Thursday, September 15, 2011

"It Just Doesn't Matter"

From Left:  Laura Wheeler, Marty Bray, Kim Haynes, Me, Angie Swaim,
Marshall Ratledge, Marnee Larkin, Jay Osborne, Sabrina Perry, Lisa Wilkins

Front Row:  Rey Iglesisas
One of my favorite parts of junior and senior high camps at Quaker Lake was the Team Competition portion of the schedule.  Beginning with my first summer as a camper- in which I went undefeated as a singles badminton player and won a blue ribbon- I always enjoyed playing the games.  Win or lose, my teams always had fun.  But there was one glorious high school camp where my team was amazing in so many ways that the group of people pictured at the top of this page became one of my favorite camp memories.  I share it with you today.

I an not certain exactly which year in the early 80s this tale takes place but whenever it was  I found myself in charge of dividing the campers into teams, which also would serve as our small discussion groups for the week.  Having such a responsibility was always a temptation.  I knew these campers very well, and giving myself the best team was always a possibility.  On this occasion, I decided instead to give myself an awesome discussion group and forgo choosing the camp "studs" for my team.  My co-leader for the week would be my dear friend and "Sis" from high school, Sabrina Perry- who I had conned into volunteering for the week.  Everyone else was someone I knew well and loved, with the exception of Rey.  He had come to us from Miami with a group of Hispanic Quakers and was in my cabin, so I claimed him as well.  Marshall and Marnee were both in my youth group at New Garden Friends Meeting.  Jay, Laura and Angie were among my all-time favorite campers.  Kim was the little sister of the girl I was dating at the time, future staff member Donna Haynes.   I had known Marty and Lisa for a couple of summers as well.  As an example of how well I knew them all and how important this group would become to me, I can tell you that as I looked at the picture I identified them all from memory, some 30 years later.  We were all excited to be together, and it was an awesome small group for prayer and discussion.  But we also realized that we seemed to be a bit short of athletic talent.  So I decided to give them a pep talk, basically telling them that we should just have fun because winning was a real long shot.  I cannot remember what name we chose for out team, but I will never forget our team cheer.  It (and my pep talk- I thought I was Bill Murray) was taken from the the greatest camp movie ever made, Meatballs.  We were determined to have fun, win or lose.  So our cheer became "It just doesn't matter..."  (Watch this awesome video clip to learn more!)

To make a great story short, we were unbeatable.  We didn't lose all week, pulling off a few miracle wins in softball and volleyball along the way.  To paraphrase from the clip, "we played so far over our heads that our noses bled."  It was amazing.  And we just kept chanting that it didn't matter.  The other teams were stunned.  The rest of the staff questioned my objectivity in picking the teams.  And we became a true family.  I learned a great deal about building community in youth groups from those people.  Laura, Marshall, Lisa and Jay would all go on to work at camp in the years to come.  It was one of the last times I would ever hang out with Sis.  It was truly a blessed week- one of my best weeks ever.  Tomorrow I will wrap up this week of camp memories with stories of 2 more great weeks- the beginning and the end.  Don't miss it!

Because of Jesus,

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