Well, here we are, Sports Fans, First Day at the Middle Earth Olympics!
As you know, there was a great deal of controversy about where the Stadium ought to be built. Master Elrond proved hardest to please but at last gave way and agreed that since Isengard was pretty well ruined anyway, and there was plenty of spare building materials there, with all the timber and boulders lying about, that it was the obvious choice. He relented at last, with the stipulation that Elves would not be required to actually work on the construction but would instead be able to make their contribution by providing Musical Encouragement to the works crews.
This was not the success that one might have hoped, as the works crews complained bitterly about the constant twanging of harps and the rather Dreary songs of the Elves. A compromise of sorts was reached when Elladan and Elrohir resurrected their old Rock and Roll band and played covers of such working class hits as BTO's Takin' Care of Business and Sheena Easton's My Baby Takes the Mornin' Train. They had to expand their repertoire very quickly, however, as repetition seemed to fray the nerves of an already fractious construction gang.
Treebeard and the other Ents have removed themselves from the vicinity for the Duration as there are no events planned that they could compete in. It was felt that "Rock Crumbling" and "Wizard Tossing" are too esoteric to have much mass appeal.
Despite these minor hitches the construction proceeded apace and a grand post-modern edifice arose in the shadow of the Tower of Orthanc. The initial glow of early completion was rather reduced when it was realized that no toilets had been provided. Celeborn, as Site Contractor, scratched his silver pate upon this being pointed out to him. "It hadn't occurred to me," he explained rather ruefully, "we Elves operate on such a slow time frame, you know, that bathroom visits do not have the priority with us that they do with other races." It was decided that a row of Portajohns would suffice, as Cirdan the Architect became terribly upset at the prospect of the grandeur of his Design being altered for such a mundane reason. (Those present felt he went rather over the Top, however, at his designation of Hobbits as Little *****.)
Roadways in and out of Isengard have been upgraded to deal with the expected increase in traffic. Since most spectators will arrive on foot or horseback it is hard to justify the eight lane asphalt roadways that were built, but in the event of a large influx of Motor Vehicles, the Olympic Committee is prepared. One hesitates to point it out, but one must do one's Civic Duty: Master Elrond and King Thranduil are majority shareholders in Rivendell Bitulithic, major suppliers of Tar and Gravel to the Committee. Does the Taint of Corruption raise its ugly head? One hopes not.
As for the Games themselves, the schedule of events is a tribute to the Peace Making abilities of Galadriel and Mrs. Rose Gardner. These two stalwarts managed to soothe the wounded pride of many Men and Elves and Hobbits, not to mention the delegation of Orcs who arrived under the White Flag of Truce. The Orcs presented the major challenge to these Diplomatic Dames, as they became fondly known. Aragorn and Eomer of Rohan challenged the inclusion of the Orcs on the grounds that they have a very poor Human Rights Record. Shagrat, speaking for the Orcs, said that they not only had a poor Human Rights Record, but a Poor Elven Rights Record, and a Poor Hobbit Rights Record, and what flipping difference did that make? He asserted that if Red China could participate, the nasty habits of a few mythical villains could hardly be reason to prevent them from taking part in what is heralded as the Big Sporting Event of the Millenium. His reasoning was felt to be perfect and Aragorn and Eomer withdrew their objections.
As things stand at present, all events will be Inclusive, with all races competing. Archery, for instance, is open to Elves, but only if they wear blindfolds. Axe throwing is open to Dwarves, but they will be handicapped by having the blades of their Axes notched on Orc collars. (Shagrat stepped up at this juncture and offered several members of his team and their collared necks. Their protests were too feeble to be attended to, and Shagrat has risen in the estimation of the Organizers.) Foot races will be open to Elves, and Men, but they must wear Hobbles, while the Hobbits have all been provided with Nike Sprint Feet to even the Odds. The High Jump and Pole Vault have been de-listed as no practicable means of handicapping could be determined. Throwing Events, such as Discus and Javelin, have been combined into Apple Throwing, and no handicapping is felt to be required.
While the List of Events is shorter than customary, there will still be several days of Sporting Glory to watch, and one event, in particular, has the Ladies of the Fellowship Board getting their Sponges tuned up. Wrestling is where the Hobbit team is expected to Shine under Coach Samwise, and he, with his sturdy Hobbit sense, has caused the Reversion of the Rules to the Ancient Mode, that is, Wrestling in the Nude. Tickets to this event are in short supply, so, Ladies, hit that Box Office early and often.
Equestrian Events will be limited to a simple Horse Race because when Shadowfax learned what was expected of Three Day Eventers he threw a Wobble and said none of his Mearas would participate. As well, the Mearas refuse to wear tack and few Riders can manage Elf Fashion, so the Horses will race without Riders, a new and novel twist on an Ancient Sport that holds great promise for the future.
