Feel Game? 


If, on the periphery of your awareness, you've heard the term "hash" referring to something other than cheap chow or high-priced hemp but didn't quite catch the details, here they are: around Orlando and around the world, a hash is -- well, not a race, exactly. Call it a challenge, of sorts, partaken of originally by runners, with bicyclists now enjoying their own form of the sport. Actually, they are called hash house harriers, and theirs is not a complex premise.;;Hashing is a human tracking sport based on a hares-and-hounds game: the hare (the huntee) lays a trail of flour over a course that he or she selects. The harriers (the hunters) set out to follow that trail to its end, where ale and alimentary goodies are fallen upon by all. The thrill is in the chase.;;The typical hash is three to five miles through cities, countryside, suburbs or malls. No topography is verboten, and the participants have been lovingly described as the lunatic fringe of their sport.;;Adults from all ages, backgrounds and ability levels generally make up "hash houses," arguably the most social of sports. Some participants are marathon bicyclists or runners, others bring up the rear at a near stroll or at a Sunday pedal-pace. Speed isn't the thing, though, as there is no winning. Too, false markers are part of the fun and are the great equalizer of the event.;;To get up to speed on all things hash takes a bit of history. Flash back: 1938, Kuala Limpur, the Selangor Club Chambers -- dubbed the "Hash House" for its dull food by the British Civil Servants and businessman who lived and took meals there. Although there is some disagreement as to the exact year (there'd been earlier hashing clubs elsewhere in Malaysia) there's no argument that the sport's founding fathers were Brits, off in the Colonies, desperate to offset boredom and bellyaching about bad food and brew.;;Originally, harriers chased a paper trail, and their legendary routes continue to inspire: one nearly drowned in quicksand, another had to swim across a mining pool in order to get home after being lost, and yet another group ran into a stream where bathed some unsuspecting Malay maidens who, understandably, screamed. Their menfolks came charging to the rescue with flashing, unsheathed parangs, whereupon the errant hashmen broke land speed records clearing the scene.;;Where as Orlando's bike hashers (the Biko Psychos) or run hashers (The Originals) can't promise naked Malay maidens or men, they can promise good times. Most local hashes are week-end events and tend to be flexible, so check the Orlando Area Hash Hotline for dates (363-4589). Then, it's "on-on!" -- hash jargon for you've found the way.

More by Dee Rivers

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