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    Friday, March 31, 2023

    New London: ‘No. 1 drinking town in Connecticut’

    Among New London’s notable distinctions, in no particular order: Revolutionary War history, Ocean Beach, a summer haunt for Eugene O’Neill and the Whalers. But now? Get back, Loretta. Not even George Washington showing up here a few times, the breathtaking shoreline views of Pequot Ave. and all the big, green championship banners of Whaler lore and legend can match this:

    New London has been named the No. 1 drinking town in Connecticut.

    (No, really.)

    And you thought there was no good news to share. Au contraire. Booze is good news.

    I95 Rock, a Danbury-based radio station, reports per a story on its website that the 06320 partakes of the euphoric nectar better than all the rest.

    “New London grabs the No. 1 ranking in our ‘Drunkest Place to Live in Connecticut’ from the website roadsnacks.com,” I95 rock wrote, “which wants you to know that ‘this article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment, so, don't freak out!’ New London is sixth in the state for bars per capita and fifth for liquor stores per capita.”

    New London’s recent fame has made the Facebook accounts of several city loyalists. The comments have been spectacular, including “happy to do our part,” “We’re No. 1!” and “Well, we’re all good at something.”

    We mention this today because of its timeliness, what with the Irish parade set to hit downtown Sunday afternoon. If there aren’t “We’re No. 1!” signs and chants, city inhabitants should be fined for losing their senses of humor.

    New London comes by this honor honestly. We have three of the oldest (and best) gin mills in Connecticut: The Dutch, Mr. G’s and The Birdseye. Heck, there’s even a new beauty salon on State St. beneath the Crocker House called “Lush.” We’re the one place where Humphrey Bogart’s great line — “The problem with the world is that everyone’s a few drinks behind” — wouldn’t apply.

    Here in the sports section, we are well acquainted with social sparklers. Sports and booze have a timeless kinship. The Mets used to celebrate the “Schaefer Player of the Game.” Yankee players would hit a “Ballantine blast,” per Mel Allen. The Anheuser Busch family used to own the St. Louis Cardinals. Yankee Stadium today features the snazzy Jim Beam Suites. Television viewers are often informed of the “Coors Light Cold Hard Facts.” Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner once debated the merits of “less filling” or “tastes great.”

    Of course, we are reminded to take this in its proper spirit. Enjoy responsibly and have a few laughs. Of course, there are always the outliers.

    Take for example the recent incident at UMass, where the Boston Globe reported, “a beloved but controversial St. Patrick’s Day tradition called the Blarney Blowout has raised concerns about a popular drinking fad among college students involving a gallon water jug, which officials say contributed to nearly 50 people being sent to the hospital (last) Saturday.”

    Seems the UMass students partook of a “borg,” which stands for “blackout rage gallon,” which involves mixing a half gallon of water with vodka, Red Bull and hydration packets aimed to restore hydration through electrolytes.

    The Globe reported that the “concept has gone viral on TikTok and is presented as a way to avoid hangovers and hide the taste of alcohol.” A local hospital reported that 46 patients between the ages of 18 and 25 arrived from the celebration in 32 ambulances last weekend.

    Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life at UMass, told the Glove this could be attributed this “students still learning how to navigate new social interactions (due to) record levels of mental health concerns and isolation during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    Or it’s just kids hiding behind something otherwise serious as an excuse to be nincompoops.

    No nincompoopery here in the 06320. The point of this (is there a point to this?) is to celebrate New London’s newfound fame. We are, indeed, all good at something. And St. Patty’s Day is our time to shine.

    So we celebrate our perch as old stomping grounds for George Washington and Eugene O’Neill. We celebrate the success of the Whalers and the beauty of our beaches. How do we celebrate, you ask?

    More discussion needed at the Birdseye.

    This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.