A ZogSportsSF Vegas Vacation

Our special guest Zog blogger this week resides in sunny San Fran. Kyle Smeallie is here to tell us what really happened behind the scenes in Vegas.

“Have you seen the setup downstairs?” my teammate asked at Friday’s happy hour. I’d been distracted by the sun setting over the Vegas strip, Honey Gobbler cocktails, and that guy on team New Jersey whose hair was just so Jersey. “Look through the pool.”unnamed

From water’s edge, through the windows lining the pool’s base, you could see the display downstairs: ping pong tables, corn hole set ups, a dozen pool tables, the works. All for us. That’s when it dawned on me: we were in for an insane Vegas weekend.

The ten of us on team San Francisco were all the fortunate winners of social media contests put on by ZogSports. Our prize was a weekend trip to the City of Sin, where American Honey had invited social sports leagues across the country to compete in the first-ever Bar-sity Athletics World Championship. Airfare covered, two nights in the Hard Rock Hotel, a little somethin’ to throw down on the tables, no-cover at over-the-top clubs, all sorts of perks. (American Honey, your marketing team: Doing It Right.)

Saturday started with eye black, game planning (i.e., drinking) and getting pumped for the main event, a kickball tournament. Winning team would take home $10,000 along with a billboard (!) in their hometown. Sixteen teams from cities around the country, no one out-and-out saying it but there was certainly some regional pride on the line. This made it all the better when our team, the fearsome squad from San Francisco, tasted defeat immediately, after we gave up 10 runs in the first inning. We ended up bringing it back to 10-7, but in the end we couldn’t get past Frankenstein’s fat foot. (Looking at you, Dallas.)

In at least one other respect, though, we absolutely crushed. That was in the category of impromptu interview skills, because when the dudes at BroBible asked our teammate Charlie, “why is playing in a kickball league awesome?” he knocked it out of the park.

With our kickball dreams dashed, we did the only responsible thing we could: We rocked out, threw dice at the craps table, doubled down on Blackjack, went all-in on Hold ‘em, and downed American Honey like they were giving it away (because they were). Then we hit perhaps the wildest club I’ve ever been to, Surrender. There was a pool with little floating pads for lounging, a mini-casino in the club and Zed’s Dead on the decks.

Basically, it was Vegas Vacation, and we were all Nick Papagiorgio getting the royal treatment we didn’t deserve. (Am I right?) All because we play ZogSports.

So hey, thank you Zog, and thank you American Honey. But most of all, thank you, Nick in a Box.

20 Questions With Carlos Hawkins

20 Questions continues with one of our awesome ZogSportsNYC football refs, Carlos Hawkins! If you’re not Zogging with C-Hawk, he might be watching his favorite reruns of Sex and the City or cheering for the New York Jets. Check out what Carlos revealed to Zog!Carlos

1)  What sport do you ref? Football

2)  When did you start working at ZogSports? Oh goodness, can’t remember the start date! (guess it’s been that long!)

3)  Hometown? Queens, NY

4) WCarloshat is your guilty pleasure? Enjoying some Sex and the City reruns

5) Got any hidden talents? Cooking

6) What is all time favorite sports team? New York Jets

7) If you were a drink, what would it be? Whiskey on the rocks

8) What is your funniest ZogSports memory? That moment when you get tagged while your shorts are coming down and slip on the track after you scored. (#awkward)

9)  Any childhood nicknames? C Hawk (like the bird)

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10) If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? The Big Brother

11) Quick! What’s the last thing you ate? Sweet Potato Fries

12)  If you could only bring three things with you to an island, what would they be?  1) Beer 2) Sunscreen 3) Biographies

13) Which celeb would you love to meet? Angelina Jolie

14) Think fast! Beer Pong or Flip Cup? Beer Pong!

15) What are you currently listening to? Jagged Little Pill. Yep I totally just threw it way back with some Alanis!!

16) If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for? 1) Give every Lois Lane a hug 2) Catch a football pass from a NFL quarterback 3) Have a house in every corner of the country

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17) What is your favorite joke? Anything that Sheldon Cooper says from “The Bing Bang Theory”…bazinga!!

18) What’s the worst present you’ve ever received? A gift card…to IHOP. Sheesh!

19) What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Bacon wrapped asparagus

20) Is the glass half full or half empty? The glass is half full

Families That Zog Together – Stick Together

This week’s post comes from our Atlanta GM, Brian Caldwell. After having an awesome time in Vegas, Brian is here to share with you what it was like to be reunited with his Zog family once again.

