When a good friend mentioned that I should get involved with Hashing, or at least write about it on my blog, I was at first hesitant.
For starters, in grade school, the D.A.R.E. Program had warned my class that this would land us in jail or out on the streets.
But after learning that neither the Grateful Dead nor Cheech & Chong had anything to do with Hashing, I was a little more open to the idea.
Besides, I have always loved homefries and chocolate-chip pancakes. Maybe Hashing was something I should be writing about?
However, after some extensive investigative research, i.e., finding my Google Bookmark, I came to learn that Hashing had nothing to do with illegal substances or, sadly, food.
It’s about beer.
Oh, and running, too.
Hashing, I came to find, is the graceful art of drinking beer and running, though generally not at the same time.
Although Hashing can get a little involved, the general idea is that a group of Hashers, known as the Pack or Hounds, follow a trail laid by a lead Hasher, the Hare. The Pack/Hounds follow the Hare, often through water, mud and forest, until the final Hash destination. The reward for completing a Hash? You Guinnessed it.
There are Hashing events and communities all over the world. Take, for example, the tightly knit community in Guam.
And, as it turns out, there is a Hashing community right here in Gainesville.
Last week I sat down with one of Gainesville’s most active hashers, Jason Monsorno, over a glass of … milk … and discussed Hashing here in Gainesville.
Monsorno, a 24-year-old UF graduate student, is a member of the Gainesville Area Thirsty Runners (GATR), Gainesville’s own Hashing “kennel,” or group, and one of 20 or so kennels throughout Florida.
“You are probably 45-minutes away from a Hash, and if you aren’t, that’s how they start,” Monsorno said.
At its most basic, Hashing is a social activity – a “drinking club with a running problem.”
“It’s all kind of one big fraternity,” Monsorno said of the camaraderie among Hashers.
Like fraternities, Hashing groups have ceremonies, one of which is the presentation of Hashing nicknames, or Hashnames.
Monsorno’s GATR Hashname – Moulin Spooge – which he said (and I am quite happy believing) stems from another hobby of his: burlesque photography.
A couple of other Hashnames I came across during my Hashvestigations:
- Ranger Dufus White Boy
- Why Would Jesus Hold My Poo?
- Grande Oregano Guano
and my personal favorite:
- Harvey Hinkler Hamster Humper
One of the neatest things about Hashing, in my opinion, is the lack of pretension in the community.
Although the group’s activities revolve around running and drinking, Monsorno maintains that you don’t need to be good at, or even able to do either to participate. (“Not everyone is Gung-ho about drinking.”)
And your first time Hashing, at least here in Gainesville, is free.
To get involved with Hashing here in the ‘Ville, check out the GATR calendar for Hash dates and events. Other than that, all that’s required is a friendly attitude (and 21 years of life experience).
“To get involved, you just show up,” Monsorno said. “It’s really as simple as that.”