Monday, January 18, 2010

Running of the hats

You've seen it. Remember?
You were standing on the corner, minding your own business, when all of a sudden a black hat sails by you, tumbling softly in the wind. Two seconds later, a bochur with an arm on his head and a tear in his eye is chasing after it, his eyes growing wider and wider with every bounce and tumble his AWOL hat makes. You watch with mixed emotions as the hat lands with a perfect dismount- right into the only murky puddle on the street.
It's The Running of the Hats.

Originating in Brooklyn out of necessity, it has become a sport of an almost cult-like obsession, replete with a six day festival in Pamplona, Spain, a book club, and an amusement park: ROTH World. Of course, the sport has incited anger in some, causing the formation of MAROTHAN (Mothers Against Running of the Hats and Narishkeitin).

The Pamplona ROTH festival drew critical media attention two years ago, when two men were killed. City officials in Pamplona, in a press conference, explained that the unfortunate mishap was a result of the 'No Yarmulka' rule. If only they had kept their heads covered with at least an elbow, they would not have gotten hurt.

Here in Brooklyn, some avid ROTH fans can be seen lurking on corners, waiting for the real Running of the Hats to occur, as opposed to the fake Runs in Spain or Czechoslovakia, for example.

"This is where it all began," one ROTH'er told us, "on the streets!"