Playing Into the Weekend

It’s Friday evening though most campers probably don’t even realize it. Every day at camp is like the weekend so sometimes it’s hard to distinguish. Our Sunday rest and altered schedule are the main signals for a new week. We’ve been playing hard the last few days. Some late afternoon storms have slowed us down a few times, though only for 30 minutes at a time usually. We have plenty of places to be indoors for games and cabin times.

Speaking of games, I thought it might be fun to give you a glimpse into some of the things your boys are doing during their bits of free time. There’s not a lot, as boys need the stucture of a schedule. But waiting on the lunch or dinner bell or after snack often afford a few minutes of free time to play.

Just now, as I left the dining hall, most of camp hung around our games area behind the Store. I was struck by the sheer number of boys and counselors playing peacefully, albeit loudly, in this small area of camp. All four ping pong tables clicked back and forth in rhythm. The Gladiator court was filled to the brim with boys and surrounded by another crowd waiting to get in on the next game. Gladiator games go fast. It’s our name for Ga-Ga ball if that means anything to you. It’s the octagonal waist high fenced court you may have seen on opening day. It’s dodgeball, but every man for himself, and you can only get out if hit in the knee or below. And the ball must be slapped along the concrete floor, not palmed.

Just down from there boys pounded tetherballs in a circular motion, back and forth, trying to wrap the string around the pole first. A group of guys and counselors threw the frisbee and others played a few holes on the course. Our course is old school, wooden signs on trees spread throughout camp. Holes 3 through 6 weave their way through this game area.

Next door to ping pong, large washers were tossed back and forth, in a focused effort to sink them in the 6 inch pvc holes. Washers is not unlike baggo or cornhole, utilizing 2 inch round washers instead of beanbags. First one to 21 wins. There are several washers courts. Another tailgate favorite is spikeball and we have several of those sets. It’s a 4 person game played with a round net and plastic yellow ball.

In front of the Tree House is a game called Viking Chess. Honestly, I have no idea how it works! 2 sets of 12 inch tall 4 by 4 wooden pieces are placed in some sequence and then each boys sets about trying to knock down the others’ pieces. I love boys! On the porch is a more cerebral, Tetris like game called Cathedral. There are almost always boys sitting in the rocking chairs playing that. Behind the Tree House is a good old fashioned 4-square court with the red, rubber ball. When I was a camper here that and ping pong were about the only “extra games” around. The line to play 4 square might be 30 deep back then.

Our newest addition at camp is Human Foosball. It’s literally a rectangular concrete pad with a waist high fence and 6 crossbars running the width of the rectangle. Campers or counselors are the “foosball men” and a real soccer ball is kicked back and forth in attempts to score on goals at each end. Basically think about a giant version of the old arcade foosball table and that’s it. Google it and watch a video online. It’s really fun and has been a big hit this summer.

As I walked from this game area out in to camp, others played impromptu tennis matches. And a group of older campers started up some beach volleyball earlier today during Store period.

Side by side activities are how boys (and grown men often!) relate to one another. All of these games facilitate social interaction and real life problem solving that are beneficial for life. Not to mention the boys are having a blast!

Hope you have a nice weekend where you are. We’re going to have a great one atop Lookout Mountain. Thanks for reading and good night for now, Glenn