Sock wrestling? Nope, not a big fan.

After I had seen all the ‘after dinner’ kids. I figured this would be the best time to return the sleeping bag to Lawrence’s bunk bed. All the campers were out of their huts and busy doing their evening activities so we could sneak in there sight unseen. There was a group in the dining hall, one in the arts ‘n crafts, one group was in the playing a game on the beach and one hut seemed to be doing something out in the forest. So, the coast was clear!

I rendezvoused with Sammy and Anita and the kids at the tetherball pole. I had the sleeping bag under my arm. Sammy and Anita went on their way and the four of us went to return the sleeping bag to the Deer hut.

We entered the hut and it took us a few seconds for our eyes to adjust. The hut was only a minor disaster. Actually it looked in better shape than a lot of the counselors’ rooms. No wonder they didn’t allow the campers to wander through the floors in the main building. It would most defs a poor example.

It was obvious that the kids had tidied up for the “hut inspection” that had occurred during first instruction that morning but then things had gradually fallen apart after that. Still, there was some semblance of organization. Shoes tucked under the beds, the beds look like they had been made previously but maybe someone had sat upon the sleeping bag and mussed it up a bit. In fact, one sleeping bag had a big wet bum print on it! Some of the luggage bags or hockey bags were open with clothes busting out onto the floor. Wet towels and bathing suits were scattered around.

It was pretty easy to find Lawrence’s bed. His was the only one without a sleeping bag. The girls helped me lay it onto his bunk. We straightened it out, but then thought better of it, and scrunched it up a little bit. Perfect. Hopefully no one would be the wiser and Lawrence’s social status would remain intact. Good deed done.

“Do you guys wanna just go to bed and read or do you wanna wander around and see what all the campers are up to?” I asked.

“Can we see what they are doing on the beach?” My daughter asked.

“Let’s do it!”

We headed down towards the beach. We could hear their cheering voices well before we got there. The kids ran ahead when they caught a glimpse of group on the beach. By the time I arrived my kids were standing behind the group of Rock hutters who were sitting in a circle in the middle of the beach. Two of the Rock hut campers were in the center of the circle along with Amy who was wearing a referee shirt, whistle in her mouth. The campers had blind folds on and looked like they were wrestling…sort of. I had seen my fill of Greco Roman wrestling in high school as I had three brothers who participated, and this did not really resemble it…not at all. I stepped in beside Rob.

“And…what exactly are we doing here?” I asked over the shouting.

“Oh! This is our blindfolded sock wrestling tournament.” Rob said enthusiastically as he held out his arms to indicate the scene.

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Of course!! That made total sense now. The two campers in the center of the circle, wearing only the blindfold, a bathing suit, and their socks, were twisting and turning in the sand, trying to avoid having their sock removed, but at the same time trying to locate his opponent’s sock and remove it. These dudes were totally taking this seriously. And so were their buddies, cheering them on and trying to guide them. It looked like tons of fun for a boy, but as the camp nurse, it looked like a lot of potential business for me too! Ugh! This wrestling match lasted about five minutes at which point Cameron had managed to remove one of Jeffery’s socks. As they stood up, panting and sweating, I noticed that the two players were completely covered in sand and their socks were stretched out and totally filthy. Their knees looked a little raw too. The referee pulled Cameron’s hand up into the air and declared him the winner. The boys shook hands while the onlookers cheered. The two boys stepped over the circle of campers and ran into the shallow end of the lake where they flopped into the water to cool off and rinse off all the sand.

My three kids were totally enthralled with the event. They sat down on the bench to watch.

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Rob called out two more names from the list on his clipboard. The next two entered the circle. This looked like it was going to be an unfair fight. The crowd roared! ‘Goliath’ had about fifteen pounds and two inches on his opponent, ‘David’, who had to remove his glasses and give them one of the counselors. The sight made me cringe and consider the cruel realities of the onset of puberty. Timing is everything, is it not? What basically ensued was a show down between the two extremes – early onset vs delayed. That match lasted all of about forty-five seconds. I had to admit that I was impressed with Goliath’s conduct. He did not gloat over the victory. David, too, took the defeat well. They shook hands and ran and jumped into the water.

The next match up looked more fair as the two campers stepped into the ring. These two guys. Alex and Max, wrestled for a good ten minutes. Their energy was definitely lagging by the end. They both had fingers wrapped around their opponent’s sock, but just didn’t have the energy or the strategy to get it pulled off. I heard a cracking sound as Alex attempted to wrench the sock off Max’s left foot and then Amy blew the whistle when she saw the look of anguish on Alex’s face. Alex let go of Max’s sock, and held up his hand. He grabbed at his ring finger. The crowd groaned and whimpered in sympathy. Time for me to go to work.

Amy grabbed the first aid kit from the beach hut and brought it to me. We took Alex over to the picnic bench and had a look at it. My three kids followed along and sat across the table, chins in their hands, watching with eyes as big as saucers. I had one of the counselors go on a run for me. I tossed him my keys and he ran to the health office to get the finger splint and then to the kitchen to grab some ice in a zip lock bag. He took off and Amy and I leaned over Alex’s finger to have a good look.

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The finger did not look at all deformed. He could move it in all directions by himself but he did admit that it hurt. I asked my girls to go and get one of their sand pails from the hut and fill it with water. They took off like a shot and quickly ran down to the water to fill the pail. In their hurry to get back they jostled the pail and lost about one third of the water on their way back. It was cute watching them so intent on being of some assistance.

“Thanks girls.” Alex said as he placed his hand in the water. They grinned at him and me, obviously happy to have been of some help.

We soaked Alex’s finger in a pail of cool lake water while we waited for the ice. The finger got swollen pretty quickly so we iced it and elevated while he sat and watched the remaining sock wrestling matches from the picnic bench. Eventually we got the finger splint on and I gave him some acetaminophen from the first aid kit for the pain.

“Well, I better get these kids to bed.” I told Amy as I got up from the picnic table. “Come by before bedtime, Alex, and I can have another look, OK? We can decide if you need to go into town for an x-ray.”

The kids got up with me as I prepared to leave. My son hoped off the picnic bench, went over to Alex and put his little hand on Alex’s knee and patted him gently.

“I hope you feel better!” He said as he nodded and looked up into Alex’s eye with great concern. Amy and I looked at each other and grinned.

“Thanks little buddy!” Alex said as he looked down at him with a small smile.

My heart was so full.

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