As an old adage goes, there is no such thing as bad press. Because of Carleton’s decision to decrease the overall time that beer (Hamm’s) could be served at the 156th Rotblatt in addition to not allowing the Rotblatt coordinators to solicit donations, current students and alumni alike were called to action; Instagram accounts were created, Change.org petitions made and Venmo payments — oh so many payments — were made. So by trying to slyly change how Rotblatt functions, it would appear that Carleton gave Rotblatt its biggest publicity boost in years. Of course, the new changes were made in the name of safety, but do you think that shortening the time one is freely served beer is actually safer, or does it sound more like the makings of a drinking game? (Drink beer in less time)?
Scenario 1: The money flows. Beer (Hamm’s) is purchased. Rotblatt starts at 5 a.m. (we’ll talk more about this later). Patient Carls are handed beer at 9 a.m. sharp. Knowing that there is a lot of beer in the back of that U-Haul truck, and there being less time than usual to drink the same amount of free beer — or at least that’s what you heard from all your friends, because this is your first Rotblatt — you drink. Fast. Safe?
Certainly, Carleton students are quite responsible and whatnot, but it’s hard to ignore the presence of quite a lot of free beer, which without individual effort will remain undrunk. The mindset of, “If I don’t drink it, who will?” thus prevails, and with a shorter period of time, the same amount of beer is drunk over a shorter period of time. Of course, people might not care about all this, as they have a different mindset; after all, at least there’s free beer to drink…
Scenario 2: It’s 5 a.m. and you follow Rotblatt rules. You have a cup in hand, and you’re ready to play. But what is the cup filled with? Not free beer, that’s handed out a few hours from now. Well it’s a good thing you pregamed—wait, no. That’s not safe. What? Pregaming doesn’t usually involve 4.7% ABV beer (Hamm’s).
Well, no, a safe (and alluring) drinking environment would be outside at the start of Rotblatt, where you can be served (comparatively) low-alcohol beverages (Hamm’s) that are free throughout the whole day. In my opinion, this is the crux of the problem and why I don’t think the change to Rotblatt is so safe. By moving the time that beer is served later into the morning, much later than the start of Rotblatt, I sincerely believe that pregaming and consumption of hard alcohol will be much more prevalent during the wee hours of the morning. Rather than having free beer as a conduit to bring the early-riser Rotblatt players together, it seems likely that these participants will just “go harder” prior to coming to play the beautiful game because there will be no beer until 9 a.m.. And let’s not even think about Scenario 3.
Scenario 3: combine scenarios 1 and 2.
It seems like a silly thing to write about, and it is. But beyond all the talk about how responsible or not Carleton students are with alcohol, there is something to be said about the silliness — and dare I say quirkiness — of the incredible vibes that result from free beer and a very long softball game.