Every morning we start camp in a wooden amphitheater that overlooks what used to be the Canoe Pond; since the canoes were moved to the lake this year, it’s just the Stagnant Pond. Hopefully one day it will find its purpose.
All the campers sit on rising rows of pine bleachers while the announcements are read. Morning Show characters come and go with special news about their camp area. Today: Hot-shot basketball tournament at 3:30. EDGE Power Walk at 4 at the store. Drink more water.
This is my second year as the character Edge Robinson, a European basketball player with mysterious origins and hobbies and a catchphrase – “For three!” – like a basketball analyst. He runs the EDGE program, which is designed to encourage kids to be active – twenty minute swim, twenty minute run, twenty minute salsa dancing. My partner this year is Vlaad, a male Russian cheerleader in charge of tournaments.
Edge’s costume isn’t much of a disguise. It’s nothing more than Clark Kent glasses. The campers see straight through it on the second day. “I know who you are,” they’ll shout from the blob stand. “YOU’RE EDGE ROBINSON!”
No, my name is Cass. Edge is my cousin. He’s nocturnal, that’s why you never see him around.
Last year the tournament character was played by my friend Ricky, a big brown Cherokee from Gore, Oklahoma. Chief Run Amok. He spoke a deep staccato English and had a great straight face. I break character a lot. Usually, on the last day of camp, we would change costumes so that he was Edge and I was Chief. Then we’d get on stage together and I’d rip off his glasses as he ripped off my headdress.
“Ricky,” I’d shout. “You were Edge this whole time!” The counselors would moan, “I should’ve seen this coming,” while kids got aggitated, violent even, trying to point out that I was really Edge and the other one was Chief. We just ignored them.
The very last morning show of the last session of the summer, Ricky came down as Chef Roast a Duck, with a chef’s mushroom hat instead of a headdress and an apron instead of a loin cloth. He put on an Italian accent and handed tournament trophies out of a mixing bowl, grasping them with salad tongs.
I walked in as Ted Robertson, primetime news anchor and the person Camp War Eagle came to first for the truth. In my blazer and glasses, I’m not sure if anyone knew what I was doing, but I managed to make myself laugh, which is a skill I’ll need when they put me in isolation.
I was reminded of this last week when a little blonde girl from one of the youngest cabins ran up to me and said, “YOU.” What, I asked. “You’re Ted Robertson!”