A Moral Victory and An Actual Loss

Though I did not get a Spring Break, most everyone else did, including the Ozone program that Holly and I volunteer with. Ozone is the year-round ministry of Camp War Eagle – summer campers can come to a once-a-week club with all of the zany games and safety infractions they love. As it happens, our Ozone club loves me so much that they used their spring break to visit me at work.

Though there were a hundred and fifty high schoolers fist pumping the heart of camp back to life, I had to spend the sunlight hours cleaning bugs out of florescent lights and organizing limited inside jobs for service-hour hungry students. However, at night I became –

A BRO! The campers were grouped by city and age and were asked to decide on a collective name. Since my nine guys are at an age where imagination eats lunch in the bathroom, they called themselves The Bros. But we made the most of it. Fellows were bromoted, one was brotrayed (et tu, brotus?), and we sang “Bro, Bro, Bro Your Boat”. And we sang it in the bround.

There was a final competition on the last day, before boarding the homeward buses. A dodgeball tournament that paired a boy and girl group and pitted them against others via Round Robin. The Bros were matched with the Fire-Breathing Ponies, creating the Bronies and a Cinderella run.

The throwing motion is my nemesis. I cannot do it correctly. Balls most often look like asteroids that float by themselves in space, depressed and alone. As a rule I don’t put effort into dodgeball, in hopes that no one will notice that my arm looks like a crippled whale flipper.There was a short black girl on the Bronies. Journey. I knew Journey loved to sing and only held dodgeballs accidentally. I proposed that we spend the tournament dancing. She accepted. So over the next six games, Journey neither touched a ball or stopped moving. Together we did the robot, the wop, and the slide, among others. Though sometimes I stepped out to grab a ball (each time immediately getting out), Journey never gave up and never paid attention to what was going on around her.

The final game – the championship – arrived. Our team had handled most others swimmingly. During the championship, we were slaughtered. In record time. After only a few minutes, it was ten on two. Ten ball juggling high schoolers on one side, and on the other – Journey and me.I spent the next few minutes running line sprints and lobbing softballs at the huddle of opposing girls. There was a junior varsity baseball star facing me; he even had a lackey, a fifteen-year-old me, supplying him with ammunition. As we circled each other, I caught a glimpse of Journey. Still alive. Doing the moonwalk.

In the end, it amazed me still that not only did Journey survive as long as I did (eventually it was four on two) but never once considered playing dodgeball. She stuck to her strategy, which, to her credit, never gave any indication that it didn’t work. I was the one who occasionally stopped dancing, and I also occasionally got out. Even as I used my hands as crude spades to dig balls out of the nets surrounding the gym, I couldn’t bring myself to be mad. Journey was following her heart.And when she was finally hit, she struck a Michael Jackson before strutting off the court.


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