Saturday, June 27, 2009

Washington Trip, Day Two

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So. Charlie’s team played well today. More importantly, we got our sno-cones. And they were gargantuan and delicious, just as we knew they would be. I got a pina colada/lemon/cherry mix. The kids opted for horrifying combinations like banana split/cotton candy and banana/tiger’s blood (what even is tiger’s blood in the context of sno-cone flavors?). I’m aching to go to bed, but I couldn’t crash for the night without updating you all. I know the suspense was killing you.

As for how the rest of our day went? Let me hit you with a little statistic: 26,253 basketball players descended upon Spokane, Washington today for this tournament. If each of them brought approximately 2-4 spectators/wives/husbands/kids/etc, that’s at least over 50,000 people, all vying for the same parking spaces, shady spots, and general elbow room along the few square miles of downtown (and all doubtless getting ahead of me in line at Hawaiian Ice). In other words, it was crowded.

And I’m ok with that. I’d go so far as to say it adds to the ambiance of general festivity, but do you ever notice how crowds seem to drain the life out of otherwise normally behaving children? Toby seemed to slowly wither today. True, the temperature at Hoopfest always feels at least ten degrees hotter than it actually is, because 90% of your time is spent standing on asphalt streets, staring directly into the sun, but considering his sun block, sun hat, and sunglasses, I doubted this was the problem. Right off the bat, he decided he would fight my rule of holding his hand…and then he gallantly kept it up for the entire day. It didn’t matter how many times I explained how I needed to hold his hand in these crowds in order for him not to drift away like cork on a current. It didn’t matter if I cajoled him, or threatened him, or begged him. Whenever I reached for his sweaty little hand, he’d slide it out of my grasp and either collapse in a heap on the ground (causing at least ten ball players to trip over him) or shimmy away (causing at least ten ball players to trip over him).

He also decided that today, he would only drink purple Gatorade, wouldn’t eat blueberries and suddenly hated strawberries, and was not at all interested in staying to the right while walking to allow people coming the other way to pass in peace.

The kid was the definition of ornery.

I’m not sure why kids do that on occasion: try to make the people around them, but mostly the person who gave them life, utterly miserable simply by steady, grating passive resistance alone. I suppose everyone, no matter what age, has moments of weakness in which they too, behave in such a manner, but for the most part, this is a clever trick only preschoolers can play when they suspect the adults in their life have just paid good money and perhaps lots of it to for their near-guaranteed joy and happiness. In other words, while on vacation.

But I laid down the law, re-hydrated him, albeit with green Gatorade, then took a spin with him on an overpriced carnival ride called The Spider that made me almost lose my sno-cone (can you imagine?) and made him laugh with pure, unabashed joy. It seemed to dislodge whatever chip had been on his shoulder, and it was smooth sailing after that.

Still, this is perhaps my favorite photo of the tournament.

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Toby, determinedly watching the Spokane River instead of watching his father's street basketball game.

Because everyone's allowed an off day every once in a while.
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