Monday, September 2, 2013

the greased pole

see previous post [click]. St. Rocco's calls this 'greasy pole'.
 And it begins. The first climber.
The fellow with the green winter helmet liner will eventually close the event. This is the team's round one attempt. Ten teams entered. The first team to get to the top wins the prize money, this year $2,000. If all teams fail after three rounds, the money carries to next year. This fellow was the thinnest competitor, soon he was to find out his belt needed to be tighter. 

One needs to climb his team mates. Any climber not wearing a belt is making a mistake, pants get grabbed. Sometimes a pocket gets ripped apart. After a round, some remove a greased shirt, to reveal another shirt. Some also wear multiple socks.
The crowd cheers when people advance with some grace and elan. When someone gets high enough, people yell for them to slap and to throw grease down. To get the top, enough of the grease needs to be removed, either by cloth absorption, or other ways. The crowd (those who aren't clumisly milling about) watch intently, snap away with their camera phones, and cheer. Spirit spreads quickly. This is marvelous fun. Some of the food trailers and booths put up blue plastic, to safe guard against grease splatter. The grease does not go far. The Greeks say if a bird shits on you, it is good fortune. This is St. Rocco's fest, he is depicted with a wounded leg (and doggy companion, woof team dog, woot woot). Rocco is a Patron of the Ill, would not such grease plop be good?
When the climbing stops for one team member, he needs to 'lock in', so as not to slide down, and to be stable for his fellow to climb him. For some people this is a family tradition. As young men Papa, and Grampapa had the same challenging fun.
Five man high, and the summit is not in the picture. Someone must 'leap frog' up.
The female team did not have the routine mastered. At this particular moment, some rude funny comments were made.
Note the guy's shirt. Some people climb poles for a living, but ungreased and with spikes.
One second before victory (and the poorest shot of the day). There is a metal 'vee', neither flag needs to be grasped, the crossbar does not need to be tagged, the 'vee' does not need to be held, only touched, and it was. This was team Ross, i heard.
postscriptum: O, i had to add this. I didn't see the team rosters, sometimes the announcer (Dominic?) would announce the team's name or sponsor. Now, written names can sound like other words when pronounced. There is a German name, 'Fahl'; i have no proof this was the name said, "Team eight is Team Fahl". Team Fall, that doesn't sound good. 

There is a yearly calendar of days and events about town, this is one of them to really note. If you haven't been to one (Labor Day always), you should consider. Beware, people are packed like anchovies. Too bad, more Italians (Italian parish, Siciliano, Calabrese, et cetera) were not there. I had a tall guy in front of me, whom stood as still and erect as the pole.

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