Survival of the fittest

Each year, right around June 21, I head down to Eugene for the Summer Solstice ultimate Frisbee tournament. It’s still early enough in the season that my knees haven’t begun failing me, and I’m feeling the excitement and vigor of a promising young season. By Labor Day, something here’ll be swollen over there and I’ll be slowing down until I can build back up for the next go ’round.

I am really beginning to enjoy this team and all the chemistry that comes with it. There’s the requisite handful of youth on the team–high school kids who’ve known Frisbee since they started growing hair in strange places on their bodies–who have gotten a head start in understanding the game and the skills that go with it. Strangely, there are no old, crafty veterans on our team this year. Aside from the impressionable youth, our roster is filled out with twenty-somethings who’ve accomplished various mileposts on the grown-up scale. Those without jobs are on an academic track or just wrapping one up, most have a girlfriend, a handful are engaged, one’s married, and there are plenty of puppies to go around. No kids yet, though. Not with this group.

On Saturday night, after a soggy day of Frisbee in the muck, we spread out sleeping pads and bags on the floor of Jackson’s childhood home. When you host a group of ultimate players after a tournament, you’re tacitly consenting to the takeover of your laundry apparatus, the high probability of an increase in offensive odors, and a significant reduction in usable floorspace. Be warned if ever you agree to play the host.

We entertained ourselves with the only video game in reach–a truly awful “hunting” simulator called Big Game Hunter. See the trailer here. As men are wont to do, we shot shit and drank beers and made fun of one another. Bryson stepped in to particular success, blasting the hell out of truly massive herds of rams and bucks–herds that were chased by packs of wolves and even the occasional trio of bears. Yes, bears travel in threes in this wildlife wonderland, which is all the more reason for population control. Blast away.

The game was littered with odd and unjustifiable rules. Blast a female of a vegetarian species, lose a thousand points. Horned animals only, please. They make the best trophies. Birds are to be shot with shotguns only–not assault rifles!–it would be inhumane to kill them otherwise. The sport of mowing down rams with shotguns is only enough to earn you 5 points a head, so keep to the assault rifle and put one between then eyes, hm?

An hour of shootin’ and we were itching for something better. So what do young men do when they lose interest in a video game, and have only a handful of objects at their disposal? They begin a search for risky behavior. My dad always said the bravest guy in human history was the one dude that got drunk with his buddies in a barn, looked over at a nearby cow’s udder and said, “you see those things hangin’ down from that animal over there? I’m gonna go squeeze ’em and whatever comes out, I’m gonna drink it.” Not the brightest point in human history, but an important stepping stone to all kinds of good stuff.

Human history has taught us a lot about entertainment. Like the guy who sat in an empty barn and zeroed in on a cow, it’s important to consider everything in sight. And so we did. Icy Hot for sore muscles and joints? A great post-tournament recovery tool. Or perhaps something to put on your balls. A box of dice? All the makings of a dice game, but we’re resistant to money loss and don’t know the rules. Maybe we could use these as a method of determining who puts Icy Hot on his balls.

Adolescence never really leaves us, especially when there aren’t any women around to keep things in check. Writing this story is an exercise in embarrassment. Wait, we did what?! Why? Oh, but it was funny. I wonder about the evolutionary mechanisms at play. Are they, still? Doesn’t “putting a foreign substance on a reproductive organ” sort of make you genetically less fit by definition? Maybe more likely to win the babes. Worth an experiment by someone, down the road. Those Jackass guys sure are doing alright… depending on your definition of the word.

In all, a great evening that needs recounting if only to remind me that moments like these are tellable only in their infrequency. If I throw out another post of a similar variety in a few days, well I’ll have some bigger things to worry about.

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