The Opening Day Parade was Wonderful. Each team was preceded by a Maiden, scantily dressed, carrying the Flag. The beauty of Elven and Hobbit and Human Maidens has long been known, but today we learned of the Beauty of Dwarf Maidens and Orc Maidens. Words fail this commentator, but suffice it to say that such Beauty may never be Equalled. The Roar of the crowd, the Golden Sunshine, the music of the Rivendell Rockers, combined to make this a memorable Event, one that will live on in Memory for a very long time.
After the Parade there were Speeches of Welcome, as Interesting and Exciting as such speeches usually are. After my Nap, I decided which events would be of most interest to my readers, and tomorrow's Newspaper will carry the first of many Features detailing the Competition and the Results.
Let the Games Begin...............
As promised, the Events of the First Day of Competition:
The day started with a flourish of Trumpets at Dawn, and within moments the infield of the stadium was filled with grousing athletes, severely disgruntled at being woken so early. Boromir, who likes to blow his own horn, had been engaged for the Duration to play Reveille, and since no one had told him otherwise, he assumed that Dawn was the Hour to Awaken.
He was, luckily, ensconced in a high tower above the melee, and very few of the thrown objects actually reached him, with the exception of some Tomatoes thrown by a very tall Troll, and a burning paper bag filled with Mearas Manure sent upwards by means of an an Elven arrow. Boromir did not lose his good natured calm and responded with a loud Raspberry and a view of his muscular Buttocks as he Mooned the unruly gang on the field.
It may be that tempers were a tad Short this morning because of the Severe Partying engaged in on the previous evening, after the Opening Ceremonies. A group of Canadian Canoeists were late arriving, but made up for that Rudeness by providing a Truckload of Molson Canadian in Kegs, which all present said Went Down a Treat. Even the normally abstemious Saruman got into the swing of things and challenged Gandalf by saying, "Come on, you Wimp, let's settle it now for good and all--bare fisted, none of this Staff pfaff." Gandalf, whose eyebrows bristled at the word "Wimp", leapt for Saruman's throat with a cry of , "Let's be having you, then!", but Samwise intervened, adjuring both combatants to Put a Cork in It. The air was Tense for a time, but another Mug of Molson's soon put things right and before long the two greybeards were arm in arm, singing "We're off to see the Wizard", and laughing hysterically.
The Canadian Canoeists whose motto of "Party till you Puke" met with universal approval, were bowled over by the warmth of the Middle Earth Welcome. By midnight they had tucked all the other partiers into their little beds, then they got down to some Serious drinking. Unfortunately no female partiers were left awake upon whom the Canadians could prove the old adage: a real Canadian is One who can Make Love in a Canoe. In Canada the wakefulness of the female partner is not a concern, but it was Felt that when in Rome one ought to do as the Romans, if possible, and this matter of etiquette was unaccountably left out of their "How to Behave in Middle Earth" booklets. Deciding it was better to be Safe than Sorry, they hoped that the next night might prove them better able to Score.
The first event scheduled was Archery, and large number of competitors awaited the beginning of the contest, many squinting in pain at the bright sunshine. Since the Elves had to shoot blindfolded, they were spared that misery, but more than one Elf was heard muttering that in future he would "stick to miruvor". To no one's particular surprise Legolas Greenleaf won the Mithril Medal in Archery, explaining that it was not necessary for him to see the Target with his eyes, he shot by Zen and "became the arrow". The second place Medal, of Gold, went to Lurtz of Orthanc, who graciously accepted the Prize after biting it to make sure "it ain't just gilt". Third place, the Bronze Medal, went to Haldir of Lorien, the Androgynous Elf. Like Legolas, this Elven Archer shot blindfolded, and was further hampered by what might or might not be a Right Breast.
The second of the day's events was the Foot Race for the Male Gender, in which Male Persons of every race competed. So well was the event Handicapped that it was a Dead Heat, and everyone got a Mithril Medallion, except Shagrat the Orc who said he much preferred Gold, if it wasn't too much trouble. He explained to this Reporter privately that if he turned up in Lugburz with anything made of Mithril, " the Gaffer would have it off me in a flash". The Foot Race for the Female Gender was not so well handicapped, and the Mithril Medallion was given to Arwen of Rivendell, the Gold to Eowyn of Rohan, and the Bronze to the very tall Troll's Female Partner, who was identified by the cognomen "Toots". The Lady Hobbits pouted a bit, feeling that they had been Outclassed, but Good Sportsmanship prevailed and they turned their minds to the event they hope to have a Clean Sweep in, Being Cute and Plump.
