It's an old American...proverb (Legend? Myth? Thought bubble floating over Snoopy's upturned nose as he stretches ponderously across his red-roofed house?) It's an old American folktale that the first car race ever, in the whole, glorious history of car racing, was held roughly five minutes after the second car was made. This is just a fun-ish way of saying that we are a proud country, one full of bigger horses and larger bank accounts. It should be no shock to anyone how popular competitive sports have gotten. Whether in the Roman Colosseum or at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, we worship competitors like idols. More people will watch this year’s Super Bowl than any other event in television history. It’s a train that isn't slowing down.
Now, these fevered competitions don't take place solely in multi-billion dollar stadiums or carefully manicured fairways. No, for some the battle song of victory is only heard in the stillness of nature. In the documentary film Skips Stones for Fudge, the battleground is on the shores of lakes, rivers and reservoirs all over the world, and the challengers battle in the fierce competition that is, wait for it, stone skipping. It's awesome. The feature, which was written and directed by Ryan Seitz, follows a group of men who have reached the peak of this proverbial mountain, and dives into the good natured insanity that apparently only a smooth flat rock can induce.
The film is expertly crafted, with the camera capturing some truly beautiful moments of our new friends making their bones in Mother Nature's arenas. It's quickly paced and features enough flair to keep your eyes glued to the screen, which may seem like quite the task for some, given the subject matter. At times, it's almost filmed like a comedy. And that's not a shot taken at the colorful people who reside in this world of stone skipping, it's that a world of stone skipping competitions even exists is hilarious. It's like giving out medals for eating waffles or watching The Bachelor. It can be taxing when the stakes get high enough, but the fact that it ever gets to that point left me literally laughing out loud.
I loved it. It left me in a happy place, a drastic change from the way most sports-themed events leave me. Being a Dallas sports fan these days usually leaves me sobbing in the shower, one step away from the ledge, waiting for a sweet release from it all. But not here. Not in the world of stone skipping. There's just something refreshing in knowing that something so simple can bring some people so much joy. You can feel it through the screen and, if it doesn't necessarily make you want to jump up and cheer, it should at least make you yearn for the woods, for a bright, shimmering lake and for a soft smooth stone to skip.