I'm not sure if this qualifies as a sport, but Halloween is right around the corner, and many youngsters are planning, training, strategizing, assuming/becoming totems, and purchasing supplies as we speak.
I'm not talking about the NBA season. These aren't Raptors or Bulls. We'll get to that in another post. This is Halloween, baby....and a lot of kids will hit their peak athletic performance Sunday night.
Halloween, for the most part, involves more exercise than a lot of sports. Few people ride those silly little golf carts as they go home to home. Not many halfbacks play with 2 little mask slits to see the world, through....and most cars weigh a lot more than Ted Washington.
Vandalism- with its' hurled eggs and frenzied sprinting- combines the better elements of all 3 major US sports....not including an NHL-style ass kicking if you egg Albert Belle's home, but we'll get to that later.
Halloween is indeed in the realm of Sport, and will be treated as such in this column....so we may as well start at the beginning. I'm a History teacher when I actually am working, and I'll sort of look like one for the next few paragraphs. If that bores you, skip down until you see "Albert Belle" again.
Time was sort of unimportant before humans figured out agriculture. "I have an 8:30 appointment with the mammoth"....prolly didn't happen, no?
Once humans started hanging around where the apple trees were, they needed to acquire some sense of when to throw seeds, and when to harvest. It was survival of the fittest then, and whoever farmed better lived better. The better farmer recognized how to exploit the seasons, and from that came our obsession with what we call Halloween.
The best place to start is in the Celtic culture, and I don't mean Paul Pierce. They used to have a festival called "Samhain," which meant "summer's end". It was time to start pulling up crops before the frosts came, or time to celebrate having pulled up the crops- depending on the weather. It generally fell on November 1st in England/Ireland/NW France.
Around 800 AD, the Church began having a feast on All Saint's Day...October 31st. They put holidays on pagan festival days a lot...Christmas was set at the time of the Roman Saturnalia holiday, which was a rowdy hoilday until it shared a day with the Birth of Jesus....which probably didn't happen in December, btw. All Saint's Day was aka All Hallowed Eve, and illiterate peasants shortened that to Halloween.
There existed a belief that, prior to All Soul's Day (Nov 1-3, depending on where you are), the barriers between the natural and supernatural world were broken, and the souls of the dead could walk the earth. Throw in some witchcraft myths, local superstitions, and- especially- the American marketing machine, and it is pretty much unchallenged as the Night for Big Evil.
The Jack'o'lantern was based on an Irish legend of a miser named Jack who Heaven didn't want, and who Hell had problems with, as well. He was cursed to walk the earth, with only a coal from Hell(kept in a hollowed turnip) to light his way. Some people put out similar lanterns for dead ancestors, and some people put snacks out for the dead. The hungrier people eventually got around to dressing as the dead and scooping up this free offering. Out of this, trick or treating was born.
Immigration to America brought that stuff here, along with the European tendency to whine and seek vengeance at some perceived slight, such as failing to come up with the expected treats when asked. Few holidays are conducted in stealth disguise at night, and people who run out of Recee's or those peppermint patty things can expect to be punished like a lazy Georgian chain gang member.
Eggs were a natural weapon of a primarily rural people, as kicking the **** out of someone was a bit extreme for failure to provide free food on command. Americans added things like toilet paper to trees, doggie-bags from Hell, and the Lawn of Fire....and burning down every vacant building in the city, if you're from Detroit.
Duxbury, Massachusetts had its' own particular style, and feel free to elaborate in the comments section if you have some Fat Prank that was practiced in your town.
Duxbury is a rich town, and I spent one Halloween sitting in the back seat of a Mercedes with my friend Chrissy, as our boyfriends got high and smashed mailboxes/ran over fences/robbed children/egged houses/generally acted like asses.
This was allowed, because the town feared another Scavenger Hunt. In the 1980s( Duxbury High School class of 1986, I'm being told) horror came back to Halloween with a Scavenger Hunt that included things like "police cruiser," "homeless man," "DPW vehicle," "Lisa *****'s fingernails," and "McDonald's employee" being legitimately crossed off many kids' lists.
A pile of debris was deposited in a lonely beach parking lot, and complaints from friends of the kidnapping victims eventually brought in the State Police. It is tough to laugh off a 911 call claiming "someone dressed as President Nixon just tore off my daughter's Ninja Turtle costume."
Almost forgot Uncle Albert Belle, the former Cleveland slugger who is his own kind of Mr. October. Even I thought he was robbed of the MVP by Mo "Supper" Vaughn in 1995. He should have been a little pissed. But in one lovely October, Albert made himself into the World's Angriest Man.
First, Hannah Storm made the mistake of not stepping like Slavery when he ordered it. He lit into her with a tirade that would have made Dice Clay cover his ears. I saw the tape....he looked like he was about to plunge his face into a stream and come up with a salmon.
Hannah, who was generally ass-kissed during her days at NBC, was actually turned on by having a big Louisiana man ho check her like that. She began to follow Belle, and eventually was involved in a violent fracas with Mrs. Belle at a Cleveland soul food cafe.
Oh wait...that was me. But I digress...
On Halloween that year- no doubt upset by the $50,000 Pimphand Fee levied by MLB- he answered his door and may or may not have failed to hand out some 3 Musketeers to some Cleveland teens, who then egged his condo. Albert chased them down in his truck, knocking one kid to the ground with his front bumper.
Bottom line, kids: Know Thy Enemy. There are houses where the door hides monsters far worse than demons. Imagine the horror when Albert Belle came flying out of the door, bellowing profanities? Imagine hearing the roar of a truck, and seeing a huge, angry athlete jump out? I wonder if the kid who got Trucked held up a crucifix as Belle ran up on him. I bet those kids were bobbing for apples at the Church in Halloween, 1996.
I would also recommend exercising caution when extorting Roger Clemens, Allen Iverson, Ray Lewis, Rasheed Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Bill Romanowski, or Tie Domi for candy. Nolan Ryan can and will hit you in the kidney with a Butterfinger bar at 107mph.... and LT has broken legs for less, and may have a coke buzz.
Sometimes, it's better to just let Carl Everett enjoy his well-earned privacy, and take home 3 less Snickers bars. Live to fight another day, kids....
La punition excède la récompense