Watching people try to get into (or out of) their campsites is a popular spectator sport at RV parks across America. Here are the rules of the game, as far as we can tell:

  • Anyone pulling into or out of a campsite is automatically a player, whether they want to be or not.
  • Spectators, sometimes just one or sometimes a half dozen, can watch from anywhere. It is perfectly acceptable to stop whatever you are doing and pull up a chair, or to just stand in the middle of the road and gawk. Spectators may also participate directly by offering advice and assistance.
  • The driver is the first string and never sits the bench. Other team members include the ground guides and cheerleaders (also known as family members). Some campgrounds have ground guides on staff who will volunteer to assist, but most spectators agree that this takes all of the fun out of the game.
  • Some drivers choose to go rogue and refuse any outside help. These drivers are clearly confident of their skills, but can be among the most fun to watch.
  • Play starts immediately when the driver puts the tow vehicle in reverse. There is no time limit. Play can last anywhere from five minutes to half an hour. The clock stops when the rig is unhitched and all jacks are lowered. At this point, the driver is free to grab a beer, pull up a chair, and become a spectator himself.
  • Extra points are awarded for the number of times the driver must shift from reverse to drive and to reverse again, pulling backward and forward as necessary. This is when the most nail-biting action occurs, and the driver can often be seen scratching his head and mouthing curse words as he strategizes.
  • The bigger the rig, the more exciting the action (this works in favor of Team Childs, and we feel our chances are high of becoming a fan favorite).
  • Obstacles which must be overcome include but are not limited to trees, fire pits, flower beds, picnic tables, your neighbor’s truck.
  • Fouls can only be committed by ground guides, and are called by the driver.
  • Timeouts consist of a meeting at the driver’s side window between the driver and the ground guide(s), and occur when a ground guide makes a giant X out of his or her arms, or waves frantically, or yells “STOP!”
  • Final points are awarded when it is time to hook up and move on to the next campground. This part of the game is (usually) quicker and consists of the spectators and ground guides, all with hands on their hips, watching the driver try to line up the hitch in the back of the giant truck with the hitch on the tongue of the giant rig. This usually takes anywhere between one and three attempts.
  • Once play ends, it’s tradition for spectators to give the driver a thumbs up, or maybe even a silent hand clap, as he humbly drives by them toward the exit.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Funnies: The spectator sport

    1. Wow! If you find Beyond the Gilded Cage on FB, you can send me a private message there. Would love to catch up!

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