Best of the ‘Gest … The Olympiad,2021

The Great Kirschaeffer Reunion and SunHawk

by Silverback John Schaeffer (Mendocino Bonobos)

Olympiad – July 2021

(Participants: John (Bapa), Eric (esotERIC), Nantzy (Grantzy), Francine (Grantzine), Sara, Ashley, Erol, Jules, Sebastian, Soleil, Nancy May, Alexis, Whitney, Kenzie, Jasper, Kim) It was a weekend to remember! The idea for a “Kirschaeffer Reunion and Olympiad – 2021 came from Eric after spending 5 days with John in June, just the two of them, best friends since Little League days when they were 11 or 12 years old. Those days in June were filled with belly laughs, bike rides, great food, and most of all hard sweaty work in the vegetable garden for multiple hours each day. So much fun was had that the idea of a larger reunion at SunHawk, complete with both families cropped up and was anticipated eagerly by all. The Kirsches and the Schaeffers had, after all, mingled, connected, travelled, cavorted, and mostly laughed until the tears ran down and their bellies ached for nearly 60 years. From Brentwood to Europe and Istanbul where Eric and John nearly got shot by a taxi driver, to Henny’s Ice Cream parlor in Ukiah (where Francine was pregnant with soon to be first born Alexis), where they ran into each other accidentally in 1977 after being apart for several years, to Redwood Valley, Comptche, Talmage, Japan, Santa Barbara, Baja California, a 7-Day canoe trip down the Green River in Utah, their lives had intertwined for six decades. It only made sense to have a reunion, and why not throw in an Olympiad for good measure?

And so the planning began and the schedules evolved:

Move center slider to see both images

The Kirschaeffer Olympiad Opening Ceremony begins, officiated by EsotERIC, Bapa, and Time and Space Keeper Jules. The families march in to the familiar tunes of the Olympic theme song blasted from the SunHawk abode throughout
the meadow with Master Sebastian accompanying on the bass drum. The tri- mirrored torch is ‘lit’ by the sun with Soleil looking on with the Duke of Erol on the Island with mirror #1, ADA Jasper on the zipline platform with mirror #2 and esotERIC orchestrating the mirror triad culminating in the lighting of the magic hat on the head of Jules, who summarily declared in his booming voice: “Let the Games Begin!”

Olympiad Opening Ceremony

Opening comments from Eric

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

Welcome to Sunhawk and The KirSchaeffer Games 2021!

Before we get going here, let’s give a big hand to John for putting up with us and this tomfoolery. Thank you, John!
From near and far we have come. We are all here to witness and participate in the first annual KirSchaeffer Olympiad, 2021. In a few days, you’ll go back to near and far totally transformed by the fun & joy, the courage & strength, and the peacefulness & honesty that’s about to go down here. Now, let us covet this moment at this magical place and connect with the animals and nature spirits of the land, the waters and the air. For we are all linked to the Olympic motto of Citius, Altius, Fortius – Faster, Higher, Stronger! 

To the athletes!

And now John is going to say a few words before commencing the lighting of the Olympiad Torch.

Thanks Eric, for launching us on this epic adventure on this auspicious day of the
commencement of the first annual Kirschaeffer Olympiad.

Not since the early Roman times of Julius Caesar has an Olympic torch been lit as we are all about to witness. And fitting with the current climate crisis, drought, and insidious fire season upon which we now find ourselves, no flame will be used on today’s torch lighting. Using the 100% pure energy of the sun, Sol, Soleil (point to Soleil), and the magnetic powers of land, water and sky, we will transport solar reflected light to accomplish this magical torch lighting moment.

I now want to introduce Jules, whose official name is coincidentally Julius, to please step forward to accept his mandate to be our official keeper of time and space AND judgments. Jules, do you accept this high honor?

While I set the multi-mirrored chapeau upon your head, I ask you to close your eyes. Are the bearers of light prepared to initiate their solar rays to commence this Olympiad? Our official keeper of time, space, and judgments, Jules, declares: LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!

We didn’t know what to expect about adherence to the schedule. The physical activity was ambitious given there were so many septuagenarians amongst us, and the timing was quite precise. In the end we just decided to let things evolve without judgment or micro- management, a good lesson for a control-freak like Bapa. Jasper and Kim and Alexis and Whitney sauntered in by early afternoon on Saturday and after some extreme feasting on Kim’s amazingly tasty Vietnamese Summer Rolls, we finally got started with the “Tipsy Waiter” competition, wherein contestants spin 10X fast and then attempt to deliver 4 full-to-the-brim cups of water to a pitcher 15’ away without falling. It was a good Olympic ice-breaker, but our crew proved to proficient at dizziness control which evaded the extreme laughter and falling down that a google search had promised us in this popular family reunion game…

With the Tipsy Waiter competition behind us, the Olympiad proceeded to the much anticipated Futbol Match on the SunHawk Pitch, the grass slightly browned from the great drought of 2021. As the teams donned their Futbol boots or prepared their bare feet for battle, the participants began in earnest to press each others’ goals, despite the 105F heat of the day. After two hard fought goals each, due to the extreme heat, it was proposed and agreed that ‘next goal wins’ so that we could proceed to the more refreshing pond competition. At that point Alexis of Troy, snuck down to the Schaeffer goal (where an off-sides violation went unnoticed by the referee, and thus Alexis’s yellow card was averted) and scored, giving the disputed win to Team Kirsch.

