Tug of war at Spa Creek starts with battle of hype


November 01, 1999|By Douglas Lamborne | Douglas Lamborne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WHEN LAST we checked, a tug of war requires people pulling at both ends. That appears to be the case in Tug-of-War II, although the hype seems to be one-sided.

At noon Saturday, dragging a 1,700-foot rope stretched across Spa Creek, the Maritime Republic of Eastport will line up against Annapolis.

Last year, the MRE won two of three tugs, earning bragging rights and the license to make a big fuss over itself.

"It's the MRE this, the MRE that," complained Wayne Tolson, the community affairs vice president for the Annapolis Jaycees, the folks holding the city's end of the rope. "Why, out here in Arnold I've got friends who are signing up for Eastport."

Residency rules are a bit opaque, apparently. But it should be remembered that the proceeds go to charity.

Last year, Eastport produced a power lifter to anchor its all-male line, a fellow built like a Volkswagen. That line and the co-ed team won; Annapolis captured the women's heat.

Tolson refused to be specific about what the Jaycees have planned this time around. "Let me say this: We've taken into account that they're going to have big guys on their side. I'll leave it at that."

He said he was flabbergasted that anyone would be interested in the Annapolis side of the story. "The MRE is the hottest, trendiest thing in Annapolis," he said. "They're the ones who get all the hype, all the media. They call me the `Minister of Those People,' as though we were sort of incidental."

The MRE was established almost two years ago to help businesses in the neighborhood cope with the closing of the Spa Creek Bridge for repairs. It has since taken on tax-exempt status as a fund-raiser for charity.

Tolson confessed he was conflicted by the event. "I was born and raised in Eastport; my heart is with Eastport. I'm even rooting for Eastport," he said, "to a point."

The program will include eight tugs, three between the MRE and Annapolis. One will be between midshipmen from the Naval Academy and four between various restaurants and fitness clubs. The rope will be stretched from City Dock in Annapolis to Second Street in Eastport, and those areas offer the best viewing spots.

The Jaycees' charities are the Broadneck Family Youth Center, Special Olympics, Anne Arundel County's Emergency Baby Pantry, the YWCA's Women's Abuse Center in Arnold and the Navy Emergency Relief Fund.

Tolson said his side was still looking for tuggers. Information: 410-224-1778.

`Messiah' tickets sell fast

We know of one poor sap who inquired last year about tickets to the Naval Academy's performance of Handel's "Messiah" a month before the concert. Sold out.

"A good part of the reserve seats were sold out in the first three hours," said Stephanie Woodall, music department coordinator. "And most of the rest of them were gone in the first week."

This year's concerts will be at 8 p.m. Dec. 11 and 2: 30 p.m. Dec. 12. Performers include a chorus of 225 from the academy's Glee Club and Hood College, members of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra and soloists. It's a grand presentation, conducted by John Barry Talley.

Tickets, about 4,000 of them, will go on sale this morning. There will be a long line in front of Ricketts Hall before the ticket office opens at 9 a.m.

See you there.

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