The best parties are created by four ingredients: great food, cold beers, the right mix of people and kick-ass entertainment.
We can help you with three out of four – you just need to add the right friends for the perfect blend. This is your step-by-step guide to hosting the best sports party, complete with rock-solid advice from Neil Roake, the man responsible for the Mexican-inspired food and drinks you see here , here and here .
It’s the ultimate in guy food: it’s packed with flavour, only has few ingredients, is easy to make and is pretty healthy too.
The simple food prep required means you won’t miss any of the party yourself.
Choose the sports date, send the invites out to your hombres, and get ready to get your salsa on.
Light Up the Night
Lets be honest here, your party is going to outlast both sunshine and the sports line-up and if you are holding the festivities mostly outdoors, then you need to invest in some lighting to create the right mood. And it’ll also provide floodlights for your Petanque game. Visit www.lightingwarehouse.co.za for permanent fixtures and if you want temporary, portable ones, go to www.outdoorwarehouse.co.za.
Make Better Memories
If you’re keen to give your guests some meaningful party gifts, nothing can beat taking and keeping shots of the party as it is gets more festive. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 50S instant film camera will let you print out all the action on glossy, 62 x 46mm high-colour film immediately. If you don’t trust your mates skills, it also comes with a self-timer. R1 095 www.ormsdirect.co.za
The Party Starters
Even though you have incredible conversational skills, there will come a time when you need to entertain with the help of some games. Skip the tired 30 Seconds and old card games, and use some of the guaranteed crowd-pleasers below. The trick is to introduce a few small penalties in these games if you lose. Some of these games can also be used to keep some or your non-rugby watching friends busy while the game is on.
Hey Mr DJ
Nothing ruins the party quicker than a crappy soundtrack. Unless you’re pretty skilled in the music selection department, you run the risk of playing the wrong tracks at the wrong time. Start the party with your own playlist (see p78), but then invite your guests to play theirs later using their phones. Then you can use a tribal council to eject the weaker playlists and keep the whole crowd happy. Failing that, there’s always digital radio if you have wireless Internet
This is How You Should Roll
Haven’t got a bar? A decent bar trolley is a portable, stylish addition to any house (even if you do have a bar) and best of all, it encourages people to make their own drinks – leaving you more time to do your other important host duties. Stock it with cocktail ingredients, wine, mixers, glasses, an ice bucket and a few shooter-friendly bottles. We like the Salone drinks trolley from www.mobelli.co.za. If you want a wooden option, check out the Belvidere from www.fechters.co.za. You can also use it to help wheel out your guests out once the party is done.
Wage Your Bets
Start a betting pool to make things interesting, and you can make it as detailed as you want. Either keep it low-maintenance by asking everyone to put in some cash and then guess the final score, or add categories like predicting the scorers, yellow cards and more. Add a little fun by using off-topic, unconventional wagers. How many times will Hugh Bladen say “unbelievable”? How many times will the captains use clichés in the post-game interview? What will the blonde/brunette ratio of the cheerleaders be? Write it all down (if possible, set up a big chalkboard so that everyone can see their score throughout the game) and get someone honest (and sober) to collect the cash before the game.
Create an Indoor Arena
There’s nothing wrong with a large plasma, LCD or LED screen, but when it comes to hosting lots of mates for a sports event, nothing beats a decent projector. Not only does it mean that your friends can see the screen from almost anywhere in the room, it also creates a game day atmosphere. It’s not cheap, and it requires a little lounge reorganising (you need a large, bare wall and low levels of light) but it’s all worth it in the long run. We like Epson’s EH-TW5900 home cinema 3D projector (R15 475, epson.co.za) as it’s very bright (2 000 lumens), has full HD and a contrast ratio of 20 000 to 1. All of this makes it a killer choice for sports viewing, but if you can’t afford to buy one, hire a projector for the weekend (check out soltech.co.za). Pair it with proper sound, and your sports arena is set. For smaller places (or if you’re starting from scratch) we like the Yamaha YAS-101 Sound Bar (yamaha.co.za). It’s the MVP of surround sound, you’ll be hearing the tearing of turf and the grunt of big hits wherever you are in the room.
If you have a large man cave (or pub): Table Tennis
You need: A DunRun Table Tennis set, R2499, sportsmanswarehouse.co.za
Nothing wrong with this classic pastime, but it is more expensive than the other options. It also has game options that allow a lot of people to play, and the table tennis surface makes for a technically-perfect bounce in beer pong. Sold.
If you have a very small man cave: Darts
You need: HS Home Dart Centre, R729, sportsmanswarehouse.co.za
Men throughout history have played darts. Hardy, beer-drinking men that after spending days building nations and captaining industries, relaxed by throwing these sharp implements in pubs around the world. It’s a simple game that can be enjoyed by men and women and is only marginally affected by the amount of alcohol in your drink. And like Petanque, it’s one of the few games that can played with a beer in your hand.
If your friends have more brains than athletic skills: Jenga
You need: A steady hand, Jenga, R150, reggies.co.za
Create the wooden tower of Jenga blocks, and then use your superior engineering skills to pull the blocks out without causing the tower to lean further than the Pisa and come tumbling down. This game may seem simple, but a few Mexican beers down and your hands will be as steady as the Greek economy. Another popular twist to this game is to add strip penalties instead of just alcohol ones. If you haven’t invited enough attractive women to your party, then that’s your fault.
If your friends are students at heart: Beer Pong
You need: Paper cups, table tennis balls and some hand-eye coordination.
It’s a cheap, simple game that will bring out the competitive nature in all of your friends. Just be warned, you unleash this too early and it will transform a sedate, chilled-out social gathering into a beer-swilling frat party in less time than it takes to set up a beer keg. Start slow, end big.
If your friends secretly think they’re the next big thing: Singstar
You need: Singstar Next Generation (Volume 2), R369 and Sony PS3 320 GB console, R3 300 from kalahari.net. Scoff all you want, this will get your party going through either pure enjoyment or embarrassment. It’s like home karaoke, and it will provide hours of laughter, off-key singing and blackmail material. If your mates are more into instruments, check out Guitar Hero or DJ Hero.
If your friends like playing in the great outdoors: Boules
You need: A backyard and a Petanque Bocce Set, R299,
If you want to add a little French insouciance to your party, then this grown-up game of marbles is the way forward. Throw the little wooden cochonnet (which literally means “piglet” but it’s also called a jack), and then try to get your hollow metal ball to land closest. A little warning, these balls can do serious damage so avoid cars, glass and passed-out party members. If Petanque isn’t your cup of French black coffee, then try Croquet (Headstart Tournament Croquet Set, R999, sportsmans-warehouse.co.za).
End On a High
Parties shouldn’t end with a visit to the hospital or jail, so organise a taxi to drop you back home in your own car. Yes, it costs a little bit extra but it’s worth avoiding a drunk driving charge, gfellas.co.za (0) 861 433 552