There was then a break for Elevenses, the grub provided by Bilbo Baggins' Bread and Butter Business, and since hangovers were beginning to fade, everyone tucked in with a Will. The first afternoon Event was Swimming in the Isen, and the turnout was Disappointing. Samwise won the Mithril Medal, proving that Training Pays, as he has been Free Styling 400 metres a day since his return to The Shire. It is a matter of Pride to him to show that not all Hobbits are "ascared" of water, and he intends to offer the Canoeing Canadians a "run for their money". The second place Gold Medal was taken by none other than Boromir, who did The Dead Man's Float. No third place or Bronze Medal was awarded, as there were only two competitors.
After the Swimming took place the Stadium crowd was treated to a Spectacular Display of Formation Marching by the Massed Mordor Marchers. Rank upon rank of these hardy soldiers in Full Dress Kit put on a Show that left the audience gasping. While their Marching skills are indisputable, the Aroma arising from their Sweating bodies wafted over the grandstands with stunning effect, leaving this Reporter to wonder if, in fact, this would explain their prowess in Battle. They were cheered on by the Orcettes, who charmed all present with the precision of their harmony on the cheer "One, Two, Three, Four! Who is it that we Adore? Mordor, Mordor, Rah, Rah, Rah".
Next and last on Today's Agenda was the Apple Throwing Event and, as expected, A Hobbit won the Mithril Medal. Samwise did not compete, but his oldest son Frodo did, and he did his Dad "right Proud". The target, a large Portrait of the unlamented Bill Ferny, was soon peppered with Apple Cores aimed with savage precision by this scion of the Gamgee clan, who scored 100 out of 100, pointing out that the result was nearly 100 per cent. Indeed, it was that close, as close as Dam is to Swearing. The Second Place Gold Medal was awarded to none other than the aforementioned Bill Ferny, who sidled up to Samwise after and thumped him heartily on the back and asserted that, "No offense was meant, and he hoped none was taken". The Third Place Bronze Medal went to Master Elrond, who displayed an astonishing skill at the sport. He explained to this Reporter afterward, over a Pint, that he simply pretended the face on the target was that of Isuldur (late of Gondor), and this gave him the impetus to Do Well.
All in all, it is agreed that the First Day of Competition went about as well as could be expected. Tomorrow will see the Axe Throwing Contest up first, and the other events as shown on the attached program. There was a bit of a fracas in the area behind the Stadium only an hour ago when Barliman Butterbur turned up with a Barrel of Beer and a Bevy of Bozos who intended to "show them Canucks what for", but once the Barrel was Broached, and the Molson's flowed like the mighty Niagara Falls for which Canada is famous, Peace and Goodwill broke out. The one flaw in the otherwise Swell Atmosphere is an unfortunate result of Cirdan's design: there simply are not enough Portajohns for this crowd and the Male half of it has been assigned a row of Shrubbery upon which to Answer Nature's Call. A simple enough solution except for the unforeseen fact that some of the Shrubbery is made up of Ents and Huorns who disobeyed Treebeard's orders to "bugger off and let these fools have their fun". Just how this matter will be resolved I am unsure, but with a Will to Get Along, most disputes can be solved peacefully.
Part 3 Middle Earth Olympics
The Third Day of Middle Earth Olympics, being the Second and Last Day of Competition, dawned bright and beautiful. Since yesterday’s dustup caused such trouble, Boromir did not blow Reveille quite so early. Truth to tell, Boromir overslept, and the athletes had to wake themselves up. They straggled on to the field in a most haphazard manner, and woke the Trumpeter by collapsing his tent upon his Recumbent Form and Putting the Boots to him. Once again the Diplomatic Dames showed their mettle as they dispersed the fun loving kickers with the promise of a Football match if scheduled events completed early enough. The well-known Football Commentator Fili is in attendance at these games and has been Lobbying enthusiastically for Football’s inclusion in future Olympics. Should time permit, and the Scratch Match take place, Fili has generously offered to make up the Rosters and be Referee.
Breakfast was catered by Sam’s Chippy, an innovation in these parts, being a Movable Chip Shop, hauled to the site by none other than Bill the Pony. Bill the Pony was in excellent spirits, greeting his old chum Shadowfax with loud Neighs and foot stampings. While Sam’s Chippy has a very limited menu, there were few complaints as Galadriel and Celebrian moved through the throng handing out Samples of Lembas, and these made up for any shortcomings in the food line. They are test Marketing a new line of the Famous Waybread, wrapped in shrink wrap instead of the traditional Mallorn Leaves, and early response to the Marketing campaign has been extremely favourable.
