Due to the fact that most of my time at Camp Swampy is a blur (I can barely remember what I had for breakfast) I will continue this book as a collection of short and humorous stories (in semi-chronological order).
Oh where do I begin? All of it is rushing on me so fast I can’t place it all. I have entitled this chapter “Bible Baseball” because it deals with Bible baseball (imagine that) but it will cover that topic as it happened every day. What I mean is this: I will cram all of the many Bible Baseball adventures into this chapter instead of spreading them out in chronological order throughout other chapters. This proves to be the most efficient way of handling my mental block problems. Keep reading and learn the camp Swampy way of Bible Baseball. It doesn’t include Hagar the Horrible.
Being a member of the “maintenance” unit of junior staff kind of limited my experience of Bible baseball. The first two days I was I the woods with Mr. Hemp, Trent, and Karis. We were setting up the paintball course. I will explain about that in a later chapter that I have affectionately titled “The Paintball Course”.
Even though my experiences were limited, I vividly remember one specific incident that happened on Wednesday afternoon…
The first day of non-outdoor work was upon me. I was able to switch my job with Rodney (or maybe it was Aaron) so I could see what activities took place when I’d normally be outside.
The dining hall was abuzz with ridiculously loud 4th-7th graders. The tables had been pushed to the sides of the building, and the benches to the tables were lined in rows down the middle of the room. Mr. Lehman stood at the front of the room next to a large spinner (like the kind that comes in Chutes and Ladders), which had things like “Single”, “Double”, “Triple”, “Homerun”, and other baseball terms. This spinner would be spun by a camper who correctly answered a question about the Bible or the missionary story that had been told that week.
There obviously isn’t much intelligence needed to understand this game, which proves my point when I have said “Unintelligent things happen during games that are so simple that even Hagar the Horrible could understand them.” The buzz from these children was unbelievable, which was in stark contrast to the subject of the questions.
One camper would stand up and Mr. Lehman asked them, “Fill in the blank: _____________ thy neighbor as thyself.”
The kid would promptly answer “LOVE! LOVE THY NEIGHBOR!!”
Mr. Lehman would nod his approval, and immediately every kid in the room would scream ill will on the opposing team, by screaming the name of the term that they wanted the spinner to land on. Right after the “Love thy neighbor” question, the air was filled with screams of “STRIKE!!” or “OUT!!” and never once did I hear a cry of “PLEASE, LORD JESUS, LET THE SPINNER LAND ON HOMERUN EVEN THOUGH IT WOULD GIVE THE OTHER TEAM POINTS!! I JUST WANT TO LOVE MY NEIGHBORS!! HOMERUN!!HOMERUN!!” No, not once did I hear that cry. Kids these days.
While I was sitting in the back of the room observing this hubbub, a certain child that his parents named “Josh” turned around to face me and yell, “JAMES!! I NEED CANTEEN!!”
I simply blinked in response. It was apparent by the behavior of this child that “canteen” (which consists of Coke, candy, and other carbs + sugar) was the last thing in the universe that this kid needed. Adjusting his glasses and retying his team bandanna on his head, he gave me a sideways glance, muttering “Canteen!”
I ignored him, trying to make it painfully obvious that sugar and other sources of high-energy was not what he needed at the moment. I made a mental note to lock him in the outhouse when canteen time was upon us.
After ten minutes of observing Bible Baseball, I was rudely yelled at by this “Josh” person. “CANTEEN!!!” he yelled. “I NEED CANTEEN!!!”
This kid could not take silence as an indication of my obvious “NO!” Since he was unable to take the hint, I decided to verbalize my opinion of his need for candy. “NO canteen for you,” I told him.
“ YES!!” he retorted. “I NEED CANTEEN!!”
“NO YOU DON’T!!” I yelled back, realizing that this argument could be won only by volume.
This went on for the rest of the week at Camp Swampy. We have no other relationship other than “I NEED CANTEEN!!” and “NO YOU DON’T!!!” Funny how camp seems to bond people like that.
As far as Bible baseball goes, it wasn’t all too exciting, but that’s only because I’m thinking of other more exciting events that took place during my week at a primitive disease camp named Swampy.