The toilet relay race
Oslo, Norway June 29, 2002 (third annual)
written by: Diane Beruldsen - "It was one of the best in all the world (the best being the first in Oslo, year 2000). "
This year, I went around the Potpurriet and struggled to get teams like always because the players are so sore (many of the teams played three games today). I got the Gothenburg Angels to race and created a new team of Norwegians (non-flag football players) who were drinking at the bar. The only reason why these Norwegians wanted to participate, was to beat the Swedes (whom they were born to defeat).
The two teams and many other women, met outside the bar for instructions. Usually there is one female runner on each corner (but we had to give some runners two blocks or more). The hardest run would be the fourth spot who would run four blocks with the goods to the finish line. We cannot get toilet paper at this time of night (it was midnight) and so, we go for Stimoral chewing gum. First runner holds the money and passes it to her next team mate, a block or so away. Each team passes the money, in this relay, and the third runner is the most telling of who will win. This third leg, has to find the exact product, cut ahead of everyone (if there is a line of other customers), pay for the gum, get receipt and exact change. She then runs out of the store, and finds her fourth and final runner who carries the goods to the finish line.
I travel with all the runners, lining them and dropping them off their "designated corner" from the first to fourth runners. The finish line would be the starting line as well where two women from the bar would hold up the large flag football picture, which was our Finish Tape. Me and Eva (my assistant) give a loud "down set hut, hut, hut" and on three, they ran.
I was happy to see the race go off. This year, for our tournaments in Key West, Florida and Dallas, Texas, the toilet relay race did not happen. The purpose of this race is to make friends among all the players during our tournaments, to laugh and have fun. It takes the edge off of the competition which sometimes can create an overwhelming feeling in the air. And in Norway, we have done this race since our first tournament, creating a history for the event. One of our strongest supporters for flag football in Norway and all of our promotions has been the Potpuriet which is a women's bar, who has allowed us to use their facility since 1997, to solicit women interested in learning how to play the game and allows us to do the toilet relay race each year. We get tons of women to come out of the bar to spectate this spectacle and they become our cheerleaders. We are all laughing.
In no time, the runners were coming back to the bar. It was the Swedish team that crossed the line first and soon came the Norwegians. I had to check the receipt, correct change and make sure they bought the right gum. I take the Swedes receipt, and saw that it was incorrect. The receipt showed that the runner bought two packs of gum. Wrong. And I double checked the change wrong. Then I took the Norwegians. The receipt was wrong also (2 packs instead of one) and incorrect change. What to do. Me and Eva step aside as the Norwegians are getting loud. They wanted to beat the Swedes and were complaining that the Swedes took the money out of their hands while in the store ("she just snatched it from me") which gave them the incorrect change. But Elizabeth (the alleged "snatcher") from the Swedish team looked too innocent to do something like that (and later she admitted she grabbed their money in the store thinking it was just for fun). But at that point, to break the tie, Eva and I decided one woman from each team would have to put all the gum (the whole Pac) into their mouths and chew, then blow a bubble. This was fun.
With hands to their sides, standing above the Pac of gum that sat on the street, they were ready to tear the packs apart. "Down set hut, hut, hut (we always use a long count). Each woman was dropping her gum onto the street and quickly picked each piece that dropped (the entire Pac 12 pieces - must be in their mouths or else, they loose). We were laughing so hard. These are grown women, taking this game so serious. And we watched.
There was too much gum and both woman tried to blow a bubble with half chewed gum. They could not even attempt to blow the bubble until the gum was ready. For five minutes, we were all waiting to see a bubble. Not a one (you cannot make bubbles with Stimoral, it is strictly a chewing gum which we did not know until then). So, now, we needed some other tie breaker. "STOP"! To the side, me and Eva went and decided another tie breaker which was that they had to spit out the gum the farthest. But first we have to make the rules clear. Each woman must stand behind a certain line and was not allowed to cross it, or else, she looses. We had the spectators ready to make each mark, and each player would not be allowed to pick up her gum, once spat out, to take another turn. They had one shot. The Swede goes first and she makes a run for it, stopping just in front of the line, then swinging her head in a slingshot manner spits. It does not look like it went too far, but this is the whole Pac, which I, myself, never tried before (un- traveled territory). We measure about 3 yards, and decide to let the gum sit there to mark itself (no one wanted to touch it). Then the Norwegian with a different technique, standing in place, lets out a huge spit. I don't know if it was a record, but it almost hit the car parked across the street and easily passed the Swede's mark. The Norwegians won, and girl were they happy. I think it is a moral law in Norway that whatever contest there is, if there is a Swede involved, they must win, for their own pride (and visa versa in Sweden). This was a great "toilet relay race" Here are the winners names (I hope when their friends and family do a search on the internet for these people, that they find this story).
Winning Team: Norway
Second Place: Sweden