Bleary-eyed at dawn we, the first team of volunteers for Kinetics, were out and about the Arcata Plaza at 5:30 setting up barricades, collecting cones and preparing the town square for the insurgence of the fabulous machines that make up the Kinetic Grand Championship. I have attended most sections of the three-day race over the years but my husband's shop schedule leaves me to my own devises, wandering the Plaza alone on Kinetic Saturday mornings. This year, I threw out the possibility of using my time wisely and volunteering. I thought I'd pitch in for a few hours and ended up doing far more....there were sites beyond the Plaza that had to be prepared. Although the sculptures are what most people see, the volunteers....the Site Coordinators and Ground Pounders make it happen.
Honestly, it was an honor to wear the official uniform of the Kinetic Accomplice - the glory extends widely to the Ground Pounders for they are the 'doozers". We pitched in where we're needed...we answered questions of Glorious Spectators like "where should we go to see the machines after this?" and "Where can we watch tomorrow?" My favorite was an elderly lady who asked if something was going on...."why, yes, yes there IS a race going on". "A bicycle race?"....Not exactly but CLOSE, ma'am." I wonder where she thought she was.
The Ground Pounders are the roadies....we did the set up and tear-down. The "first to come and the last to leave"..... It is the Ground Pounders that ask, with a smile, that Spectators pull "feet off the street" in preparation for the LeMans start of the race, and are sometimes met with scowls....yet we soldiered on, collecting our bribes from sculptures for a job well done. I cherish my bracelet from the registration Goddess Jen-0 as well as my boobie button from the Classical Nudes and others that accumulated on my shirt over the morning.
The fun of this event is like an inside joke that not everyone 'gets'. The costumes of the teams AND the volunteers raise the eyebrows of the uninvolved. So many people, mostly long-time residents I suspect, roll their eyes at the thought of the race, a clear violation of Rules 1 and 10. ** Facebook and Twitter comments mentioned "those people" more than once.....some people just don't get it but I'm glad I do. I'm grateful for Monica, Rutabaga Queen 2004 and Queen President 3 for this year, for getting us further involved in the race. Gloria has been 'entourage' since Monica ran for Queen so has been a Ground Pounder by default since she was pre-teen.
Sitting on the rocks watching the water entry on Day Two, I sat with two couples visiting from Sea Ranch who were having SO much fun. They got "it" .... Francis asking "honey, did you get a picture of that?" every few minutes as the sculptures peddled past, giggling like a teen at the numbness we were developing in our butts from sitting awkwardly on the cold rocks. It's fun to see that joy and enthusiasm. It's fun to HAVE that joy and enthusiasm..to see adults not ashamed to be silly. As was Hobart's intent, the race is intended for adults to have so much fun that kids want to grow up to be adults.
I hope that, when you attend special events anywhere, always be aware that someone, probably a BUNCH of someones, worked real hard so you could enjoy yourself. I just hope they have as much fun doing it as the Ground Pounders do.
** RULE #1: It is mandatory that all Sculpture Pilots, Pit Crew, Officials, Spectators, Law Enforcers, Communicators, Volunteers, Merchants, and even innocent bystanders put great effort into having great fun for it is such Craziness as this that keeps us all Sane! If you insist on being a grumpy racer and not having fun, you may declare "diplomatic immunity" (since you are surely from another planet) and not be cited by overly excited officials for that infraction, but we reserve the right to adjudicate any such declaration.(NOTE: Rule #1 repeats as Rule #10...it's THAT important).