Then occurred the first unfortunate incident of the day, as the Beornings turned up with their free samples of Honey Cake hauled in a Dredge behind a large and Savage Bear. Galadriel lodged a complaint with the Committee, alleging that she had Paid through the Nose for the privilege of Surveying the crowd and she wasn’t going to stand for it. The Bear, none other than the well known Beorn, reared up on his Hind Legs and growled lustily at Galadriel. Not fazed in the least, Galadriel turned herself into a much Larger Bear, and attacked Beorn. The Fur Flew. However, shortly after the Melee began, the two Ursine combatants started rubbing their noses together, cuddling, and making low, strangely musical sounds deep in their throats. Beorn shrugged off his harness and he and Galadriel galloped bear fashion off into the Treegarth of Orthanc, undoubtedly to discuss Issues concerning Baking Sweet Cakes.
Right after breakfast the Axe Throwing Event took place in the infield. Several Dwarves were listed to take part, but two withdrew upon being informed that a Chromosome Test was in the offing, to separate Male contenders from Female. This Reporter is unsure whether those who withdrew were Male or Female, or indeed either, and no one is any the wiser on the subject of Dwarf Gender Characteristics. Gimli Gloin’s son, who has become quite Portly, still packs a mean Axe and took the early lead. A suprise entrant was The Balrog, who came with his entourage of Demons Carrying Fire Extinguishers. It was hard to make out just what he was saying at times, but the best guess seemed to be that since their was no Whip Cracking Contest, nor Flame Throwing Event, he thought he stood the best chance in the Axe Throw. Unfortunately every Axe he laid his hand to burst into Flames and the Balrog withdrew, frustrated in his first Sporting Event. His presence made many people uneasy but this Reporter observed his Mannerly care in standing well back from the Crowd and keeping his Mouth closed. In the end, the Mithril Medal was taken by Ori, the second Place Gold by Gimli and the third place Bronze by none other than Shagrat the Orc, who now stands at the top of the standings with two Medals. He had not intended to compete, but had dragged several of his Fellow Orcs to the Axe Ground for the Dwarves to Notch their Axes on their Iron Collars, and when he saw the chance to “give it a go” he took it and displayed an uncommon natural Ability.
The Horse Race was next and unfortunately it was not the success that had been hoped for. Shadowfax certainly did his Part, urging his fellow Mearas to the Starting Line. Horses are very convivial creatures and rather than Racing like Mad to the far end of the Track, they fell to Chatting amongst Themselves and the long and the short of it is that they decided it was just too Hot to run, and who gave a tinker’s anyway? Shadowfax was covered in Confusion and Shame, at first, hanging his proud head, but Gandalf spoke quietly into his Ear and Shadowfax graciously accepted the Mithril Medal as a token of Esteem from the Organizers. Bill the Pony was seen to be Hobnobbing with the Mearas and seemed quite taken by a pretty little Filly. Bill has never forgotten his Sojourn in Rivendell and quite prefers Elf horses to the little hairy ponies of the Shire.
Although the Horses had not raced, the confusion surrounding their Refusal took as much time as if they had, and it was now Lunch Time. Tom and Goldberry Bombadil had laid on a lovely feast of Bean Soup and fresh baked Bread, with side dishes of Bacon and Mushrooms, all tastefully arranged on checkered cloths on the Stadium floor. Tom entertained the throng with Song and Dance and while no one could doubt his Enthusiasm, his efforts were somewhat indifferently received. He bore the lack of applause with Manly Stoicism and was heard to comment that no one could ever figure out just what he was All About anyway, and would probably not have missed him if he hadn’t been there. Toots the Trolless then astonished the audience with a comic song about the best method to cook Twelve Dwarves and A Hobbit. which vastly amused the Dwarves present and brought a Reminiscent smile to the face of Bilbo Baggins.
The last event scheduled was the aforementioned Canoe Race on the River Isen, and all the entrants were Canadian, except for Samwise. The results astounded everyone. Samwise was first by many canoe lengths and it became obvious that the Canadians were in no shape to race at all, having celebrated too enthusiastically the Victory, 5 to 2, of a team of Ice Hockey compatriots who were competing in another Olympics far, far away.
The Closing Ceremonies brought a Tear to this reporter’s Eye. The parade of athletes, the music, the rays of the Setting Sun. There had been no Olympic Flame, an oversight now corrected easily by the Balrog who stood on an upturned Molson’s keg in the infield and breathed Fire into the darkening sky. His timing was impeccable. As the flames of his breath died away, Gandalf’s Fireworks shot into the Heavens with Scintillating Brilliance and a Blaze of Colour. The notes of Boromir’s trumpet rose into the evening air as he played “The Saint Louis Blues” (an odd, but strangely fitting Tune), and the smokes from many Pipes of Pipeweed mingled with the fragrances of the Summer Evening and the BBQ pits. Hobbit children ran about waving Sparklers and weary athletes sought folding camp chairs and Cold Ones. The Evening Star appeared, then the Moon rose over the White Mountains. The Pax Olympicus pervaded Middle Earth, and Life was Sweet for all.