In a beautiful vineyard, after a very fun trail, a charmingly shitfaced RA grimaced the other way as he sprayed some insecticide into a cloud of bees hovering over a barrel of grapes we would soon be stomping, while he boomed some tripe about virgins having to pay their dues. I was sold.
The most amazing thing about that experience for me was the trust and camaraderie that permeated the event. No one needed to keep an eye out worrying about when someone would run off with their back-pack. Topics of conversation ranged from the mundane to the edgy with a fluid comfort that I had not seen in a while. Old hands exchanged an easy banter while making an effort to be inclusive of visitors and new arrivals. It just felt like community.
There's no question that hashing is not for everyone. The encouraged silliness can easily grate on people, and there is a carefully orchestrated level of dropping inhibitions through drinking, song, silliness, and shared experience, that helps hashers open up, while it can definitely be off-putting to those who depend on a level of straight-laced propriety to feel safe.
In the interest of keeping our kennel thriving, we just ran a survey of the SHHH membership to see what it is about hashing that people really like, and how we can improve our events programming. Admittedly, ours is a small kennel; six of the twelve jobs that make a hash run are done by a single person at this point, so the ability to organize anything with a level of complexity is limited, but we try. The survey was also run during the lowest part of the season, when many local hashers are away, so that may introduce some bias, as it collected answers from a very small sample of mostly die-hard hashers. The results are interesting, though. It seems I am not alone in what I value.
Without further preamble ramble, here's how hashers responded:
|Word of mouth, our Facebook group, and direct mail seem to carry the day, hinting at the antediluvian demographic skew of our regular membership. Of course, keep in mind that Facebook and direct mail were the two ways the poll was announced...|
|Everyone loves a field-trip. Not everyone can manage one. No one likes to be left behind. Duly noted.|
What our dedicated respondents seem to be saying is pretty clear: the hash is, overwhelmingly, a social event abut enjoying some time with like-minded people. Inclusiveness and variety in the activities seem to be valued as well. Beer and the trail, along with the circle, are more polarizing, but, of course, they are the very heart of the Hash. Good: proper hash behavior.
-Your friendly local GM,