May 5, 2011

Off Beat: How 'bout some hide and seek? You're it!

Get a team together and prepare to hide in a street game organized by PortSports Social Club.

By Shannon Bryan sbryan@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

Being a grown-up is awesome.

HIDE AND SEEK AND ICE CREAM SOCIAL

WHEN: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Meet at Fit to Eat/Catbird Creamery, 65 Market St., Portland

HOW MUCH: $15

INFO: portsportsmaine.com

Finally free from parental rule, we're no longer obliged to return home when the streetlights come on. We've also mastered bicycle riding, drinking from a lid-less cup and not falling out of bed, even after the safety railings have been removed.

By now, Mom has stopped buying us three-packs of cartoon character underwear and is usually able to refrain from using her spit-covered thumb to clean our faces, despite her strong desire to do so.

We can stay up late on a school night and rejoice in the lethargic consequences, and we can swear without fear of a soapy reprisal.

Sure, we've had to forgo some youthful perks: those glorious, responsibility-free summers, for one. But it's worth it to have the authority over our own daily destinies -- to pick out our own pants and eat meals consisting entirely of pork products.

But aging doesn't require us to put away all childish things. Sure, we might toss the E.T. alarm clock, but we'll save the potty humor. We can ditch the Spider-Man pajamas but keep the Cap'n Crunch.

And we can still play hide and seek.

I'm not talking about the frustrating adult versions, otherwise known as, "Where are my keys!?" or "Grandma went missing in the mall again." Or worse, "Why hasn't he called?! I'll just drive past his house a few more times."

I'm talking about that near-dusk game on a residential street, when the summer humidity is still heavy in the air and the evening quiet is broken only by the sound of running feet, laughter and calls of "Found you!"

I'm talking about a time when you didn't have to leave your neighborhood to seek out an evening's entertainment -- and when the retirees next door didn't mind you using their well-manicured shrubs as "glue."

The people behind PortSports Social Club get it. While the Portland-based club has been a purveyor of the games of yesteryear -- wallyball, wiffleball, kickball -- for the last few years, they recently added an afternoon's worth of hide and seek to their offerings.

The adult hide-and-seek game takes to the Portland streets from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, sticking to a two-block radius around Fit to Eat and Catbird Creamery on Market Street.

An adult hide-and-seek league featured on an episode of "Portlandia" (a six-part comedy series about Portland, Ore., starring SNL's Fred Armisen and featured on the Independent Film Channel) helped bring the PortSports event into fruition.

In the episode, teams take over the local library, sticking their heads into the gaps between shelved books and tucking their torsos behind computer monitors that offered inadequate coverage. It was a lesson in how not to hide, until an aged and bearded man emerged, claiming to have been hidden since 1979 in "the most awesome spot you've ever seen."

It apparently inspired some PortSports members.

The idea had been on the radar, said Morgan Surkin, co-founder of PortSports along with her husband, Dave Surkin. But after the "Portlandia" episode came out, she said, "our members were like, 'Oh my god, have you seen this?' "

And hide and seek was born again.

Interested hide and seekers can meet up at Fit to Eat with their six-person teams already determined, or be put on a team by event organizers.

Hiding teams will have five minutes to stow themselves away before the finding teams are let loose to hunt them out.

It's hide and seek just like we remember it -- except we're likely triple the size we were when we last played. It's a truth that might require some mental readjusting.

As a kid, you might have been able to squeeze your prepubescent body into a breadbox. But your grown-up frame, quite frankly, isn't going to make it. Probably not even your arm.

Some pre-game stretching might help. Finally coming to terms with the fact that you are unquestionably pear-shaped couldn't hurt either.

But for the crafty hider, the possibilities are still endless. And even though hide and seek is usually played by the under-80-pound crowd, it has no age limit.

"Anyone can do it," said Surkin. "Any fitness level, any age range. It's all-inclusive."

And what better way to end the hide-and-seeking fun than with an ice cream social back at Catbird Creamery? The event's $15 entry fee includes a scoop of the handmade stuff. It also includes the chance to win a cash prize.

You never got that playing hide and seek as an 8-year-old, no matter how well you hid.

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at:

sbryan@mainetoday.com

Follow her on Twitter at:

@mainetoday

 

 

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