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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Steamboat Invitational

I ambled over to our group’s iPad with the intention of dropping another “Yak of the Week”, not unlike Travis Scott dropping the unquestioned album of 2018, “ASTROWORLD”, but I don’t foresee that happening. I’m suffering from writer’s block right now, not because I’m struggling to think of things to write, but because there’s so much to write about. In the mere five or so days that the Alpha Dragons have been in the village of Bhalamchour, we have witnessed a buffalo sacrifice (in the name of Dasai, of course), gawked at the Himalayas, and commenced the “Steamboat Invitational” tournament in honor of our fallen compatriot Michael Schlerbaum. In this Yak, I will attempt to elucidate aspects of the tournament for the 10 or so people that could end up reading this post.

Created by Tournament Directors Sam Korman, Xavi Segel, and I, the Steamboat Invitational is an unnecessarily serious, organized, and competitive 1v1 Egyptian Rat Slap tournament. 12 out of our 15 members are competitors. Heinous betting, rigorous training, and intense mind games have all been present in the quest for the lucrative 1600-rupee prize. The current favorite is the young, up-and-coming maverick from Seattle, John Hubbard, whose quick slaps, “tactical burns” and fearless play led to his recent title, the 2018 Bandipur Classic. Another relevant figure is 2-seed Jamie Hickling, the cocky, anti-establishment, hotheaded competitor from Tennessee who finished as a finalist in our most recent competition. Spenser Nuzzo is a tentative 4-seed in the Steamboat Invitational after his disappointing loss to current 5-seed Casey Carroll in which he claims he “did not try”. By far the most talented player in the bracket, we will have to wait and see if Nuzzo decides to put any effort in— he is known for his laziness and lethargy under the bright lights. There are other players obviously, but I do not have the time or patience to describe each and every one of them.

While an outsider may look at this group’s recent antics and conclude that we’ve descended into a psychotic, cult-like state, I think that our commitment to a meaningless card game reflects the way in which our group has come together. Only month ago we were all complete strangers, and now we are painfully familiar with everyone’s poop schedule. Now unquestionably in the “performing” stage of group dynamics, I am excited to see what the Alpha Dragons will achieve on trek and for the remainder of this course.