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The 2024 Louligans vs American Outlaws STL Winter Classic

Every year, we consider the Winter Classic to be the kickoff event to our yearlong efforts of charity and giving back to the community. So what is the Winter Classic? Are we talking about the NHL marketing wet dream of an outdoor hockey game?

Yeah, not so much. Nobody’s gonna pay money to see this one.

It started on January 4th, 2014. The Louligans had been going to see the St. Louis Lions for a couple of seasons, and we’d collectively been discussing how we wanted to start contributing to the community instead of just being drunken louts baking in 90+ degree heat in the summer. Jason Patrylo had mentioned working with the St. Louis Area Foodbank through his work, and we thought that would be a perfect fit. The Foodbank is an amazing resource for the St. Louis area; especially during the holidays, when tough choices have to be made, a small gift for a child or eating, the electric or gas bill vs eating, people choose to go hungry. The Foodbank’s shelves are often depleted come New Year’s Day. Additionally, people are concerned about paying off the credit cards from holiday gifts, gave donations in the holiday spirit and are burnt out on giving, etc., so the monetary donations aren’t as strong. That’s where we come in.

That initial game was one for the ages. It had snowed just prior, so Jim Shipley and Tony Glavin had to plow off a field for the game. It was still super cold. As we do, coolers were brought with of fine adult sports drinks. (Beers, for those that are confused.) No one would say the play was inspired or impressive. John played with a beer holster on his leg. Rocko, armed with his kendo stick, was drunkenly chasing around an AOSTL opponent. Brad had a cigarette in one hand, beer in the other. John ended up with a broken ankle, Lenon with a broken wrist. But, the most important thing: we filled a Ford Escape with food donations. And the tradition was born.

It eventually moved to Soccer Park with us when STLFC was around. New memories were made: Mario became a game winning legend; I played defense with Steve Pecher, my childhood hero; the tradition of red carding Pat started after he accidentally plowed over a kid; STLFC hero Sam Fink came out and took a PK for the Louligans. It got sillier too, but more on that later. We lost one year to the flooding, and another to COVID. It was at Marquette Park last year; the kids played collect the bullet casings. But this year, we’re back on the main field at Soccer Park.

Saturday, January 6th, we do it again.

Soccer Park in Fenton.
Doors open at 10am; game will start around 11. Inside will be open for getting warm/getting prepared/hanging out. Restrooms will be open.

Full field. No matter the weather. Because this event is always about us suffering. It’s a small price to pay compared to what the St. Louis Area Foodbank deals with. There are people out there trying to figure out how to make due with limited funds, and may go hungry. Not only the physical concerns, but the mental stress and pain of providing when you can’t. Food or heat? Food or gas for the car? Choices that we don’t have to make on Saturday morning.

In order to play, you MUST make a donation of some sort. Food, money, donate online, make a legit donation. Not the canned peas that have been in your pantry that dates back to NASL (pick an version). FoodBank will have barrels at the entryway for us to fill with food. Thanks to Scott Clemenson and John Anderson at SLSG for helping with availability on that (and the Park). It’s on the honor system usually…don’t be that person.

Louligans wear blue or green And AOSTL wears red. We recommend bringing both if you want to play a lot; usually the sides are unbalanced (skill and numbers)j. IF YOU ONLY BRING CITY PINK YOU WILL PLAY FOR AOSTL. Here’s the big reveal: most of us are both members of Louligans and AOSTL. That’s why we play each other: we’re pretty much playing ourselves +/- a handful. It’s common for a person to be on one side and then be playing on the other side later.

The main game silly rules:

1. This is fun. Don’t run over people, slide tackle, be ultra competitive, etc. You’ll be tossed. And shamed.
2. 45 minute halves. Stoppage time at management’s discretion. 11 a side.
3. Louligans wear BLUE or GREEN. American Outlaws wear RED. Not pink, not black, not white. Blue/Green and Red.
4. Pat Houlihan will be red carded. It’s tradition.
5. Kids are going to play. Don’t be a dick. Kid math may come into play: 2 kids may equal one adult.
6. You won’t play the whole game. Everyone’s there to have fun: sub out every so often. The crowd will shame you if you’re time hogging. We always have about 50 people that insist they’re the goalie; it’s a good idea to swap out as well.
7. Substitutions are hockey rules. Can sub on the fly. Time hogging will be called out if you’re trying to get back on asap. You can get busted for too many men on the field if you cheat that. Punishment is having to answer every question we get about getting tickets to see Messi in Miami. (Spoiler alert: it’s pure hell.)
8. If, at the end of the game, the score is either significantly lopsided, or other determining factors, MULTIBALL is in play. Yep, that is what it sounds like. Last year MEGABALL was introduced.
9. Drinking while playing is permissible and encouraged. No glass please.
10. Pulling your shirt off to reveal the other side’s shirt underneath, and making a bad-guy turn to help the other team is no longer allowed.
11. CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES. SLSG donates the field time to us; let’s leave it in better shape than we got it.
12. Have fun. Donate a lot. Start the season off right…with a big donation and a lot of fun. We were impressive last year. We can improve.

There will be adult sports beverages provided by our friends at Urban Chestnut and 2nd Shift. Free for all in attendance, but you really should make a donation of some sort if you’re attending. THat’s what the day is about, right?

If you’re new, on the fence, shy, this is the time to come out and get stuck in.
Worried you’re going to embarrass yourself? Really? Have you seen most of us?
Don’t know anyone? Celebrating a goal is a good way to meet up.
Hoping Lutz will be there and scout you and your dreams will come true? Yeah, not happening.

But, you’ll have fun. It’s hard not to. Yeah, it’s gonna be cold. That’s the point. Bundle up, drink some beverages, run around, and (said in best Oprah voice) let the spirit of giving warm your heart.

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