As the Atlanta general manager, I’m the only full-time ZogSports employee for 640 miles, so it’s easy to feel like I’m on an island and disconnected from my colleagues in the other cities.  Since joining the Zog team in January, I’ve gotten to know the other remote General Managers, Kendra (DC), Matt (LA), Nick (SF) and the HQ crew in NYC, through our daily 30-minute video conferences and weekly General Manager calls where we learn, share, and brainstorm ideas.  Yet, there has only been one time in the last year when all twenty full time ZogSports employees were in the same place to learn and hang out together. Brian Vegas

When I found out Zog was sending the entire full-time staff to Las Vegas I must admit I had mixed feelings of excitement and reticence. On one hand, I was psyched to have the opportunity to spend time with the entire staff and support our kickball teams. On the other hand, the last time I went to Vegas was in college, and I found the place to be shockingly overdone and exorbitantly overpriced for my mid-western college town pedigree.  Yet, as weeks went by and excitement grew among the group, I told myself how blessed I am to have a job with a mission I support and awesome perks for its employees.

We hadn’t seen each other since March, but the chatter and inside jokes picked up as soon as the plane landed.  The mood among the staff reminded me of a college roommate reunion; you may go months or even years without seeing one another but you never miss a beat! Events like these make me realize how strong of a bond we have as ZogSports employees.

Continuous Improvement is one of the ZogSports core values, so part of our Vegas trip was spent learning new leadership tactics to take home and employ on the job.  Successful part-time staff management is the single greatest challenge of being a General Manager.  Mike, the ZogSports VP of Strategy & Expansion, shared with us the story of a US Naval nuclear submarine captain who was able to transform his crew from thoughtless followers into free thinking leaders by shifting the language he used to phrase his expectations.  We also learned how to maximize our “Return on Luck,” as Mike (also the resident gambling guru) led a statistics-based seminar on the popular casino game Craps.

The atmosphere was electric as the ZogSports participants competed in the Saturday kickball tournament.  There was a DJ spinning upbeat dance tracks, live play-by-play commentary from a St. Louis Cardinals announcer (“That One Guy”), and an American Honey bar with all of the cocktails a fella could want.

While Atlanta didn’t have a horse in the race, I was adopted by the San Francisco squad—quite fitting as the team colors were the same maize and blue of my alma mater (GO BLUE!).  Unfortunately the SF team was one and done, but the entire ZogSports crew, both players and managers, rallied around team New Jersey as they made it to the semi-finals.

I recall an amazing moment as I watched the game and realized nearly everyone surrounding the court was affiliated with ZogSports in some way, shape or form.  What a true “family” experience to wrap up our company trip to Las Vegas.

20 Questions With Marc Pharel

We love our refs and know you feel the same! Ever wonder what they do when they’re not Zogging? We’re introducing a regular feature that goes behind the scenes with our staff.  From sipping mimosas to playing the trumpet, we’re thrilled to kick this off with 20 things you probably never knew about ZogSportsNYC ref, Marc Pharel.
Marc Pharel

What sports do you ref?  Basketball and Kickball

When did you start working at ZogSports? September 2010

Where can we find you after the games (other than the bar)?  Brooklyn, NY

What is your guilty pleasure? (besides for ZogSports obv) Terrible action movies!

Got any hidden talents? Playing the Trumpet and Trombone

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Tell us your funniest ZogSports memory: Hitting what I thought was the game winning 3 pointer in a game. I was high fiving and celebrating with the whole crowd and then being told that it was a two and had to come out to play OT (still won).

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If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? All In

What sport team is you’re all time fav? Dallas Cowboys

What’s the last thing you ate? Bacon egg and cheese on a croissant

What’s on your mouse pad?  A picture of my goddaughter

If you could only bring three things with you to an island, what would they be? My Kindle, Wifi, and a basketball

 denzel-washington-training-day-jacket 4-700x700What is playing on your playlist right now? Notorious B.I.G. Greatest Hits

Which celebrity would you love to meet?  Denzel Washington (just so I can recreate scenes from Training Day)

What are your favorite pair sneakers? Nike Foamposite

If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for? Infinite wishes X 3

 How long could you go without talking? 2 days

 What’s your favorite joke? How many ______ does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

What’s the worst present you’ve ever received? An empty box

What’s on your fridge door? Magnets from places I’ve traveled

 If you were a drink, what would it be? A MimosaMimosa-Cocktail-Recipe

Zogger Living Out Your Streetball Dreams

“Roatti the White Tiger” is blowing up the internet! Some of you may recognize this Zogger as Rich Boatti, a participant from our football leagues. From Deadspin to Bleacher Report to Gothamist, his streetball skills are entertaining the country! We decided to step behind the scenes and see how it all went down.

