Somewhere deep in the Italian countryside, a group of adults lie in wait, preparing for the Hide-And-Seek World Championship.
According to Quartz, the event, which I assumed was not real, is taking place this year in the beautiful and abandoned town of Consonno in Northern Italy, nestled in the foothills of the Alps. The town was built in 1968 by one Count Mario Bagno, who intended to develop it and make it the Las Vegas of Italy. Sadly, those plans never came to fruition and the town has been abandoned ever since. And now, over the course of two days, 64 teams of five members will descend upon its fields and play competitive hide and seek, like something out of a horror movie.
Here are the rules.
The teams are divided in four groups, and one person per group hides while a “neutral searching team” counts 60 seconds. Participants then have 10 minutes to jump out of their hiding spot and hit a target in the middle of the playing field, without being found or caught by the searching team. The competition continues for two full days, until a winner is declared.
I’ve read that description three times in the course of writing this and am still struggling to conceptualize this as anything other than this scene from The Hunger Games that made me choke on my Cherry Coke.
This looks like a much more active game of hide and seek than anyone is used to and requires real Gs to move in silence, like lasagna. Ten minutes to pop up out of the hiding spot that you found, hit some bullshit target and then scamper back to duck blind you made out of dried grass and Realtree camo doesn’t seem like enough time.
Upon further examination of the photos on their Facebook page, I realize that my expectations for what constitutes an appropriate hiding spot are way too high.
My dude, respectfully, what are you doing? Hiding behind a broken cot leftover from the Great War doesn’t look like “hiding” to me. If the rules are that you have to hit the target and return to your spot without getting caught, are we operating under the presumption that the people doing the seeking are going to ignore the fact that they can totally see you hiding behind that tree?
The championships have been going on every year since 2010 and have been popular enough to merit consideration for the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo, so I guess they’re really on to something. The championships take place September 3-4, so you have one full calendar year to prepare.