I was 27 years old at the time. Custody of my only son had just been wrestled from me in a court of law by my domineering father – who regarded me as a degenerate hothead incapable of taking care of myself, much less his prized grandson. Lacking any discernible skill set other than a Commercial Driver’s License, a short fuse and an abnormally large right bicep (and, mysteriously and on a completely unrelated note, an abnormally shrunken right testicle), I did what any guy short on luck and child support funds would do: entered myself into the country most prestigious amateur arm-wrestling tournament.
I was starstruck upon arrival. At 5’ 8” and a buck-fifty soaking wet, I was a certain underdog. Most of my competitors had brands on their arms and vast swaths of bacne showing through at the seams of their homemade muscle shirts. But boasting a superior tactical sense of the sport and a Tebow-esque sense of determination, I laid waste to the field, repaired the damage my hard-drinking and absent-fathering past had incurred on my son’s psyche, and even bought a new 18-wheeler ... Even if I did suffer a double hernia and non-operable pink sock in the process.
Oh wait – that’s the plot of Sylvester Stallone’s 1987 tour-de-cinematic-force, “Over the Top.” I confused it with my own life somewhere between the seventh and eight bowl last night. I did arm-wrestle a bum for his shoelaces a few weeks ago, though. Left-handed to boot. He was passed out on his right side, so there wasn’t much of a debate.
Anyway, I suppose that makes me an expert. So listen up, Padwan: here are 10 ways to ensure that you win your next-arm wrestling match.
1. Make Sure Your Opponents is Properly Drunk
Not in a liquid-courage way. More like a visibly-swaying-and-cross-eyed way. Buy him a shot or two if necessary. Stick a Rufalin in one of those shots if he has veins bulging from his neck.
2. Grip High on the Thumb
Try to wrap two or three fingers around his thumb. If he takes issue with your high grip, cite a rulebook that doesn’t exist and buy him another short. The thing about good arm-wrestlers is they’re usually not very nuanced in debate.
There’s no way around it: arm-wrestling is about physical superiority. Short-cuts to victory are few and far between. Psych. There are actually a number of ways to improve your leverage, and accordingly, your chances of victory. Most importantly, keep your elbow as close to your body as possible, concurrently forcing your opponent to move his away from his body. If he’s skeptical of this, buy him another shot and cite the imaginary rulebook again.
4. Give It all at the Whistle
If you’re potentially overmatched by your opponent, there’s no reason to try to keep some proverbial fuel in the tank for a late-inning heroics. Throw everything you’ve got at the start of the match, including an under-the-table groin kick. Act incredulous if he cries foul; it worked for the Miami Heat.
5. Head Games
Yogi Berra said 90% of the game is half mental. A mathematician Yogi was not, but he did know the value of some well-executed gamesmanship. Try to intimidate your opponent with lunatic pre-game rituals, like slapping your head or chanting in tongues or pretending to beat off in the corner. Your opponent may fear that he’s going to end up bound in duct tape in a bathtub somewhere if he beats you and throw the match.
Nothing will improve your arm-wrestling prowess more than some good old-fashioned biceps curls at the local gym. Well, almost nothing. Which brings us to ...
7. ... HGH
Pucker up your ass-cheeks and sink that syringe. ‘Roids have successfully saved Roger Clemens’ fastball AND his marriage, as well as turned a uniballed cancer patient into the world’s greatest endurance athlete. Surely they can improve your chances in a sport that is usually limited to bars and elementary school playgrounds.
8. Use Your Off Hand for Stability
A seasoned arm-wrestler should insist that you lock off-hands as well, to prevent funny business. The drunk guy at the local dive who you’ve decided to challenge might be rather less aware of such subtleties, so hold onto something underneath the table to stabilize yourself – a leg of the table, the bottom of your chair, the frothing crotch of the girl seated immediately to your left ...
9. Be Left-Handed
But of course claim to be right-handed while insisting the match be contested with off-hands.
10. Choose Your Opponent Wisely
Try to size someone up who is slightly larger in stature than you but clearly lacking in the muscles department. Also, make sure she has smaller hands than you.