Lenado Bowl: A made-for-TV sports spectacular | AspenTimes.com

Lenado Bowl: A made-for-TV sports spectacular

Michael Cleverly

I was recently watching a pay-per-view telecast of the Lenado Bowl. A brutal contest between Goddard College, the legendary hippie school and longtime Vermont football powerhouse, and an all-women’s school, Mount Holyoke. It was the NCAA’s premiere attempt at total athletic, sexual parity.The Lenado Dome was packed to capacity and had been for hours before the game. The Dome, just shy of being large enough to breed its own weather has, however, evolved its own ecosystem. Kept at an average temperature of 88 degrees in the winter months and intentionally not air-conditioned in the summer, it is home to every species of biting, stinging insect indigenous to the continental United States, and it is the habitat for several types of poisonous reptiles found nowhere else north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The Dome is truly the garden spot of Lenado, and a source of great civic pride.Local enthusiasm for the game was high, and some Lenado residents claimed vague memories of, perhaps, attending Goddard College, although this remained purely speculative due to the sorts of drugs that were popular back in the day. No one claimed flashbacks involving Mount Holyoke.The crowd in the Dome was being entertained by the Sergeant’s Flea and Tick Spray Marching Band and a series of critter-gutting and pelt-tanning demonstrations. The air was thick with anticipation – and flies. Unfortunately, the presence of the little airborne pests resulted in the Mount Holyoke Cheerleading Squad steadfastly refusing to take the field, creating great consternation among some Lenadoans who hadn’t seen any wimmen in, well, quite a while. The Goddard cheerleaders brought their own flies.The entire event was the brainchild of “Survivor” über-producer Mark Burnett, who saw it as a runup to the newest addition to his hit TV franchise. “Survivor – Lenado” is to be a midseason replacement, in an effort to breathe life into a concept that’s getting somewhat long in the tooth. It will be hosted by Jessica Simpson, and all the weekly challenges will be inspired by scenes taken from the film “Deliverance,” with the critical “squeal like a pig challenge” strategically airing during the sweeps period.Simpson was crowned queen of the Lenado Bowl, but was not available for interviews due to a phalanx of very large, heavily armed security personnel who seemed particularly edgy after an unpleasant encounter with some local color. Simpson, however, issued a statement that her money was on underdog Mount Holyoke, because: 1) she had heard that the school was one of seven sisters, and, that she (Simpson) actually had a sister; 2) she also liked mountains; 3) she might even want to go there (Mount Holyoke) someday. When contacted, administrators at Mount Holyoke denied any knowledge of a Ms. Simpson and suggested that any attempt by the woman to “come within 100 miles of campus” would be rebuffed with “extreme prejudice.”Goddard was installed as the home team and was given the traditional 3-point edge. No one was quite sure why, but speculation had it that the hippies’ greater tolerance to insect bites might have been a factor.Mount Holyoke won the toss, and the offensive unit for the Fighting Lyons took the field (Lyon being the name of the broad who founded the school). They looked fast and sleek, and sufficiently fetching that I was instantly on the phone, leaving messages offering to apply as much Cutters as necessary to the cheerleading squad to get them to the sideline. My calls that day, and since, have gone unanswered.Although my eyes were glued to an impressive backfield, my thoughts were on the Mount Holyoke defense. Early in my own career at the small New England college I attended, I learned that if you mess with one of the “Seven Sisters,” you mess with all of them. Later, I dated a Smithy, and ended up spending some time in Northampton. I discovered, through painful firsthand experience, the kind of wallop a disgruntled lesbian can pack. I feared for the lads from Goddard. Like Ms. Simpson, my money was on the ladies.While the Goddard mascot scampered about the sidelines with dry-ice smoke pouring out of the papier-mâché bowl on his costume, the plucky Fighting Bongs held the fierce (and hot) Lyons scoreless for the entire first half. Not without cost, the Mount Holyoke defense was determined to separate hippie heads from their weenie, tie-dyed, hippie uniforms, and no less than two key Goddard players were wheelbarrowed off the field, not to return.The halftime show was a little disappointing, mostly due to the continued absence of the Mount Holyoke cheerleaders. Rumors that the young women spent halftime cowering in Mayor Guenin’s cabin, as a result of some frighteningly obscene phone calls involving Cutters insect repellent, are just that – rumors.The second half will live long in NCAA annals. A sports tragedy by any standard, it surely doesn’t bode well for future intersexual contests. Postgame investigations suggest that a temporarily colorblind equipment manager might have confused the blue nitrous-oxide tank that was to be on the Goddard team bus for postgame celebrations, with the green oxygen tank that should have been on the sideline. Players with the most gruesome injuries, being carried off the field, were heard pleading to be put back into the game, “I just need some more O2.” School spirit is a beautiful thing … the final score wasn’t.Coming in summer 2007, Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice – Silt”