On the eve of his 25th birthday, I thought it would be nice to add to the series. So...
Submitted for the Approval of the Midnight Society...I call this story:
The Tale of Gymnastics Camp and the Big, Bad Wolf
The summer after 5th grade, I went to a summer camp. I'm really not sure exactly where the camp is/was, but it was somewhere in the mountains of San Diego County. That summer, Sean went to a surf camp down there. I know, right? Why didn't I go there? I dunno. I went to a regular camp. It was fun, though. Two weeks of eating terrible food, getting filthy and not wanting to use the communal showers, playing basketball, playing aussie-rules football, playing baseball and generally having a pretty good time.
Each week, each kid got to choose two activities...a morning activity and an afternoon activity. The morning activity I chose each week was basketball. 5th Grade Me lived for basketball. I was a really fuckin good 5th grade basketball player, let me tell you. The counselor, who played at the University of Arizona, told me to not forget about him when I'm playing college basketball one day. Yeah, I know.
After the first week of camp, my little brother Patrick came to the camp for just one week. At the end of my first week, some of the people I had gotten to know left for home, and new ones replaced them. So I was sort of a seasoned veteran at camp, and had quite a few dudes I had gotten to know. One of these guys, I forget his name, seemed like a pretty cool dude. We'll call him Lance, because that's a pretty douchey name. He was good at basketball, but not as good as me, and so we were sort of buddies.
I was about to enter the 6th grade so I was probably not that inclusive of Pat, who had just finished 3rd grade. I mean, he was what...nine? And, to make matters worse, for whatever reason, Pat signed up for the "Gymnastics Camp." Now, as I got older I realized, gymnastics is probably pretty cool. You get really strong and chicks think you have a sweet body. But of course, most dudes from age 8-15 think gymnastics is "super gay." I think Pat's buddy did gymnastics back home and talked Pat into it. Patrick, care to chime in?
So Pat was one of "those" kids. I didn't get to see him much because gymnastics camp kids didn't get to choose an activity. Also, the cabins were split up by age group, and you sat with your cabin at meals, etc. For Pat and the gymnastics kids, gymnastics was their activity, morning and afternoon. So there just wasn't a lot of time to see him, anyways.
Middle of the week, probably Thursday night, there was a dance on the basketball courts. I mean, I was a pretty cool dude at this camp, at least among the dudes. I was talking with a group of other dudes as we awaited the ladies to make their way across camp to the dance.
I look across the court and I see my little brother Pat with some people. It appears he is sort of getting teased by Lance. Probably for being in gymnastics camp. Possibly not altogether undeserved, but still. That's my brother, and if there is one thing our dad taught us it's that you always stand up for your brothers.
I keep my eye on the situation from a fair distance for a moment or two to see if it will just resolve itself. I should probably mention here that not only was I not inclusive of Pat during that week, but I don't think anyone other than the counselors even knew we were brothers.
Suddenly, I see Lance shove Pat. Probably not hard, although Pat can chime in on that. But just a douche bag kid trying to be a bully to the kid who wears a leotard and prances on a balance beam while we are playing basketball. Nonetheless, Pat is my brother.
Have you ever seen the cartoon "Lambert the Sheepish Lion"? If not, watch it here. It's a Disney short wherein a lion is accidentally delivered by the stork to a mother lamb. Even though he's a lion, Lambert loves his mama, and his mama loves him. He's kind of a pussyfoot of a lion, though, being raised by a lamb and all. But at the end of the movie, a wolf is dragging Lambert's mother away and something in Lambert snaps! He sheds his sheepish exterior (figuratively speaking, of course) and beats the crap out of the wolf to save his mother.
Not that I was ordinarily sheepish, but if you've seen the cartoon, I was like Lambert when his mother is being dragged away. Something snapped. Mid-conversation, I sprinted across the basketball court...probably a good 30 yards. And even in 5th grade, I was built like a little tank. Solid as a rock. I just destroy this douchebag Lance. I swear, he flew a good 20 feet into the fence surrounding the court.
In a daze, he looks up at me, bewildered.
"DON'T FUCK WITH MY BROTHER!"
I wasn't messing around, you know.
He stammers something about not knowing he was my brother. As if that excuses his being a douche to some kid 2 or 3 years younger than he was. I think he then began apologizing profusely. He was probably crying. I don't know.
Pat seemed stoked and everyone else was pretty stunned. There were no counselors around, so not one got in trouble. And whenever the story is told, my dad beams with pride.
Ok, so maybe this is more of a story about me than it is about Pat. But so what... it's my damn blog.