i fought the law (and the law made me play basketball)

here in the DC area, we send our kids to a patchwork of camp experiences. one week, there might be an opening in a dance camp in falls church. the next week might be a swim camp at the Y. the week after, perhaps an arlington county parks and rec experience. (if it’s tuesday, it must be belgium.) the mad scramble for signups begins in february, so if you don’t have your proverbial shit together then, well, pax vobiscum.

it’s a far cry from the camp i remember as a child. my parents sent me to a local day camp run out of a synagogue. fancy, it was not. the place always smelled musty. but we had arts and crafts, lots of sports, swim lessons, and even occasional trips. i loved it so much that i was willing, at age 13, to become a CIT for $50 a week. my brothers also went, then worked, there. (this only became a problem when my oldest brother coached the softball team and i was the only girl who made first-string. another girl told me i only got on the team because my brother was the coach. my brother, never one to mince words with me, told me that he likes to win and that i was the best pitcher in camp, so he picked me. period. one of those moments in life you don’t forget.)

anyway, back to BC. she’s in horseback riding camp this week. most little girls go through what i call their misty of chincoteague phase, where horses are king. BC is no different, so she was absolutely pumped for her first day of horseback riding camp yesterday. i mean, wake up, get-out-of-bed-with-a-smile-as-wide-as-wyoming-on-your-face, pumped. she even made a friend when she got there.

so when i picked her up, i was a little surprised when she answered, “wait til we’re in the car” when i asked her for her report on her day. as it happens, she was not happy. her complaints:

1) “they made us play basketball.” i think that’s permitted under the Geneva Convention, little girl.

2) “there was one counselor there who told us all that we had to work hard to be athletes. i don’t want to be an athlete.” okay, so the girl’s got a point there.

3) “we didn’t get to swim for fun. we had to swim laps in different strokes.” i’m hoping this meant the counselor was assessing their swimming abilities (or lack thereof.)

4) “the swimming counselor NEVER GOT IN THE WATER WITH US! she never took her clothes off.” a little weird, but it happens; though since the water was also apparently “freeeeeeeeezing,” it would have been courteous to get in the water with the kids. solidarity, man.

5) “they made us play water polo!” uh, how did they get the ponies in the pool?

6) “when i left the pool and sat on the steps, no one cared. no one asked me what i was doing.” the girl’s got a little supervisory point there. i’m telling you, this is really my grandmother in an 8-year-old suit.

7) “the place where you change is made out of logs. there’s one window, and the door doesn’t shut. there’s no privacy. and ooh! there are a zillion bugs all over!” uh. welcome to camp. be glad no one force-fed you bug juice.

8) the horseback riding counselor won’t learn our names. she calls us by the horse’s name, like i’m ‘Gracie’s rider’. and she makes us stand up in the stirrups and yelled at me when my horse started trotting. and it huuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrtttttt.” i think girlfriend was assuming that they’d be led around, like on pony rides at the fair. on the bright side, they weren’t learning how to ride english. and speaking of english, her last criticism…

9) “the counselors are all from England!” for G-d’s sake, don’t tell them that your mama is an Eastenders junkie or they’ll make you do extra laps.

i can hardly wait to hear today’s report.


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