A straightforward pitch.
During my sophomore year of high school our locker rooms were undergoing renovation, which meant that our phys-ed curriculum was limited to activities that could be performed in street clothes and without working up a sweat. That year we competed at a leisurely pace in archery, croquet and bocce. As enjoyable as those games were, the true revelation was uncovered in the pits - the rustically simple horseshoe pits.
It's probably not common (or even healthy) for 16-year-olds to consider their mortality so intently, but as I tossed ringer after ringer one spring day, my fears of growing old fell away. For - with all apologies to our friends in North Beach - horseshoes is the ultimate old man game. The idea of finding an enjoyable pastime that could be played well into my stooping days was oddly liberating.
Unlike the mental disorder that accompanies the game of golf, or the meteorology obsession that comes with being a skier, horseshoes has an almost meditative level of simplicity and speaks to the thriftiness of my New England roots. No wonder that the avatar of Yankeeness, George H.W. Bush, was such an acolyte of the sport.
Not that the game is the exclusive province of one region. Horseshoes is arguably the most democratic of sports. Any time that "close" is "good enough" in a game, it's impossible for elitism to take root. And in the West, where our lawns are just waiting to be reclaimed by the desert, a horseshoe pit is "close enough" to landscaping.
While it's a game of skill, it often feels like a game of chance, and it's impossible not to consider luck when the game is named for a talisman. If you're in need of some good fortune in your life, enter our Bit of Luck Contest on Facebook. Our fans will vote on essays and the winning entry will receive a Bit of Luck Horseshoe Necklace. To celebrate our first contest we're giving everyone 10% off every item in our store. Just enter the code LUCKY at checkout.