Want to skip the chatter and get right to the Moneyshot game? Click here and scroll down to the bottom. No? Glad to hear it – read on.
Cheers to the New Faces of Sumo & Stogies
Last basho, something wonderful happened in Sumo & Stogies. Somebody I don’t know hosted and gave me hope that Sumo & Stogies will continue on with new mugs staring sans smile through the cigar smoke, a whiskey in hand and the sounds of sumo in the background.
Over the past month, with Sumo off the air and little else to occupy my spare thoughts, I have been thinking about what gives someone that Je Ne Sais Quoility necessary to thrive in Sumo & Stogies. With a few exceptions, all the fellows I have known through Sumo & Stogies came to their first basho knowing almost nothing of Sumo, many came feeling distrustful of this stuff called whiskey, and at least a few smoked their first cigar in our company. Many times, the first Sumo & Stogies basho has been a bit of a mess, this is especially true for some of our most illustrious current members.
That Je Ne Sai Quoility
So what is that Je Ne Sais Quoility that defines a Sumo & Stogies Gentleman? Well, I’ve thought on this and the answer is simple: persistence. Those Gentleman who have shown staying power simply kept coming time and time again. They also showed up at the bashos and eventually hosted a basho.
I bring this up to make my point clear and drive it home. Sumo & Stogies is not about expert sumo analysis (though you will find some damn fine expert analysis on this site). Sumo & Stogies is about deciding to love sumo in whatever way you choose (so long as that way includes cigars and hopefully whiskey) and then being unashamedly persistent about it.
This post is addressed to all the new members of Sumo & Stogies. Its a flat out challenge, and the challenge to you is this: follow this basho like you’ve never followed a basho before, and make your debut with comments on the site here. This is both a challenge to the newer members of Sumo & Stogies and an invitation to our wider audience as well. Towards this end, we are introducing the Moneyshot this basho: a game befitting the quality of sumo we have been seeing recently.
The Suntory Time of Sumo
As anyone who has watched sumo for long enough to remember Asashoryu will know, and as the rest of you will soon find out, it is a tough time in the history of sumo to learn to love it. The current era of sumo is to sumo as Suntory is to whiskey – but I’ll tell you what, the first bottle of whiskey I ever drank was a bottle of Suntory Special Reserve that I thought had been left to me as a present, but which had in fact been left to me because Valentine didn’t want to touch the bottle. I drank that bottle – spit half of it out, to tell the truth – and I love whiskey these days: so it must be possible to learn to love sumo even if it is the Suntory time of sumo.
Now, it would seem that the current path to promotion is to suck less (or appear to suck less) than everyone else. Well, if that is the path, we had best embrace it. I’d like to introduce the Moneyshot Bet: a game where we predict who is going to suck less this basho.
The rules are simple: choose a makuuchi rikishi who got a makekoshi (won 7 or less bouts last basho) and predict publicly, in a comment following this post, that that rikishi will kachikoshi (win 8 or more bouts this basho). In order to have a chance at winning, your rikishi must get a kachikoshi this basho.
How to get points towards winning: On each day of the basho, your rikishi will fight another rikishi. You need to look up the last five bouts these two have fought together. For each loss your rikishi got against the other rikishi in the last five bouts they fought, your rikishi gets a point. The maximum number of points your rikishi can get on a given day is 5. The reason your rikishi get points for losing is because this is a measure of difficulty of schedule. Keep track of your rikishi’s difficulty of schedule points over the course of the basho.
How to win: There are two types of victory in this game. If you are too lazy to keep track of difficulty of schedule points – you can call yourself a winner if your rikishi gets a kachikoshi. Pat yourself on the back if this is the case, because no one else will care. The other way of winning is to choose the rikishi who 1) gets a kachikoshi and 2) has the most difficulty of schedule points.
Nitpicker’s guide: 1) If two rikishi both get kachikoshis and have the same number of difficulty-of-schedule points, the rikishi who won more bouts wins. 2) Yes, you can pick a rikishi someone else picked – I mean… how are we going to stop you?
The list of rikishi you can choose from (and if you are new to Sumo, I suggest choosing at random):
Toyonoshima – covered by Screeching Owl
Miyabiyama – covered by Hida
Takekaze – covered by Chris
Okinoumi – covered by de Gama
Goeido – covered by Tobermory
Kitataiki – covered by McCarthy
Takayasu – covered by Nigel
Homasho – covered by Briton-Meyer
Toyohibiki ー covered by Connolly
Aoiyama – covered by Daily
Daido – somewhat covered by Inoko
Fujiazuma – covered by Xenwall
Takanoyama – Covered by Montana
So, if you dare, let us know who you think will get their kachikoshi. (If you don’t know how to figure out difficulty of schedule points – tell us who you think will get their kachikoshi anyhow – better to be half way in than not in at all). Also, check out the banzuke for the coming basho to help you make your pick.