A glimpse inside Tinker’s crud tournaments
The billiard table at Rosie’s Officer Lounge at the Tinker Club appeared completely ordinary on Jan. 5. However, the yellow cordon taped tightly around the table’s base hinted at something much more interesting than a regular pool table.
At 4:30 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, Rosie’s hosts the oddball sport of crud, a game played almost exclusively in officer’s clubs across the Air Force.
Teammates Maj. Timothy Ewing and Capt. Jeffrey Nakayama, 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron, were recently awarded the first crud champions of the new year after beating out the 965th Airborne Air Control Squadron and the 72nd Medical Group.
At first glance, Rosie’s single well-kept billiard table, lonely cue ball at one end and the eight ball at the other, did nothing to foreshadow a rowdy turn of events. When referee Josh “Tater” Williams, 965th AACS, called the game to order, a rowdy game of crud commenced.
For Ewing, the unruly nature of crud is what he finds so appealing. “It’s the evil opposite of PowerPoint, paper-pushing.” He joked, “[It’s] full-fledged tactical training amongst the Air Force as a whole.”
Traditionally promoted by fighter pilots, crud is a team sport that pits a server and a receiver against each other in an attempt to “kill” off their respective opponent. According to the Airborne Early Warning Association, even the act of “killing” your opponent is somewhat obscure. If it is judged that the blocker did not block effectively enough, then the blocker (the next person in the order on the opposite team) shall be killed. If it is judged that the previous shooter had set up too easy of a shot, then he/she shall be killed.
In turn the losing team is obligated to buy the winners a beverage of their choice. At Tinker, the winning team is also awarded a large trophy.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway, Nakayama said, is that the absurdity of crud fosters good-natured camaraderie among the officer corps.
(Originally published in The Tinker Take Off)