On Martin Luther King weekend, islanders could be seen driving by a baseball field to see grown men in pink tutu’s limping in flippers to hit a volleyball they couldn’t see through their goggles.
Context. That weekend, I took the ferry to Tinian to join twenty other contestants in a volleyball championship. Which, me being me, is funny enough. Funnier: it is the Rudy Rudiger Volleyball Championship.
Now there’s the difference. At the opening of every game, one player from each team had to run up to the net and chug a beer. Whoever finished first could chose court side or first serve. If the other team served a ball and it touched the ground in bounds, your team had to chug a beer in thirty seconds, or . . . (I was never sure about the “or”, thankfully, my two teammates were both seasoned beer-bongers in their forties, and they always managed to come in well under twenty seconds. Bravo, boys).
And it’s a game in which the better you are, the worse you get. Example: if you make two good serves in a row, you might have to wear a flipper on your hand, serve from your knees, or don a pair of snorkel goggles with the left eye magic-markered black. If you spike that ball, you might get tied at the waist by a ten-foot rope to your team mate. If you argue the score with the ref (likely a team member you just beat in the last game), you get to wear a sumo-wrestler’s wig or a green princess dress. Even I did well enough to don many of the assorted handicaps at one time or another.
Surprisingly, none of the locals were interested in joining the tournament. They preferred to watch a field of expatriates, gowns and wigs blowing in the trade winds of January, downing beer and devouring cheddar Pringles for sustenance. And I thought I’d have a relaxing weekend with lots of time reading on the beach.
My weekend warrior-edness continued. Last Saturday, Rebecca, fellow English teacher Autumn, and I went sea kayaking from Autumn’s house down to Sugar Dock where we all often swim after work. You could spot me a mile off in hat and sunshirt, as ever. It was a crystalline day and the lagoon felt more like open ocean, with swells you could glide to shore on.
And tonight, it looks like I’ll be doing my first hash run with the Saipan Hash House Harriers. This sort of hash is not to be confused with a condensed form of a certain weed but is rather a creation of frat-boy track runners once upon a college. The island version involves a someone called a “hare” who hacks a trail through the jungle that the harriers run through . . . .
My default being inertia, I was about to say I'd rather be on that beach with a book. But although I won't be seen jumping from an airplane any time soon, adventure is beginning to get to me.