The view from Cooper’s Hill is worth every inch of the steep crawl to its peak, rewarding climbers with a spectacular panorama of a sleepy English countryside dotted by farmhouses.
That’s assuming you’re not sandwiched between a drunk Australian dressed up like a sumo wrestler and a kilt-wearing Scotsman on the UK’s first bank holiday in May, preoccupied by the haunting vision of your ankles snapping in a chaotic race against an enormous wheel of cheese.
Lucky for me, I managed to survive the 2006 Cheese Rolling by sliding down mostly on my tush, soiling my Levi’s to such extremes that I later packed them in our motel wastebasket rather than my suitcase. With my strategy in place—a combination of cautious sliding and hesitant somersaulting that I’d call smart but my lovely wife still calls wimpish—I never had a chance of wrapping my grass-stained mitts around the 7-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese awarded to the winner. I had something much better, after all—one of the most memorable weekends of my life and a newfound respect for aged dairy products.
Given my Cheese Rolling experience, it should come as no surprise that I was disappointed to learn this week that the event will likely be cancelled this year. Then again, it seems fitting that it’s in the news. Starting and maintaining this blog is the realization of a dream born on that old hill. A dream to force myself into awkward situations I’d never experience if I’d stayed at home and watched a Family Guy marathon instead. A dream to publicly humiliate myself on a regular basis. A dream to chase the cheese, no matter how stupid it might seem.
It’s a dream that for too long has been tucked away in the back of my mind, something I occasionally pull out at parties or mention in passing as that one great idea that got away. But that ends today. Starting this blog is my affirmation, my promise to myself and the blogosphere that this idea will no longer sit idly in the dusty recesses of my brain.
If you’ve ever run with the bulls, competed in a bratwurst-eating competition, represented your country in the Nude Olympics, or just been fascinated by someone’s motivation to throw himself down a hill in the name of cheese, consider Anyone Can Enter your new home for stories and personal accounts about some of the strangest, quirkiest, and ridiculous competitions that allow anyone to enter. My mission will be to compete in one event each month and chronicle every step of the way right here.
Sure, I have delusions of grandeur just like anybody else would. In my wildest dreams, Anyone Can Enter becomes a hub for anyone who’s ever dreamt of winning a wheel of cheese and ruining a fine pair of slacks in the same day. And, yes, it would be incredibly awesome if this spawns a book deal, a TV show, a movie, and a Jon Page action figure that accompanies your kid’s McDonald’s Happy Meal.
But, Mom, if you’re the only one still reading this, so be it. Anyone Can Enter isn’t about having the fastest time, winning the most prizes, or striking it rich. It’s about having fun and trying something new, if only for the sake of trying.
For me, it’s also about living a better lifestyle. On April 6, 2011, I’ll turn 30. I’d like to do it a bit faster, stronger, and about 20 pounds lighter. To help me get there, I’ll be adding some normal races into my routine and I’m shooting to run a marathon sometime near my birthday next year. I should probably mention more about how I haven’t gone for a run of 3 miles or longer in about six years, but I’ll save that for another post. We’re talking baby steps here. In fact, my first event—a potato decorating contest at Big Boss Brewing Company in Raleigh—required no athletic aptitude. Next month’s CN Tower Stair Climb in Toronto, however, is sure to kick my butt. Again, more on that later.
In the future, also look out for posts in which I track down former winners of the events I’m entering. I’ll need their advice to guide me through the early rounds of the National Hollerin’ Contest and coach me on how to finish the Krispy Kreme Challenge without regurgitated doughnut glaze on my running shoes.
Along the way, maybe I’ll inspire you to chase a silly dream of yours, too. Either way, it should be a fun ride.