Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Cautionary Tail

The #1 son has returned from his four-day basketball team camp. They took a varsity team of 10, and a JV team of 11, each team playing ten regulation games against other schools at the camp. The varsity finished with a record of 7-3. The JV was punished with a 0-10 record. Which was not a surprise to me, them having 8 freshen and 3 sophomores on their team. They might have been better-suited for the junior high division, which was open to teams for grades 7, 8, 9. As #1 pointed out, "Mom, we played one of our games against an all-boy school of 1400 students. Their starting team was all over 6'3" and 250 lbs." It didn't kill them, so they must be stronger.

#1 has dribbled out camp stories here and there. Our school had one end of a dorm hall, with four showers and four toilets to share amongst the 21 of them. Surprising to all, the coach had a list of rooms that he assigned when they checked in. My boy had a room to himself, but the coach decided that was not to be, and told him could bring in a whole bed or just drag in a mattress to share a room with two of his buddies, Stretch 1 and Introvert. Which was OK with #1, because those are the two kids he would have wanted to share with anyway. Their hall had a pool table for entertainment, which they made sure to monopolize so that other teams did not come to their floor.

And now for the disturbing bits... I know that boys will be boys. For 21 boys ages 14-18, not much bad stuff happened. #1 called the first night to report that Starter had been taking a shower when Stretch 2 and Cherub yanked open his shower curtain while shouting, "Who's in here?" Cherub should have known better than to tempt fate, what with Karma filing her teeth to bite him in the butt later that night, when Stretch 2 poured ice and cold water over the top of his shower. I advised #1 that he needed to take his medicine out of his bag of toiletries, just in case someone messed with it while he was showering. I suggested that he and Introvert walk down to the showers together, and one could wait to have that shower next, thus implementing The Buddy System, aka Lookouts R Us, to ward off the shenanigans. #1, always the realist, said, "Well, that might work, except that Introvert ran back over here after our last game, and by the time we walked in, he had already showered." Which was some interesting foreshadowing, since after the peeping/ice incidents, Introvert never again showered, but chose to stand at the sink with a washcloth. Starter didn't let it bother him, and after screaming like a schoolgirl the first night, endured even the ice treatment the next time. Cherub, however, did not wash again. As #1 put it, "He stunk! We all told him so, but he didn't care. He had deodorant, but it wasn't working."

#1 reported that nobody messed with him in the shower, which was not really surprising. He IS 6'1", with enough leg hair to look like fur jeans. Not much fun in trying to belittle him. Besides, with the exception of Stretch 2, most of the older kids like him. One of the varsity picked him to play 2 on 2 against a pair from another team one evening after the games. #1 played well, and Picker walked over to the graduated dude who had acted as the JV team coach and said, "Maybe if you'd played HIM more, you might have won a game." Which is doubtful, but it made #1 feel good, if also a bit worried, due to the glare that emanated from Grad Dude. Around the pool table another night, Stretch 2 tried to twist something #1 had said, and varsity Stretch 3 said, "Shut up, 2. I like #1."

And now for the really disturbing part, which I do not plan to repeat except here on this blog for my millions of followers to contemplate. On the last night, around midnight, there came a knock on #1's door. It was Stretch 2, pleading, "I think I left my hat in your room. Let me in." Introvert jumped up and opened the door, even though Stretch 1 and #1 were proclaiming, "He was never in our room. Don't do it!" Too late. In barged Stretch 2 and Grad Dude. Grad Dude mooned the freshman trio. According to #1, "I was laying on my mattress on the floor. I pulled up my blanket to block the view, while I talked to Stretch 1. Introvert turned his back and stood facing the wall between his bed and the window. I didn't hide under the covers, because then they would have messed with me. I just held up part of the blanket. After about five minutes, they left, and we heard them do the same thing next door to Starter and Handler. Then Coach came out and yelled at them that their door-knocking was keeping him awake, and he was about to get really mad and make them run. So they quit."

Here's the deal. I did not pay $160 and send my kid across two states to have some 20-year-old's a$$ in his face. No. That is not right. It's one thing if it's an a$$ from a kid on the team, perhaps, around the same age. But not from a guy who is acting as the COACH of my son's team, with a room by the other coaches. That's not right. Oh, you might say, it's just some butt-cheeks. No. When guy is pressing that moon up against the back window of a schoolbus, a calamity which befell my Arch Nemesis when she first started teaching here, it's just butt cheeks. A pressed ham, if you will. But when that Dude is one of five people in a 10 x 12 foot dorm room, and drops his pants and bends over, and my son is laying on a mattress on the floor, methinks some naught bits were a part of the package. Not that he specified in so many words.

I do not think my son's psyche has been irreparably damaged. He related the tale of the tail with indignation. I think he has enough sense of who he is that this will not traumatize him for life. It's not like Sasha Cohen landed on his face at the MTV Movie Awards. It's not like a cellmate forced him to toss his salad. It's not like a fraternity hazed him into eating olives out a brother's butthole. But it's not right. Where do we draw the line between horseplay and perversion? Could one of his buddies do that to him without creating a big flap? Youbetcha. Could a priest? I don't think so. Could I drop my pants and moon my first hour class? Again, I don't think so. The age and the position of authority make the action inappropriate.

Don't you think?

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