By Chason Gordon
– The Capitol Hill Times -
Ladies and gentlemen and fellows of the egg, not since Ali vs. Frazier has the entire sporting world been rapt with this much intrigue and excitement, yearning for the moment when hundreds of children would test their wits against thousands of eggs. Who would triumph? What fresh hell might await the loser? This was the Capitol Hill egg hunt (they held it in Cal Anderson Park, which was a much better choice than the adjacent construction pit).
The sunny park glistened in the early Saturday morning; a drizzle from the night before left the field of battle muddy but forgiving, ready for weary children in their tiny shoes. There were at least 2,000 to 3,000 eggs in play, which the volunteers slowly spread across the field like oversized fertilizer. This was to be less a hunt than a complete annihilation.
“They’re not really hidden,” said Marc Hoffman, one of the organizers, “this will literally be over in 10 minutes.” I called my bookie and put $1,000 on the kids.
The first egg hunt was reserved for children six and under (even egg hunts have conferences). I watched them line up along the field, half aware of what was happening, while for some reason a DJ played club music in the background. Hoffman yelled “Go!” and they were off. The children stumbled forward and three immediately tripped and fell, brought down by gravity, that cruel mistress. Others slowly wondered across the field as their parents frantically yelled, “Put the eggs in the basket. In the basket!” And quickly joined them to help out.
I caught up with a precocious two-year-old as he came off the field: “A lot of eggs out here today, definitely a lot of eggs, but I think if we buckle down and double up our effort, we can win this thing.” Though some were quick, many of the children wistfully picked up the eggs as if perusing the aisles of a video rental store, and before I could grab one for myself, they were gone.
At the other end of the park they held the second egg hunt for kids seven and older, but these were all hardened veterans who knew exactly where to go and what to do. The kids scoured the field like that scene in Planet of the Apes when the humans are hunted down. It was over in seconds. One egg tried to escape through the tennis courts and was swept into a game of bike polo.
After the hunts concluded the kids mercilessly split apart the eggs for the candies inside, tossing the leftover shells into boxes like professional clam-shuckers. A little girl put an egg on the sidewalk and stepped on it. I shivered at the brutality of it all.
As the crowds slowly dispersed, and as they let the air out of the giant giraffe-shaped jumping castle, the great event came to an end. There’s no doubt that the eggs were decimated this year, but they’re ripe for a comeback, especially if they learn to multiply. Maybe next year the eggs will hunt the children! Or not.
Happy Easter everybody.