As dawn broke here in Eastport on Saturday, November 8th, there was something different in the air. There was a palpable hue of greatness that was finding its ways clear the lingering haze of hangovers, shattered dignity and poor decisions that follow a typical Friday night here on the peninsula.
The reason for this, you ask? Well, it was time for the good people of Eastport to renew their rivalry with those uptight, prissy, overdressed, Starbucks-swilling, mouth breathers from across the creek in Annapolis for the 12th Annual Annapolis vs. Eastport Tug of War. And this year, APS was getting in on the mainland beatdown.
First, a little history about this uniquely Annapolitan competition, the proceeds of which benefited local charities in the Annapolis area. This isn”t some sissy tug of war in a parking lot or over a poorly constructed mud pit. Also known as the “Slaughter Across the Water”, a 1,700 foot piece of 1-1/8″ Maxibraid Plus (polyester cover with a Spectra 900 core) is strung across the entire width of Spa Creek/Annapolis Harbor and both sides tug, tug, tug.
In the event that the 1,700 foot length didn”t give it away, this piece of line is intense — made by Yale Cordage, it would cost around $30,000 to replace (it would have cost $23,488.50 to replace it in 1998, so I”m unscientifically adjusting for inflation…). To protect this hefty piece of cordage, the Annapolis Harbormaster closes off all traffic coming in and out of the harbor until the tugging has ended and they even call out dudes in camo to protect the line in between tugs.
Back to the tugging…
Two days before the actual “war”, our fearless leader, Kyle, recruited some of the best and brightest from here at the shop to tug for the Eastport Business Association team. The APS Dream Team was made up of the aforementioned Kyle, Aaron Freeman, Ian Coleman, Mike Lindsley and Torrey Kernan. These strapping young men (and Kyle) joined up with about 20-25 other tuggers from the EBA to take on the pinot-sipping lightweights from the Annapolis Downtown Partnership.
The Tug of War started promptly at the crack o” Noon (see haze of hangovers, shattered dignity and poor decisions from above) on this beautiful Saturday and there were six different teams for each side that would square off. The EBA was scheduled to go third and got to watch first two Eastport teams pull out victories over their Naptown counterparts. The Bars of Eastport took out the Federal House Bar and Grill in 1 minute, 56 seconds and the brave men of the Eastport Fire Department dispatched the Annapolis Police Department in 1 minute, 37 seconds.
With the perfect game intact, our boys took to the field of battle with their “unique” team outfits of clown sized glasses and “loud” colored bandannas. Ian, Aaron and Mike all took up positions towards the front of the tug with Torrey somewhere in the middle and Kyle towards the back. Sporting Atlas” Thermal Fit Gloves and Ronstan Sticky Gloves for superior grip and hand protection (yep, shameless plug — I don”t apologize), the tension mounted as instructions were given to get into position.
And with a short countdown, the command to pull was simultaneously given to both sides and they went to work. It didn”t look all that good, at first, for our boys — an initial surge from the Annapolis side found them ahead early. Ian, who was at the front of the tug, looked a bit like Fred Flintstone trying to stop his car, skidding along the ground with little ability to stop the momentum. The EBA team stopped the bleeding though and quickly dug in, with the APS staffers on the team switching gears and getting serious:
With team doctors carefully monitoring Mike (seen above) to make sure he didn”t blow an o-ring, the EBA team started to get the momentum back in their favor. As quickly as they”d fallen behind, they started to make progress and got that honkin” piece of line moving their way. And just 45 seconds after it started, the contest was called for the boys and girls from Eastport, putting them up 3-0 for the day.
When the dust settled, our boys from APS looked completely exhausted. It was less than a minute of work (which is, admittedly, a lot for Ian under normal circumstances), but they were pulling with everything they had against another group of people while also taking on the weight of a 1,700 foot piece of line that was juuuust a little damp — nothing easy about that. As they were helped off the battle lines, they were quickly provided with some adult beverages to cool down and dull their screaming senses — rewards for a job well done.
Editorial comments about the good people of Annapolis were mostly tongue-in-cheek and in no way reflect the thoughts or feelings of APS or its management. Unless you are a uptight, prissy mouth breather — if that”s the case, we stand behind our taunts and mocking.