Wholesome hedonism

By Ms. Beak

Family-values crowd looks the other way when OTL hits the beach

In a few days thousands of drunks with a penchant for dick jokes will descend on Mission Bay to participate in what remains the world's largest "over-the-line" tournament. OTL is all-San Diego, a fun-filled event that hasn't caught on in other parts of the world, despite the heavy involvement of strippers.

Over-the-line is a game best played in sand, which gives San Diego a geographic advantage in developing the sport. By all accounts, creating the essence of OTL also requires thousands of staggering drunks and women in their 40s eager to flash their breasts.

This also makes OTL a natural fit for San Diego, where there is a strong contingent of what is known as the Ice Cooler Set. Among the Ice Cooler Set, OTL is an annual ritual, a sacred event that has remained relatively untouched by modern political correctness and scientific advances in body deodorant.

For the Ice Cooler Set, OTL is the official kick-off to summer and one of San Diego's sacred milestones. Memorial Day weekend is just sort of a warm-up lap. The County Fair, where there are many swell pigs and goats on display, is kind of a slow jog to the start line.

The first arrest for assault at OTL is the real signal that summer is about to kick the amp up to 11.

The game, a form of softball, fits in well with the Ice Cooler Set, in that it requires only moderate mobility. To most of the participants and the vast majority of guys walking around with digital cameras, the sport is considered somewhat incidental to the OTL ambiance, the mass of humanity that converges to share their thoughts and ideals over the course of two weekends.

Except for a handful of fading jocks and high school coaches who take the game very, very seriously, OTL is basically a Jimmy Buffet concert with more booze and less fashion sense. At its essence, it is little more than several thousand barely clothed people hanging out on the beach and drinking heavily, while hundreds of frat boys wander around shouting, "Show me your tits!"

Everyone likes to say the names of the teams are the real entertainment of the tournament, evidenced by the many hours of giggling disc jockey air time. It also means you can get the spirit of this year's OTL-set to begin July 12-without getting stale Bud spilled on you by a bloated, 39-year-old frat boy with a pink-red beer. You'd also get to miss out on the joy of swapping driving tips on Mission Bay Drive with the guy who just puked into his beer cooler.

Here are a few typical examples of team names from past years, which will put you in a gut-busting OTL-kinda mood: Tongue N Busch; Eat The Peanuts Out of My Shit; and, from the gals, Put Your Trojan On & Stay Awhile.

Another ritual of the sport is the Ms. Emerson contest, a beauty contest among women uniquely interested in participating in a bikini contest for a few thousands sexed-up softball fanatics. As part of its image campaign, to demonstrate that OTL isn't just a sport of misogynistic beer hall louts, Ms. Emerson is treated with the utmost respect and decorum, and is only occasionally called upon to show her tits.

These days the organizer of the event, the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, which raises lots of money for charity, likes to emphasize that the tournament is more than "beer, babes and bats on the beach."

But no one spends an hour in Mission Bay traffic on a Sunday morning just to donate to OMBAC. No matter how much OMBAC tries to portray OTL as just a tad more rowdy than $2 church bingo night, OTL is a kegger with softball bats, a freak event that has evolved into a respected San Diego institution.

Normally, this type of unrestricted hedonism would be roundly condemned by all supporters of righteous values and wholesome ideals. But OTL, genital warts and all, is embraced by the staid and pious powers that be.

There is no moral outrage or powerful condemnations from our city fathers and assorted preachers, who apparently are fairly selective about when and where they choose to battle Satan. Certainly there is no one on the City Council prepared to battle for our immortal souls on the beaches of Fiesta Island-not when 20,000 liquored-up taxpayers and churchgoers are expecting a performance by the girls from Déjà Vu.

Despite all sorts of wicked activities and instances of reprehensible behavior-and that's just in the line for the port-a-potty-OTL is not only accepted, it's revered.

Each year, the Union-Tribune, showing its racy side, runs mighty funny columns and features in tribute to the event, using asterisks to disguise the bad words, and God-fearing corporations take a few dollars out of the fund for benevolent nuns and instead use it to sponsor OTL teams with wacky names, preferably involving the word "dildo."

Mixing both charity and frequent nudity, OTL is the perfect San Diego corporate event, much easier to support than those icky homeless people. It's a uniting icon of summer, bringing together everyone from speed freak auto mechanics to coke-fiend corporate attorneys for two weekends of wholesome good times, San Diego's gift to both sport and culture.