Wednesday, August 7, 2013

How New Orleans pitches a tent

Last Saturday, as I was sitting in the park with my friend Dylan minding my own business, a soccer player wandered over at halftime.

"Ok, I just have to ask…." he said between sips of his water bottle. "What exactly is going on over here?"

I looked to my left.

"Oh that," I said, as six people wearing FlorBAMA outfits scrambled to assemble a tent.

"I LOVE KID ROCK!" one of them screamed.

"Oh, it's a scavenger hunt thing," I said. "Teams have to come here and put together a tent for points."

I was surprised that the player noticed what was going on 100 yards away from his game.

But then I remembered that a team had just come by with a guy wearing a squirrel head and a dominatrix actually whipping her teammates.

The whole soccer team probably noticed that, even with New Orleans' weirdness standards.

"It's…really fun," I said.
"Ok." the soccer player said and quickly walked away without asking any more questions.


As a volunteer at my kickball league’s annual scavenger hunt, I had the great pleasure of seeing dozens of friends and teammates from the league scramble (scramble really is the best word for it) to pitch a tent in various states of inebriation, in various states of clothing.

The hunt had teams - 14 teams I think, with a maximum of six players - each go around to various locations completing tasks for points and they got extra points for taking photos on the way (a picture in front of a streetcar, a picture all chugging a beer, a picture of someone petting a duck).

It was also hilarious psychological experiment.

There were some teams that showed up that were all business, people yelling at the rest of their teammates (hahahahahaa) to DO IT FASTER, GIVE ME THAT POLE!!!


(Dylan and I gave these teams extra points for pitching their tent the fastest.)

On the other hand, there were teams where at least one person scoffed at pitching a tent, and left the rest of their team to figure it out.

"I. Don't. Camp." one guy said when he heard the task, opening another beer as his team ran around in circles.

"Someone else is gonna have to figure this one out," said a girl on another team, throwing the poles down and taking a break on the grass.

And there was everything in between. The team made up of the squirrel and dominatrix had one player who announced he was still drunk from the night before, and instead of helping assemble the tent, chose to twerk against a large oak tree for several minutes.

Maybe that was what the soccer player was confused about: A guy dressed as half guy/half girl, still drunk, twerking on an oak tree. (Welcome to New Orleans.)

Kickball is all about teams, and with a tight-knit group of 400 in the league, I wasn't entirely surprised by people's mindset for this challenge.

I even knew which guys would ask if it would count if they pitched a tent…in their pants.

"I can do it, NO PROBLEM!" a guy said looking straight at me, and for some reason I turned red in the face.

"Well, everyone has to fit into the tent, and I don't think your pants are big enough," Dylan offered. Ha

(Dylan was a stickler. He deducted points for teams not repacking the tent properly.)

The location of the tent-pitching was in City Park, the place where the kickball league has twice-weekly practices, but since not everyone goes to practices, some scavenger hunt teams got terribly lost.

And they got even more turned around when their next clue was supposed to lead them to Morning Call coffee and beignets in the park.

"You want us to bike to Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter?" an Uptowner asked, and I almost said yes.

Like any competition among this group of people, style and personality played. Teams wore elaborate costumes and had thought-out themes.

The wild goose (booze) chase team, for example, all dressed as geese with orange noses "beaks", and if I was the judge, I definitely would have given them extra points for taking a picture petting a duck while dressed like a duck.

The team called "horny hermaphrodite hyenas" had fuzzy nipples attached to their shirts, as they should.

On the personality front, after each tent was properly pitched, I was supposed to take a picture of everyone inside of it. 

While some teams - the all-business ones - crammed in quickly and told each other not to FART, other teams got more creative.

The ducks did a human pyramid, for example.

"What am I supposed to do? Just hop on top of everyone?" the top tier duck nervously asked.

"YES! HURRY UP! YOU'RE WASTING TIME!" a bottom duck replied.

Another team, all dressed as their kickball teammate who was NOT on their scavenger hunt team, decided to do the classic 69 position in the tent, so basically it looked like that guy was 69-ing himself six times over.

(Extra points, duh.)

So, no, I can't imagine what the soccer player was talking about when he asked what was going on over here.

I cracked up as people rolled their eyes when their teammates yelled at them to hurry up (hahahahaha), smiled big at all the fantastic two-person bicycles that were used and had a blast coming up with ways we could use the squirrel head costume to scare drivers in the park.

“YOU SHOULD CLIMB A TREE!” The dominatrix suggested.
“Uhhh…those are big trees,” the squirrel said.



No. Nothing to see here.

Carry on.



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