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Friday
Jun052009

University, Ep. 1 (Syracuse)

June 5, 2009—The first-ever campus-based LDM (LDM University, Ep. 1 @ Syracuse) was a shock-good affair that saw a Jordanesque Roy Kesey out-recycle-bottle-basketball his co-finalist Dan Roche by a final score of 3-0 to take home the sacred Literary Death Match medallion.

The night started with other firsts, as well, including the first-ever LDM in which the host didn’t show. Todd Zuniga en route from Brooklyn via car wasn’t on time because of traffic reasons. To make up for the near-disaster, Zuniga hosted via iPhone shouting introductions while at the wheel, risking life, limb, ticket and beyond.

That didn’t stop the first round from being a real cracker, as Kesey led off the night against Stone Canoe’s rep, Mi Detmar. Rumor has it that both readings were terrific, leaving the judges--Chris Kennedy, Elizabeth Koch (the Literary Death Match co-creator) and Phil Lamarche with a near-impossible decision. A coin toss, though, solved their dilemma, vaulting Kesey into the finals.

The second round began with a harried Zuniga at the helm, carrying his nearly-dead cell phone, and an illegally-parked rental car on its last drops of petrol outside. He welcomed second-rounders Alex Yates (representing Salt Hill) and Roche (representing Le Moyne College) to the stage, Yates leading things off. We can confirm that the second round was strong, a dramatic clash that left the judges, once again, in a quandary, each reader receiving exactly 1.5 votes. A coin-flip settled the score, sending Roche on to be the night’s second finalist.

The finale then pitted Kesey v. Roche in a thrilling game of recycled bottle basketball, as each was asked to knock down three shots to claim victory. Kesey was on fire early, banging in his first shot with haste, then eventually mastering his mid-range jumper while Roche struggled to nail his first hoop. Kesey was relentless, dropping in the money “ball” in one try, a 3-0 win that was much closer than it looked on paper.

Kesey celebrates his win with the judges.See all the photos from this event here!