2010 Pufahl Farricker Spirit Ride - Atlanta, GA

It's wonderful to see so many beautiful reports from the Spirit Rides around the country, and to be connected to such a great group of folks, still!

I wish I could say the Atlanta ride went as well. As one of the few rides across the country with both Hostages and Rude Boys participating, I was wondering if it was going to be a good idea.

Trouble began almost right away. Almost right after he got here, Kent started in with "The Rude Boys were much better than the Hostages ever were, how many Nationals, or International Tournaments have the Hostages won, besides April Fools??"

Like a bad scene out of a 1980's Miller Lite commercial, next it was : "Who was the better player, Finlay, or Jimmy Levine?? (inconclusive.) "Who was the better defender, Rosta Bill, or Joel??" (inconclusive.) "Who had a better backhand, Chris Heye, Craig MacNaughton, David Barkan, or Suzanne Fields??" (duh, only one of them is in the Hall of Fame.) "Who had a better fore-hand, Moons, Honerkamp, or Pat King??" (duh, see above.) And on, and on, and on, into the mid-day sun.

Any reports of me intentionally cutting Kent off at railroad crossings with the bike trailer, though not entirely without merit, are greatly exaggerated. (HELLO, I wasn't even IN the bike trailer!)

Despite the constant bickering, after an excellent tour of some great Atlanta neighborhoods (rumors of freeway travel - also greatly exaggerated), including The Carter Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Nat. Historic Site, Historic Inman Park neighborhood, and a beautiful respite at the magical Lake Claire Land Trust, our beleaguered riders arrived at the pub Tommy had arranged to meet Stu Downs in, after the $2 beers had run out!

Well, this sent our riders over the edge. Stu, "Mr. Peace, Love, and Understanding", and newly arrival to the conflict, implored, "Fellas, why can't we all be friends", at which point the useless bickering paused for a moment, and then erupted into full-scale pushing and shoving, and hair-pulling, which left Tommy at a distinct disadvantage.

Kent may have chipped a tooth on the edge of a table while he was trying to say, "Toby Lou was a much better player, AND better looking than Nealba ever will be" - but not to worry organizers, he signed a waiver before mounting his bike!

Well, the lord works in mysterious ways, because about the time Kent had Tommy in a hammer head lock and was trying to rub his head in the empanada's spicy sauce, Tommy caught Stu out of the corner of his eye, and suddenly remembered he was the officiant at Tommy's wedding three long years ago (Ayden's two and a half - you do the math), and challenged, "you probably don't even remember the date, do you?" Stu, fearful for the WWF indoctrination his son was being subjected to, not to mention several new words he picked up, blurted out, "JUNE SIXTH, STOP IT, YOU FOOLS!" (I think at this point he was really glad he left Boston when he did and moved down to Atlanta.) At which point, Kent, who's elbow was bent behind his back in an uncomfortable position, volunteered.... "That's Cat and mine's anniversary, also."


Suddenly, with so much in common, our adversaries dusted themselves off, shook hands, hugged, made-out for a few minutes, finished what was left of their beers that hadn't spilled onto the table during the ruckus (can you see Stu beaming in the background like a proud Father Mulcahey on M.A.S.H.), became the best of friends, and finally agreed that Nick Donahue, Pete Farricker, Billy Mac, Kim Holtan, David Barkan, and Burn, really were some of the best red heads to ever play the game!

The half mile ride back to the starting point, was really very enjoyable, and all agreed, after all, it had been a very good day.

For more of the story, please see the attached photos. Sorry there's so many, but as you can see....

I'm wordy.

Tommy Conlon
Spirit Ride Leader - Atlanta 2010