Little kids are snarling at each on the front lawn of the church. Dad’s flip their ball caps backwards. An especially beefy cowboy type at the end of the line is stomping and snorting like a bull as he wraps the hose around and around his waist.
Wait. Did you say “hose”? Um, yes, hose.
I was not supposed to be in charge of the games. Our usual “fun” person cancelled a few days earlier leaving the fun to me – which means we were in trouble. I chose Tug O’ War for pragmatic reasons. A round robin best of three tournament meant I could kill all the time we had with one game and didn’t have to explain and organise much.
The logic was solid except for one problem. Our church didn’t have a rope.
But we did have a garden hose.
A hose which, as it turns out, will stretch very impressively and briefly manage to convince you it can successfully impersonate a rope. Until it snaps like a rubber band and sends both teams sprawling.
The carnage was quite the sight for the already church wary clientele at the beer vendor across the street.
I squinted at the damage and inhaled softly through my teeth. Observing my body language, you’d have thought seminary prepared me for this very moment. I folded my hands behind my back and walked amidst the fallen like a veteran general promising every single message would get back to rosy cheeked Idaho sweethearts and flap jack fryin’ moms.
There was no need, everyone pulled through and we would have been out of the woods except there was half an hour left for game time. No problem! I remembered hearing a knot is stronger than a rope. This nugget of information might just save our evening. If true, all I had to do was tie the hose and the Tug O’ War train keeps rolling.
I inspected the two ends and tied them together with the flourish of an enthusiastic boy scout. I even confidently said “sheepshank” out loud. It was the only name of a knot I knew, although I am pretty sure this particular knot didn’t deserve a name. After giving it a firm tug, I gave my head a satisfied nod. Never had a man been more confident in a knot.
The bluff worked because the next two teams dutifully took their spots on the hose and made preparations. I bellowed a fun loving “GO” into the megaphone and….