Sunday, September 20, 2009

i was there

smirnoff vodka's new ad campaign shows multi-racial good-looking twenty-somethings getting together to do crazy things. things like going ice blocking, filling a swimming pool with foam rubber, or blacking out the windows to an abandoned gas station then throwing a dance party inside. of course, they have plenty of hard liquor, too, as the campaign rests on the assumption that it is impossible to have fun without their vodka. the voiceovers of the hot singles have them describing these amazing events as if they can hardly believe they actually did it, ending with "i was there." and, with a few bottles of smirnoff vodka, there's a good chance they may not be sure they were actually there.

interestingly, most of these activities seem to happen around provo on a regular basis, defying the marketing agency's postulated alcohol requirement: ice blocking was a regular summer activity at centennial apartments, the commercial's dance party was similar to most byu stake dances, and my sister's gymnastics building had a giant foam pit (ok, that was when she was 9 and in minnesota). and this past friday night, i got to participate the latest fun and dry event, the world's largest game of capture the flag.

tim told me that the byusa (vote for himes and maevis!) was attempting to break the world record for the largest game of capture the flag. the established record is 1200 participants, and byu was having official guiness people there (the record book, not the beer) with a rumored goal of up to 2000 people. the day of, i was feeling rather ambivalent about it, but jaime encouraged me to go, and i knew that i'd be glad i did.
it was byu students, but my spring class got me an official id that is good until 2011, and, incredibly, i soon found my brother amidst the mass. i didn't realize how much i have grown in the years since graduation, but watching the students rally cheers around their team's blue or white flag, it was apparent that i'm not 23 anymore. and that's cool; to everything there is a season.

we signed a waiver, listed our names for an official count, and grabbed a glow-in-the-dark wristband. tim and i were both yellows, opposing the blue team. the numbers weren't as high as the organizers had hoped--it looked like about 800--and we were encouraged to text all of our friends to come while they pushed the starting time back half an hour. pretty much all of my
friends have already graduated, so i didn't have anyone to invited. instead, tim and i debated the merits of the crowd mentality, watching how quickly people rallied around their arbitrarily assigned team color, some attempting to give braveheart-esque speeches.

while i don't know if we ever did break the record, the game was interesting. starting shortly after 9 p.m. at orem's cascade golf course, our playing field stretched from the 1st hole to the 8th. red glow sticks designated the jail areas and the field's dividing line (as well as a few greens and sand traps, which we were asked to consider "off limits.")
close together, we could see one another vaguely, but as we lined up along the glowing red boundary, it was an odd sight watching an army of faintly glowing blue wristbands emerge from the other end of the course, reminiscent of the pirate ghosts from garfield's halloween special, in way. soon they appeared at the other side of the line, and we all looked at each other. how do you run across when there is a solid row of opponents just a few feet from you?

i started patrolling the line like a sheepdog, just daring one of them to step out. and i caught one. but just standing in the safety zone was pretty lame. who wants to stand around during the world's largest game of capture the flag? down the line a ways were some less-guarded areas, and a few of us reasoned that the only hope we had was a mass attack.
i'm not sure how many ran behind me, but i made it about halfway into blue territory before i was caught. not that i had any clue where the flag was, anyway.

there was a surprising number of my team in the jail when i got there, and as we were out of sight from the front lines, i doubted that the urgency of our plight to escape was on the minds of our remaining teammates. a jailbreak or two happened while i was there, but as that only releases two prisoners and i didn't have any buddies coming for me specifically, it looked like i would be there for a while.

i planned to only come for a bit, as mark and i had other things going on that night, so i took off my wristband and quietly walked across the red barrier. as i was nearing the parking lot, i heard a swell of cheers, and rumors that the blue team had captured our flag. cool. i got to be a part of it. i had been there.

i'm planning a game of glow-in-the-dark ultimate frisbee like we did at fhe years ago.


Jaime said...

well written. that was really fun to read about. i'm glad you decided to go. i knew it would be something to remember. to say you were a part of it. :)

The Former 786 said...

Looks like fun.

You're in the history books now.

As a side note, I've never been ice blocking before. It scares me.

And way to go on the Garfield's Halloween Special shout-out!