Rope swings on their own are horrible enough with the leg burn and the hand scratches and the vertigo inducing swinging motion going on the whole time. They’re even horribler than horrible when they’re perched high above a muddy hole in the ground. But combine them with huge 18 wheeler tires you have to run through, tall walls you have to climb over, hard-boiled egg walks, trampoline jumps and things involving squirt guns — and you’ve got the All-American obstacle course.
A concept that I am about to blatantly attack.
Any of the previously aforementioned items are fine on their own. Rope swings, trampolines, egg walks and vertigo inducing bat-on-the-head, grass spins. But the fact of the matter is this — none of those things on their own constitute an actual pasttime. You can’t go around calling up your friends and asking them if they want to get together on Saturday at the park for some rope swining. Or orange cone, mini-tricycle pedaling. If you’ve tried, you’ve gotten the response most people have:
“Just rope swinging? Anything else?”
And so the concept of the (stupid) obstacle course was born. Take dozens of useless, short-lived psuedo-physical events and string them together to create “the illusion” of a full-fledged physical activity. String together a rope swing, followed by a tire run, followed by a wall climb, followed by a barb-wire crawl-under activity, followed by a blindfolded hard-boiled egg & spoon walk, followed by a bat-on-the-head grass spin relay, followed by a slew of other non-events that include bandanas, socks, water balloons, water guns, oversized plastic tubes and hummus — and yessiree… You’ve got an obstacle course.
Now THAT’S something to do on a Saturday.
Perfect your diving skill, and you could win a gold medal. Learn to run long distance at high speeds, and potentially walk away with a ribbon or cash award. Play a sport professionally, and you might just make enough money to buy a small third-world country for your mother!
But win at an obstacle course?
If you’re lucky, you could win a useless, flammable stuffed Hanna-Barbara-esque animal. If you’re not so lucky, you’ll win a huge sausage. If you’re competing in a backwoods, trailer-trash obstacle course — winning first place will probably win you that drink cozie you’ve always wanted.
Which is exactly the reason why obstacle courses suck. In addition to this very important point:
Her: “What’d you do this weekend?”
Me: “Oh man, I had an amazing weekend!”
Her: “You did? What’d you do? What happened!?”
Me: “Are you ready for this? I won first place in my next-door neighbor’s Lego obstacle course.”
Her: “You won first place in what?”
Me: “An obstacle course.”
Her: “An obstacle course?”
Me: “Uh, yes.”
No one cares if you participated, triumped in, or created your own obstacle course. Which is why, I have attacked the concept of them.
I hope you agree.