Leisure sport enthusiasts will have the chance on Saturday, April 23, to be king of cornhole, dominator of disc golf or the beast of bocce ball. Hall Fletcher Elementary will transform its space into the West Asheville Leisure Olympics on Saturday, April 23. WALO (pronounced “way low”) is open to the public as a fundraiser for the school and offers you a chance to solidify your presumed dominance in the competitive field of leisure sports.
The event is the brainchild of Chris Bickhart, a member of Hall Fletcher’s Parent Teacher Organization, father of two students and a self-professed leisure-sport enthusiast who loves any game you can play without breaking a sweat. “The great thing about yard games is that anyone can play them. They are all-inclusive and you don’t have to be a star athlete to win. They are relaxing, almost meditative and more conducive to hanging out and conversing with friends.”
Bickhart says for those looking to take home the title, there will be two divisions, “The amateur division is for someone who wants to compete but may be intimidated by more experienced players. The pro division is for those who want stiffer competition in a sport they may have been playing for years in their own backyard.” Both divisions will have two rounds leading to an eight-player, bracket-style finale. Events will be self-officiated with the honor code being the law of the land, Bickhart says. He notes rule sticklers need to remember the event is dubbed WALO for a reason. Self-officiating shouldn’t be an issue, he adds. “We are relying on the integrity of our players and know that a contender’s deceitful actions will lay heavily on their guilt-ridden conscience. The rulings of the three sports are pretty cut and dry though, and leave little room for debate. It’s either in or out, closer or not.”
The pro division costs $13 to enter, and winners will score a $25 gift certificate from Black Dome Sports.
And if you’re inclined to keep your leisure sports on the down low, there will be a number of free, noncompetitive games for kicks and giggles, such as soft-tip lawn darts, washers, badminton, table shuffleboard, croquet, kan jam, kubb and more.
Ultimately Bickhart says it’s about meeting neighbors and raising some money for the school. “I want this to be an event for community building, network enhancing, stress releasing, sportsmanship promoting and esteem boosting.”
In the spirit of community building, there will also be a pizza pot luck organized by Rachel Lubitz, director of the FEAST garden program at Hall Fletcher. The pizza is free, but organizers are asking that participants bring a topping, cheese, sauce or dough for the wood-fired pizza oven. And for desert, The Hop will be on hand selling ice cream.
There will also be live music featuring the Hall Fletcher students providing the opening ceremony’s music, after which the Modern Strangers will be on hand to provide a leisurely soundtrack to the games.
The West Asheville Leisure Olympics takes place Saturday, April 23 from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Entry fee for the pro division is $13; all other games are free. Hall Fletcher Elementary school is located at 60 Ridgelawn Road. For more information and to register, visit avl.mx/2hh