Alexis of Troy defends the Kirsch goal as he watches a key cross from Sara to the Duke of Erol (note the ball in air)

The Futbol game now in the history books and sweatingly conscious of the 105F heat, we took the next competitions into the pond; this year debuting the new SunHawk Island to complement the 300’ zipline across the pond and the recycled water slide as well as the lily framed redwood dock. Being that 2021 is the most severe drought in recorded history, we surmised that this might be our last hurrah of the year for water sports. The opening pond competition was the ZipLine – Island – Dock race where the contestants dropped off the zipline into the pond, swam to the island, up the stairs, off the diving board and then swam to the dock for the best time. Extra points were given for ‘antics’ performed on the zipline. Jasper led the ‘antics’ bonus points by carrying an Earth Flag the length of his run. esotERIC’s antics included the symbolic dropping of his green shredded hula skirt in mid Zip straight into the water! In the end, Ashley and Erol ended in a dead heat tie with a 55 second run and mutual 8.63 Olympic scores. Time and Space keeper Jules and his able assistant Bas did a fantastic job keeping score and time for us all! Jasper carrying the Earth Flag for extra ‘antics’ bonus points:

Jules and his able Assistant Bas did a stellar job of keeping score throughout the Olympiad!

After the conclusion of the pond games, with Jules and Bas riding the waterslide and swimming to the dock, it was time for the much anticipated Happy Hour on the Island complete with copious quantities of Guacamole and Margaritas ala Bapa. Olympians, both medalists straight from the podium, and mourning losers, swam to the island while others canoed out with the libations and utensils for the culmination of Day One festivities. As was the plan, after several margaritas and bellies full of guacamole and chips, inhibitions were loosened and the ‘Chicken Channeling’ contestants prepared to do their best fowl channeling, after months of intensive training at a chicken farm in Mexico punctuated by some brutal cock fights. Kim surprised us all with her rendition of a soulful hen doing her motherly song. Jasper, too, astounded us with his chicken walk all the way across the dock, utilizing the diving board as a clever prop. In the end, Kim was awarded a 9.13 score from the judges and walked away with the gold, with Jasper taking the silver, and Sara the bronze medal. Kim and Jasper celebrating their medals in the Chicken Channeling contest where they received Gold and Silver respectively!

esotERIC and Grantzine dreaming of gold for Day 2 of the Olympiad with Kim of the ‘Jim’ couple while Sara and Master Bas look on.

Day two of the Olympiad kicked off with the Duke of Erol (44 years) defending his tennis title against esotERIC (71 years). The highly favored Duke was narrowly defeated 3 games to 2 as onlookers Jules and Bas looked on while cheering their father. esotERIC walked away with his first gold for the Kirsch squad. The official tennis courts for the 2021 Olympiad were generously provided by Roger Peng of Beijing.

One of Sunday’s highlights were the Table Tennis championships in which underdog Bapa pounded the Duke of Erol to a 2-0 trouncing. But before claiming the gold, the Duke was not yet ready to relinquish his title and battled back to a 2-2 tie, with the championship match delayed until the 2022 games. Below Bapa
and Alexis of Troy warm up the table.

For distraction from the highly competitive events on Day Two, the participants from both sides: Kirsch and Schaeffer observed a unique phenomenon of nature occurring before their very eyes in the pond; wherein a beautiful Garter Snake proceeded to capture and devour a Bullfrog amongst the beautiful pond lilies. All watched in rapture as said snake swallowed whole the frog and proceeded to digest it down the length of its slithering body.

Members of both Kirsch and Schaeffer squads watch enraptured as nature takes its course with the Snake swallowing.

End of Day One evening relaxation as participants of both teams let off steam from the intense competition.

Mama Ashley nurtures young Soleil Miel as Jasper (of the ‘Jim’ couple, esotERIC and Grantzy look on.

esotERIC demonstrating his gold metal competitive shorts which earned him the nickname “David” with his unmatched creative Michelangelo imitation. These same shorts, unbeknownst to most were the foundation underneath his opening ceremony garb, and amazingly were preserved from his Green River canoe trip taken with the opposing Schaeffer team in 2007.

Not to be outdone by esotERIC’s David shorts, Bapa dons his traditional ‘monokini’ for the awards ceremony on the dock, despite his septuagenarian physique, earning an honorary bronze metal for bravery.

In the ‘Intra Species’ bonding competition, Dragon Lady Sara is able to establish a cosmic connection with a Dragon Fly which binds to her hand for over thirty minutes bringing home one more gold medal for Team Schaeffer.

Kim, of the “Jim” (aka Kasper) couple performs culinary magic with the creation of ‘Vietnamese Summer Rolls’ to tantalize the competitors before the start of the games on Day One.

Jules leads a work party to prune back the water lilies for the zipline competition using his stand up paddle board while esotERIC provides the canoe shuttle and Bapa assists.

All in all, the 2021 first Annual Kirschaeffer Olympiad was a glorious event that surpassed the expectations on nearly all participants. At the low key parking lot Closing Ceremony the future of the Olympiad was discussed in earnest. It was decided to have a rematch in either 2022 or 2023 depending upon the severity of the climate crisis and drought as there was no certainty the pond would fill over the Winter. Several new games were discussed and it was decided to replace the ‘Tipsy Waiter’ event with the ‘Fly on the Wall’ event, wherein names are drawn from a hat and the name drawn will be the ‘fly’ as others in the group talk about said person honestly and the ‘fly’ hears exactly what the others think of her/him. Onward to the 2nd Olympiad! Let the Games Continue! May the Kirschaeffer connection continue on forever!


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