Nimbin. Saturday, 12.55pm
Punctuality isn’t big with the NSW Police team.
The team was supposed to be here, at Sativa Stadium, at noon, but didn’t show up for nearly an hour.
The Police team’s opponent, Nimbin’s Polite team, was here on time, which is pretty remarkable for a team that believes time is mutable, man, and prefers bangles to watches.
The Polite team mulled about at the appointed time waiting for their Tug of Peace rivals to appear. Then they started drifting off; some to their assigned volunteering duties around the MardiGrass festival, some to watch the Bong Throw and Yell final, others to follow a leaf that a mild easterly was carrying towards the creek.
Was it a Police tactic, this being late knowing the Polite team would disperse? It may well have been, but such premeditated tardiness runs against the spirit of the Hemp Olympix and has not disposed me kindly towards the Police team.
The rules of the Hemp Olympix as laid out in Hemp Olympix: Rules and Etiquette are not there to be manipulated for advantage. The Hemp Olympix is not state law. It’s aspirational and rational. It doesn’t condemn a helpful plant while condoning possible contamination of water tables.
Hemp Olympix officials (like myself) are not at the beck and call of fossil fuel industries, retail CEOs, big banks or shooter groups.
The Hemp Olympix rises above the poison of corporatocracy and the delusion of democracy to give us rules and etiquette designed to further humanity: ‘Sport and money do not belong together’. ‘A plant can’t be wrong.’ ‘Love is a drug too.’ ‘Be on time.’
Hemp Olympix: Rules and Etiquette not only describes the rules for the three major disciplines (Bong Throw and Yell, Joint Rolling, and Iron Grower Person Event), it is also a manual for living. Between its covers is a moral wisdom equal to that of Confucius’s or Superman’s – a wisdom sadly lacking in our parliaments today.
The official Tug of Peace hemp rope lies stretched out on the ground in front of me. To my left is the Police team (finally arrived), to my right, the Polite (sort of reassembled).
‘Eight a side,’ I say sternly to the Polite team. There seems to be some problem with numbers.
I refer the Polite team to the relevant section in Hemp Olympics: Rules and Etiquette pertaining to the Tug of Peace, where it lists the numbers between one and ten in order. I also remind the team that six-and-a-half is not a number.
Despite their possible ethical breach of the rules, there are a couple of things about the Police team I admire.
Firstly, they always attend MardiGrass. They make the effort. Sure, they’re not alone in doing that. Athletes come from all over the world to participate in the Hemp Olympix. But even though the Police only participate in the one event, they turn up in numbers every year.
Secondly, they put a lot of effort into the team costume. Half Rambo, half Village People, the Police team costume is a standout. Perhaps only the Gunja Faeries can compete with the Police costumewise. The Gunja Faeries don’t wear guns of course, but one year I was quite taken by a Gunja Faerie who accessorised with a most gorgeous pair of green velvet handcuffs.
I hold the rope at the official centre mark. The crowd quietens.
‘Teams, rope up!’
The teams grab the rope.
‘Hold. Hold,’ I say as I feel the rope strain.
One of the Polite team is facing the wrong way. After some discussion, he turns around.
The time has come. Ah, the refreshingly ridiculous sanity of the Hemp Olympix.
‘Tug away,’ I yell and feel the rope snap taut.