SAN DIEGO — Seventy-five different teams gathered at Mariner’s Point Saturday for the Over the Line Beer Fest.

Most players used the event as warm up for the big tournament, all waiting with child-like excitement.

“Our big tournament, that is the night before Christmas. That is a bigger day to me than Christmas,” said Gary Jacobi, the 2022 OTL champion.

OTL fans say the holiday feeling isn’t quite the same this year. It’s the first tournament since the passing of the one of the sport’s founders, Mike Curren.

“It’s different, it doesn’t feel whole with him not here,” said Tom Doyle, an organizer of the OTL Beer Fest.

“We feel his presence here, we know he’s not gone, but it’s definitely different,” said Jacobi.

Curren’s presence resonated through generations of players since the 50s, making an impact at the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club well into his later years.

“He still carried a big presence when he was in the room. People knew the history he had and the weight he carried when he said what we should do at an event,” said Doyle.

Nicknamed “the Godfather,” Curren called his fellow OTL players “beach rats.” Many of them were missing their friend.

“Definitely going to miss his friendly face, man. Somebody you can walk up to and always talk to, and had a good amount of right answers. Just another person who lived the sports, “ said Jacobi.

This year, the City of San Diego proclaimed July 9th as “Mike Curren Day,” recognizing his contributions over the decades.

On Saturday, OTL players planned to carry on his legacy of bringing people together.

“The biggest part of this is getting to come out with our little community that we built and that Mike built for us right, and that we still get to be apart of. That’s what this is. It’s bigger than a sport. We’re all a family out here and he started that, and I appreciate that,” said Jacobi.