Greetings, Gentle Readers!
It has come to my attention that concern has been voiced in some distant quarters about the relative infrequency of my appearances on this blog of late. Please accept my abject apologies for this shocking lapse! Upon careful reflection, it became suddenly clear to me how disturbing this inconsistency must be to my loyal following. Mea culpa!
To remedy this egregious irresponsibility to you, my audience, I offer the following:
Today’s installment features a Unique and Incisive Perspective on how best to capitalize on Opportunities at Sporting Events. You read that correctly. You may rely on me to expand your horizons whenever possible!
I must note that this enterprise requires that you be on—at least—nodding-acquaintance terms with an Actual Athlete. Hangers-on will not do since, technically, you yourself could be placed in this category. Being a Hanger-on of a Hanger-on is too far removed from the action to hold any promise of real success. If you do not know a genuine athlete, it is the better part of wisdom to abandon this endeavor and pursue another avenue of adventure.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must note that this particular assignment most often involves long and arduous journeys to abandoned wagon train trails and ancient farmlands, which are quaintly referred to as Competition Venues. Trust my experience on this, dear readers: this is not a point over which to quibble. If THEY say it’s a venue, take it at face value—this is a non-negotiable aspect of spectator sports, apparently.
I found myself doubly fortunate this morning, as I knew –not one- but two! athletes: both my older brother and sister were slated for today’s High School Cross-Country Regionals competition, held at Fuller Forest Preserve, in Winnebago, Illinois. Judging by the terrain and travel time and acres of corn, this is apparently quite near the Iowa state line. But I digress.
When you arrive at your destination, do not be too ruffled if you are required to hold the hand of a Bona Fide Adult. This happens, even to me, at my now-advanced age. Bide your time, readers, knowing that adult attention is easily deflected. Before you know it, you will be able to surreptitiously slide your digits out of the elderly paw, and you will be “off to the races,” [pun intended].
Once free of your ‘adult keeper,’ carefully but nonchalantly get to know ‘the lay of the land.’ In today’s case, this involved a long, serpentine mud trail, apparently abandoned by swine and euphemistically known as The Course. Just play along with such general misapprehensions…they are not relevant to our ultimate goal.
In many cases, you will find the countryside peppered with square nylon structures of assorted hues; these are the Team Tents.
While I’ve heard of more reckless parties attempting to penetrate team tents of rival teams, I consider this unnecessarily risky. For one thing, since you are entirely unknown to any occupants of these tents, you will stick out like a sore thumb. In addition, if you wander too far afield, there is always the nasty possibility of Getting Lost, which truly ruins all the fun.
For you further edification and inspiration, I now offer an account of my own adventure this morning:
After arriving and parking several hundred miles away from The Course, we literally followed the herd and eventually found ourselves in view of the team pavilions [fancy talk for ‘tents’—this term is used by the Uppity Schools, which shall remain nameless}.
Once there, I easily identified our team’s nylon lair and, with just the right amount of savoir faire, surveyed the perimeter. Eureka! Inside I quickly spied The Cooler, and—even better!—a large pink and orange box of---oh, the wonder of it! –one dozen fresh and delicious Dunkin’ Donuts!!! This discovery proved the interminable journey had been worthwhile.
Much as I was tempted to dart quickly inside, I knew better and refrained. It is always best to wait until all competitions are complete: then you can rely on the milling crowds to mask your presence and prowling. When the final mud-encrusted, extravagantly priced running shoe crossed the finish line, there was a spontaneous eruption of cheers, applause, and –what sounded like—spanking….? This was followed by great exhibits of applause, cheering, congratulations, recognition, and (in a couple of cases) regurgitation; I’m told the latter is not uncommon after Herculean athletic effort.
I timed my approach carefully and managed to slip between two of our runners as they entered the team tent. Unfortunately, my pale aqua parka did not blend in as well as I had hoped with their royal blue team uniforms. But this is when I take comfort in my smaller stature…A moment later, I was In. To my delight, the cooler had been thrown open, and a dazzling array of treats met my eye! Bullseye!!
After taking possession of a few smaller items [known in the vernacular as “pocketing”], I experienced a stroke of genius!
No one took the least bit of notice as I strolled casually out of the team tent with a delectable stick of Kit Kat bar wedged rakishly in the side of my mouth.
It looked exactly like a stogie!!