Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Swiss Club

A few thoughts come to mind when I hear the word Swiss. These thoughts include: chocolate, the Alps, yodeling, army knives, neutrality, and delicious holey cheese. These thoughts alone should have made me more curious about this far off land. I mean the idea of cheese, chocolate, and knives (that can scale a fish, remove a splinter, open a bottle, and has a tooth pick to get the left over cheese out of my teeth) should have prompted me to book the next flight to Switzerland. Since I have moved to Ripon, my thoughts about the Swiss have expanded. Along with my previous list of all things Swiss, I must add the city of Ripon.

I know this is confusing, as my normal thought pattern is Ripon = all things Dutch, however there is a small plot of land in this almond stuffed town that is solely dedicated to all things Swiss.

The Swiss Club has always been synonymous with mystery for myself. When I was a young child, I assumed the building was part of the Red Cross. I should have thought harder about that one, as the Swiss flag’s cross is actually white surrounded with red. My fascination with the Swiss Club grew, when Danny mentioned he had heard a rumor about some of the activities that take place inside the secretive Swiss club. Since moving to Ripon and purchasing a home near the Swiss club, I am reminded almost daily of its mysteries. This has set up the perfect opportunity for me to write an investigative blog.

As I usually do for my investigations, I was going to go on a lovely little bike ride to closely inspect the Swiss Club surroundings, however the weather is not permitting it. This is okay because my brain is a steal trap, full of Omega 3s and detailed pictures of the Swiss Club.

The Swiss Club is partially surrounded by a tall cement block wall. The other gated section is a tall chain link fence. It probably has barbed wire atop of it to keep out all those non Swiss Riponites. Although, my steal trap might be failing me with this image. Behind all these cautionary walls are tall evergreen trees, so that even a 5 foot 5 girl standing atop of her bike pedals cannot see the Swiss happenings. Fortunately, there is an iron gate with spaces wide enough to see through. The iron gate has a Swiss flag on it, as well as an American flag. The American flag is probably for show, to avoid any questions of patriotism. The actual Swiss Club building looks exactly like one would imagine a Swiss Club to look like. It’s a white building with faux dark wood shutters outside each window. The windows also have Swiss flower boxes under each of them. There is a large parking lot in front of the building, some of it is paved the other part is dirt. On Friday and Saturday nights the parking lot is always full of Swiss vehicles. There is a house on the Swiss grounds where either the groundskeeper or president of the Swiss Club resides. Behind the building is where all of the outdoor Swiss action takes place. There is a bbq pit, a playground for the little Swissys, and a cedar pit surrounded with bleachers. I have never been inside the Swiss Club, as I am not Swiss and have not been invited by a Swiss , but I imagine it has a dance/dining hall with wood paneling everywhere and pictures of the old country. There is likely an indoor cedar pit as well.

My possibly Swiss husband has heard that Swiss wrestling takes place inside/outside these walls. Of course Danny is interested in all things wrestling, so whenever he is talking to someone who has dared to enter the club, he asks about the wrestling. Our real estate agent, Bob, happens to be Swiss. I mean super Swiss… his sister…or maybe sister in law…lives in the old country. Naturally Bob is an active Swiss club member. When he was trying to sell us a house he must of caught on to our interest in the Swiss happenings, as he offered a few bits of top secret Swiss information in exchange for commission.

Swiss wrestling may or may not be, exactly what you imagined. Bob said whenever an event takes place there is wrestling, dancing, eating, and “being silly.” “Silly,” was Bob’s semi professional way of saying drinking. Swiss wrestling typically involves old Swiss men wearing potato sack looking underwear outside their clothes with either suspenders or a belt somehow attached to the underwear. The wrestlers use the belts/suspenders to pin their opponent. The wrestling takes place on a soft bed of cedar saw dust. Once someone is pinned, the winner brushes the saw dust off the loser's back after the match.

If you have ever been to a wrestling match, you know how thrilling it can be. I imagine Swiss wrestling blows high school wrestling out of the water. With each grunt and drunken throw, a cloud of saw dust must fill the air. For even more drama, a drunken crowd sways their beer steins back and forth as a fast paced wrestling yodel occurs.

After the dramatic wrestling event, a traditional Swiss dance takes place with more drinking and yodeling. The champion probably gets to sit in a special Swiss chair and all the Swiss ladies flock to him.

Besides the top secret information that Bob offered up, I am unsure of what else happens inside the walls of the Swiss Club. I assume there are meetings about chocolate and cheese. There may be yodeling concerts. There are slide shows presentations on the Alps and neutrality. Of course there are meetings held on what the newest addition should be to the Swiss Army knife. I hear the knife is getting Wi-Fi.

With my investigation I have discovered that Ripon’s Swiss club has a website, in fact they even have a Facebook page. I skimmed the website and found that parts of my investigation could be totally false or totally true, and it may or may not be easier than I think to get into the Swiss club.

Watch this quick video for a taste of Schwingen:



  1. I believe Swiss vehicles would be Volvos.

  2. Jessica, do you think we could have Swiss wrestling in your backyard? Or would it no longer be Swiss?

  3. Oh it would be Swiss. We just have to have the saw dust and the underwear. I'm pretty sure I can find both of those.