What’s your record number of 3 pointers for one game?

Boatti taking a bball break in Atlantic City

Boatti taking a bball break in Atlantic City

I’m not sure what my one-game record is for threes, but the most consecutive I’ve hit in a row is 4. I’ve done that two other times (not counting the time in the video).  So if I ever hit 5 straight I expect the video of that to be 20% more viral.

Who decided to record the game?

I actually didn’t know the game was being recorded until after I hit the third one in the video.  The cameraman is friends with the guys in the game and he told me afterwards that he just got a new camera and was testing it out by recording his friends playing streetball. It took me about four months to track him down and get the footage.  If it wasn’t for him none of this craziness would be happening, so shout out to George!

Is there going to be a rematch?

There has already been a rematch – I play with those guys every now and then.  The teams weren’t exactly the same but the team I was on lost, and I only hit 2 threes in that game.  I did have the same defender though, and he was determined not to let me show him up again and fouled me pretty much every time I touched the ball.

Boatti photobombing during a Zog happy hour

Boatti photobombing during a Zog happy hour

Where can we watch you playing next?

I play at those courts pretty much every weekend as long as the weather is nice.  We have plans to play this Saturday around 1 pm.  The courts are at Washington Park, which is on Washington Ave right off the BQE in Brooklyn.

What songs are on your pre-game playlist?

I usually listen to high-energy hip hop to psych myself up before sporting events, so a typical sample would include “Hard in Da Paint” by Waka Flocka, “Scenario” by Tribe Called Quest, “BMF” by Rick Ross, “Victory” by Puff and Biggie, “Dead Wrong” by Biggie, “Dirt off Your Shoulder” and “Off That” by Jay-Z, “Primetime” by Kanye and Jay-Z, “Fire in the Hole” by Method Man and Redman, “Hate Me Now” by Nas, “John” by Lil Wayne, and other party anthems like those.

Anything else you want to share about the game?

I’m not saying anything, but several commentators on YouTube have mentioned that when the defender strips the ball from me on the last sequence it looked like a foul.  But again, I’m not saying anything.

Most importantly, where did the street name “Roatti the White Tiger” come from?

Roatti the White Tiger was coined by my best friend’s older brother (and also great friend), Dan Frosch, who is now a respected reporter for the New York Times haha.  Around 1990 he went to the Bronx Zoo and they had a white tiger on display whose name was “Roatti” or “Coatti” or something like that. Since my last name is “Boatti,” and my first name starts with an “R,” he started calling me “Roatti the White Tiger” and the name stuck.

ZogSports Coming to Stamford, CT

Great news for all of you Connecticut Zoggers, no need to schlep all the way to NYC to get your dose of sports this coming winter. You heard it here first; after years of requests we are finally introducing ZogSports to Stamford!  You can start your New Year’s resolutions early by signing up for either 5-on-5 Basketball or our infamous Zog Dodgeball. Not sure what Zog is all about? We’ll give you all the basic deets of the ins and outs of Zog. Be prepared CT, Stamford has no idea what has hit them.

Now that ZogSports is finally coming out to the suburbs of CT, here are some basics you need to be a Zog pro just in time for the new season.

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What is ZogSports?  We refer to Zog as sports leagues for “grownups.”  Whether you’re in it for the sports or the happy hours, we’ve got you covered. Polish off your basketball or dodgeball skills on the courts. Then make new friends after the games by challenging other participants to beer pong and flip cup during happy hour. Your nights (and probably the mornings after) will never be the same.

Haven’t played sports in years?  That’s cool with us! The new season in Stamford is offering two levels of competition (casual and sorta player). So if you’ve never picked up a dodgeball or basketball, no worries…the casual level is calling your name! Zog wants everyone to join the fun!

Played ball in college or high school?  We love friendly competition on and off the court! Bring your skills to the “sorta player” level of ZogSports leagues and you could be the one taking your team to the championship.

High Five

With all of the basics down pat, you can now check out the leagues ZogSportsCT is offering. Whether you opt for basketball or dodgeball, your Monday and Tuesday nights will be changed forever. Don’t worry if the thought of dodgeball brings flashbacks with those red rubber balls flying and ducking for cover. Those elementary school days are long gone! Instead of ending your day with some milk and cookies, you can now head to the bar to wash down your victory with a Miller Lite! Trust us; you will be leaving with a nice workout and smiles all around after every Zog night.

If you’re looking for some fun in Stamford, CT, ZogSports is the place for you. If you and your buddies are interested in signing up, Devin is your CT guy. You can register as an individual, small group or full team. If you have any questions, email Devin at Devin@ZogSports.com or give him a call at 646-237-5327.