Amazing Counselors! the schedule proudly crows. It's not a superhero team exactly; from nine till ten today though, seven experienced counselors are answering any and all questions we can pose. These best and brightest read out notecards that we members of the audience have filled out with our queries, and on the spot respond with what they would do in each hypothetical. Questions vary wildly with subject, ranging from a "fecally contaminated pool" to how to best handle simple homesickness. Each notecard gets a lengthy and detailed reply, and if ever one of the panelists struggles to explain himself, a faculty member jumps in with assistance. I write quietly and munch my bagel.
"What do we do if we're lonely and we don't have any counselor friends?" This comes on the heels of the homesickness question. Immediately, Eric Lewis, a member of the Shady Side class of 2010 and perhaps the friendliest person in the known universe, responds, "I'll be your friend!" He looks so thrilled at the prospect you can't help but believe him. I knew Eric while I was a student, and he's always cheery and helpful. I've never seen him interact with kids before, but he strikes you as the kind of guy who would take to it like a duck to water. He's asked what to do in case of a storm. "Well, if it starts raining pretty hard, you should get inside, if you see any lightning, get inside... um, if you hear thunder, go inside... basically, just go inside." He makes good sense.
Enough is enough, though, and after the final questions are addressed we're released to lunch. It's just as bustling and energetic as it was the day before. Everyone is either happy to see someone they've missed over the school year or glad to make a new friend.
After lunch we stroll out to the quad. I've been out here for perhaps three minutes when a plastic circle flies dangerously close to my face. Of course. It's Shady Side, and the sun is out. It must be a frisbee.
Frisbee has been a part of my Shady Side experience ever since freshman year, when I played midnight Ultimate on the quad with Lucas Herman, a senior then. He showed me the proper form and technique, and I fell in love with the sport almost immediately. I played casually until I was a senior, then made the jump to the big leagues, the Spring Team, Shady Side's elite cadre of frisbee all-stars. Now, I'm getting flashbacks to my senior year as I watch a disc float over a defender into the waiting hands of the reciever. Eric and I share an envious glance. He and I played on the Spring Team two years ago. He's fast, accurate, jumps like a grasshopper, and has yet to be out of breath in my presence. I can throw really far. Together, we tear up the field.
It's all we can do to restrain ourselves; frisbee, once in your blood, sings to you in an enchanting voice every sunny day of the rest of your life. I cave first, dashing after a long throw (or "huck" to those in the know) and snagging it with one hand. A flick of the wrist, and the disc spins lazily away to whomever feels inclined to catch it. It's almost addictively fun. It's a matter of moments before an actual game starts, with teams being thrown together willy-nilly with no regard to aptitude. This is what frisbee is all about. Really, it's what camp is all about. All are welcome to play, all play hard and long, all laugh at unexpected successes and comical failures. We don't even keep score.
Thursday June, 14, 2012 at 04:57PM