After several days of intense practice, Coach G. thought it would be a great idea to let us unwind by taking the afternoon off and paddling down Sugar Creek. After participating in this last year I knew that it was up to me and fellow sophomore Josh Pedersen “JP”/”El Lobo Loco” to uphold the tradition of being the canoe tippers of the trip. Here we were “Cheech” and “Lobo” navigating the creek so well that even Lewis and Clark would be proud of our abilities. About half a mile up the creek once we were about 100 yards ahead of everyone, we docked our canoe on shore and waded into the waters to prepare for our first battle of the day. This turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment at best. We only managed to flip three canoes, one canoe which included captain, super senior, and all around good guy Jon Funston.
After all the canoes had passed we got pack in our canoe and paddled towards our rendezvous point a couple miles away. Upon the meeting point we were greeted by the rest of the team. Lobo and I docked our canoe and hung out with the guys. After several minutes, Funston announced that there were cookies for snacks. For those of you that don’t know, coach has all of us on a strict dietary policy during preseason (which includes no desserts at any meal). As soon as I heard the word cookies, I bulldozed my way through a pack of people to get to that little bit of heaven they call chocolate chip cookies. Naturally JP was right at my heels ready to devour the sweet treats with me. As soon as I had reached the cookies I had noticed that no one was paying attention to the cookies anymore, but I could have cared less, that just meant more cookies for me. Halfway through my first cookie I turned to see what everyone was looking at. One of our teammates had pushed our canoe 100 ft. sown the creek, filled it with water, and was in the process of loading it with rocks. As you can guess, this did not sit well with me or JP. Not only had we been tricked by our team captain with cookies, but he left the task of disposing our canoe to a freshmen.
Several seconds after everything finally sank in, JP and I were in full sprint down the shore towards this little punk that we shall call “Sunshine”. Once cursing and rock throwing had ended JP and I knew that it was time to return the favor to the entire team who were all now in hysterical laughter at the sight. JP and I knew our time had come. It was time for the epic battle that will forever be known as the Battle of Sugar Creek. JP and I positioned ourselves in the middle of the creek fully prepared to tip any and every canoe that crossed our path. The team however had put their heads together and came up with a defensive strategy to prevent any tipping. They formed what looked very similar to a Spartan Phalanx formation. All canoes were locked side to side paddling as one unit.
Warning! The next paragraph is very intense and should not be read by the elderly, pregnant women, small children, and those who are feint of heart. Most would have been intimidated by the small army armed with paddles gliding toward us. But, we are talking about the mighty “Cheech” and “Lobo” here. Pardon my language, but we took the “attributes” to wall, take no prisoners approach to breaking them up. Rioting soon ensued, paddles were flying, water drenching everyone, and shouting prevented any forms of effective communication. After 45 seconds of trying to break up the phalanx JP and I dropped off. The rest of team thought they had stopped us from exacting revenge. They couldn’t have been more wrong. You know the term “The eye of the storm” the point at which it is completely calm before “S*** hits the fan”, that is exactly what happened. After the team celebrated and split apart JP and I sprinted another 100 yards down the shore and hopped into the creek where the water is waist deep and waited for the final stand. Once the team settled down and headed down the river one by one, they were unknowingly paddling to their imminent tipping. The beauty of being waist deep in water was that once you squat down and push up on their canoe, you have about a thousand times more leverage than they do. One by one canoes came, and one by one they were tipped and flooded. If I didn’t manage to tip them, JP was 15 feet behind me to clean up any mess. It was a massacre! JP and I loved every minute of it. The entire team went from happy and dry to sopping wet from head to toe in dirty creek water. Five minutes later we stepped back and admired our work.
We triumphantly strode back to our sunken canoe and began repairing the damage that had been inflicted almost half an hour ago. After we got all the rocks out of the bottom of the canoe and tipped the water out of the canoe we were ready to put our vessel back into the water and paddle into the great unknown. I picked up my paddle and hopped into the canoe, I turned to look back and make sure JP was ready. But he was just standing there. It was then I realized that among the commotion someone had taken our paddle. Furious we freely let out a few choice words. We then decided to hang up an orange vest on a stick to memorialize the battle. We then took our shirts, a rock, and a large stick to construct a makeshift paddle and paddled away into the unknown.
Pat West ’11