12 men gathered, including one FNG, in the gloom at Hobgood Park for what was promised to be an Irish-themed beatdown, in recognition of St. Patrick’s Day. It actually was, though they PAX never knew it. Because it wasn’t narrated especially well. Fortunately, that’s what a backblast is for–post hoc explanation, right? Right.
The venerable Geek Squad inquired of YHC the night prior to the BD about what appropriate footwear would be. YHC instructed that non-trail shoes would be appropriate. As it happens, while not in error, this instruction was similarly incomplete: half the beatdown would be on grass, and half on hard surfaces. In an unfortunate coincidence, it also happened to rain quite a bit on the night prior to the rain. Why is all this important? Stay tuned. That’s what we call foreshadowing, folks.
With all that in mind, here we go. A brief recitation of what was meant to be. And what actually was. Tragedy and all. Read along. For a brief remembrance of cultural appropriation. And one whole PAX worth of cruel irony.
After a brief mosey to the parking lot nearest the amphitheater, YHC gave the mission statement, five core principles, and (thanks to Maaco), remembered to give the disclaimer. Which isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
Then we engaged in a brief warm-o-rama of 10 SSHs followed by approximately 30 seconds of riverdancing to Irish dancing music.
Then we obtained a coupon. Just. One. Coupon. And did a hot potato run. What’s a hot potato run? Glad you asked. It’s a variation on a native-american run, but the first in line has a coupon, passes it back as the group runs, and when it gets to the last person, that person runs to the front with the coupon, and on we go until everyone has at least one dash to the front with the potato. Coupon. Thing.
Why do this for St. Patrick’s Day? Knew you’d ask. Because, while potatoes are the foodstuff most commonly associated with Ireland, it’s also highly unlikely that St. Patrick ever actually consumed them: St. Patrick was active in the fifth century, but potatoes are native to South America, and did not make it to Ireland until the 1500s. So. In honor of St. Patrick likely never having had a potato, we quickly passed a “potato” between us as we moseyed (native-american run style) across the football field, around the softball fields, and then down the hill back to the amphitheater.
However. At that point, in a feat of unmitigated tragic irony, no sooner did Geek begin commenting on how trail shoes would be beneficial in traversing a wet downhill, then did he lose his footing and fell partway down the hill, injuring his left knee in the process. Several PAX shepherded the wounded Geek back to the parking lot, where one PAX had an ice pack to tend to his wounded left knee. As Saluki observed, “wasn’t he the one talking about being careful not to fall down the hill?”
Fortunately, YHC is pleased to say that, as of the date of this backblast, our brave hero appears to have recovered and be back and active. Whew.
Back at the amphitheater, but down one PAX, the remainder of the group managed to soldier on and complete what YHC called the “Triple Seven”: seven sets of seven exercises, each performed seven reps seven time.
All PAX obtained a coupon, and did the following exercises
Bent over rows
Each PAX started at the bottom of the amphitheater with the coupon. Starting with OH press, each PAX performed OH press seven times on the first step, and seven times on each successive steps until each PAX had performed OH press seven reps seven times.
After completing each exercise, each PAX would run a complete lap around the amphitheater to where they left their coupon, and then would do the next seven sets of seven reps descending or ascending the amphitheater steps where appropriate.
So. Why the Triple Seven for St. Patrick’s Day? Glad you asked. The number seven has special meaning in Irish mythology. Specifically, Cú Chulainn (sometimes known as Cuhullin), who is believed to be an incarnation of the Irish god Lugh, a warrior, king, master craftsman, and savior He is described as having “seven bright pupils, eye-jewels, in each kingly eye. Each foot had seven toes and each hand seven fingers, the nails with the grip of a hawk’s claw or a gryphon’s clench.”
So now you know. And if G.I. Joe taught is nothing else, it’s that knowing is half the battle. What’s the other half? That’s for another time, another backblast.
Okay, so maybe the number seven was a stretch. And had nothing to do with St. Patrick himself. I seem to have strayed from my original brief. So let’s get back on track.
Anyway. Rejoining our PAX, the group completed the Triple Seven while being regaled by a playlist of Irish folk favorites and discussing American’s tendency to appropriate the culture of others and celebrating holidays that the cultures America claims to be honoring don’t even really care about. Saluki also educated all PAX willing to listen about how St. Patrick was mistreated by the Irish (or those who occupied what would eventually become Ireland) only to return to Ireland and do…whatever it is he did. I’m sure Saluki mentioned it.
And then, finally:
The Snake. Another take on a native american run. Where the last man weaves in and out of the each of his fellow runners before making it to the start.
Why The Snake? Knew you’d inquire. It’s because St. Patrick is colloquially known for ridding Ireland of all snakes. As legend has it. Don’t believe Saluki mentioned it, so I’m not sure how true it is. Still. We managed to make it halfway around the lower parking lot and back to the flag, picking up the Six in the process. And rejoining Geek, who was a true PAX in not causing any harm to YHC. Probably because it was St. Patrick’s Day.
We welcomed our FNG and named him Big Papi. It was almost Spider Papi, as his two daughters are coincidentally share names with Peter Parker’s romantic interests. But the FNG’s affection for the Yankees and distaste for the Red Sox (David Ortiz in particular) carried the day. St. Patrick’s Day.
Did any of that make sense? Probably not.