Tonight, after a lousy night’s sleep, a five-mile run, and a long day at the office, I went with my kids to Sky High Sports – 100 trampolines a Dodgeball court, foam pits and all kinds of other good ways for the youngsters to pick on the oldsters.
Tonight, I accepted the challenge of going to a trampoline gym with my kids. After a few warm-up bounces, we headed for the dodgeball court.
Leerily I approached. Watching in apprehension, I saw four or five teenage boys who looked like they knew exactly what they were doing – bouncing high, moving fast and sadly for me, throwing hard.
Our turn. My kids piled onto the court, dragging me along. They explained the rules which, thankfully, weren’t too much different from when I was a kid. I might have a chance.
The attendant yelled, “Dodgeball!” Every kid started bouncing. Every ball started flying. I dodged a few balls, bounced a few bounces and even got a few throws in. I started to get into a rhythm. I could do this!
Then it hit me. Literally.
A ball plastered me full speed, full in the face. Ouch. Head down and ears ringing, I made my way off the court.
On the sidelines, I asked the teenage attendant if there were any rules. Smiling, he said no. Just duck.
Back on the court for the next game, I was paired up with the teenager that blasted me earlier. I asked him if they came out hear often. He said no, but that his friends played baseball. Joy. I was doomed. A big, old and slow moose with a snarling wolfpack of teenage boys staring me down.
But a funny thing happened. Little by little, as I talked to them, the teenagers started to accept me. We chatted a bit, tossed the ball between us, and started to form teams. It was fun. Pretty soon, I started getting high fives for some pretty nifty shots.
I know that tonight, no real community giving occurred. But my kids had fun and I had fun. And I learned that teenagers are people too. They are not adults, sure. And they will not greet you with a handshake. But they accepted me. All it took was for me to start talking with them, not at them.
And take a dodgeball in the face.