Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sixth graders are crazy...

Today was our sixth grade end-of-year field trip to several locations of our city, including this lovely beach on Lake Superior. It was maybe forty-five degrees. The wind was straight off the Lake, and seriously cold. I was wearing a fleece jacket, an outer waterproof shell with the hood cinched tight, a pair of gloves I luckily found in the pockets of my shell, and the pink hat I wisely left in the Mom Bag the other night. These intrepid sixth graders, on the other hand, were swimming. This photo was taken just after they got off the bus and rushed toward the water, fighting the stiff breeze the whole way. They haven't yet had a chance to strip down to their swimming suits and jump in (they even got their heads wet). I can't post those pictures because they include recognizable faces of kids who don't belong to me, but my description of them would be deliriously happy...or maybe just delirious!

I knew, even as I packed the layers in my backpack this morning, that they would swim. They always do. Still, it amazes me that so many of them went into that frigid water, with white-capped waves roaring up on the beach, and that wind. Yeesh, that wind. If for some reason somebody offered me a sizeable chunk of money to go into that water, I'm still not sure if I could have done it. Probably I'd have to use the money to pay for the emergency room visit for hypothermia, or at least physical therapy for all the muscles in my body fusing together or something. But those sixth graders, man. They are hardcore.

Later on, I had my first experience with Laser Tag. I learned a few things about myself in this experience. First, I learned that running about for seven minutes makes me extremely sweaty, especially when I am wearing several layers, including a black fleece jacket that, while it was nice for keeping me less visible, was really freaking hot. Also, I learned that I like to shoot at people with something resembling a grocery store price scanner. It gave me inexplicable pleasure to zap my co-workers until their vests went dark. Does that mean that I have some latent violence lurking below my pacifist exterior? Or is it just that I like flashing lights and the instantaneous praise of a disembodied voice saying, "Good shot!" Finally, I learned that I do not keep my head very well in a fire fight. I think I tried to kill both of my teammates with my "friendly fire," and I just about had a heart attack when I was "killed" from behind in a sneak attack. See? You do learn something new every day, even in school!

Tomorrow is our Amazing Race in a nearby "nature center," and I'm really excited to sprint around with my homebase through the muddy trails, traversing hill and dale in a competition that involves daring (tadpole kissing and worm eating?), teamwork (swamp-hopping and boat-flipping activities), skills (geo-caching and multiple species-identification tasks), and silliness (mandatory hokey pokey break). Unfortunately, the forecast is pretty sketchy, including rain and possible thunderstorms. This is where flexibility comes into play, and the inevitable contingency plans. Well, at least we got a chance to make some really cool T-shirts!

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