5 customers in the joint. They come to the table and start joining in, chanting "BRI-AN, BRI-AN, BRI-AN". Unfortunately when the hot girl pats Brian on the back his jaw is still chewing on a piece of steak so he can't ask for her number. Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity of the evening.

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It's an uphill battle now. 2 minute warning

Reality is starting to set in and the mood becomes somber.

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The roost wins :(

The agony of defeat.

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We are heading to the scale to see exactly how much steak he ate. 9.5 oz left so he ate 62.5 ounces of steak in 1 hr 

A remarkably valiant effort

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