For the past week, the boys had laid it all on the line…. extending themselves perhaps beyond what anyone including themselves ever thought they could. When they awoke this morning, there was a quiet tension in the air. The end was near, the victory for half the camp was oh so close; and yet, so were the emotions that were sure to spill out for the other half. But who, which team would celebrate, and who would feel the agony of defeat? Red held the lead for the past 2 days, but Gray continued to chip away, and was poised to make their last run for the gold.
When the morning activities began, Gray jumped right back in it when their Tigers dispatched the Red golfers winning 6 of 8 matches, and their Sophomores won the first Soccer game over at the Hejduk, 6-0. Like they have all week, Red again fought back the Gray surge by winning another Bocce match that went down to the last throw of a deadlocked decisive final game; then put the finishing touches on a clean 2-0 Freshman Hockey game shutout. Red then won the Upper Court Stars Basketball game before Gray answered with a comeback win on the Lower Court. News from the Hejduk spread quick when Red won the 2nd Sophomores Soccer game and Seniors Tennis. Gray was reeling a bit but salvaged a late inning tie in the Cubs Baseball game at the Freddie Pierce to stay close. Any morning move toward the lead hung on the Juniors Football outcome, and eventually, after Red staged a nearly miraculous comeback, Gray did prevail, and the stage was set.
Five days of exhilarating action, spectacular plays, dazzling skills, acrobatic saves, offensive firepower, stalwart defense, great shot-making, buzzer-beaters and last second heroics were just part of the story this week. Most impressive were the daily displays of outstanding teamwork, exemplary leadership and all-around great sportsmanship that have become the fabric of Skylemar sports - it’s what we do!
And it all came down to this – the greatest closing act in all of sports competitions: Tugs of War.
The sweltering heat meant the delay of the most cherished tradition of Color War. The hope was that the pulsating sun would be a bit less unforgiving after 4pm. Nevertheless, the adults who devoted much of their summer to sunscreening withheld the spray, so as not to be the blame for slippery hands. Each and every Skylemar boy was fully focused on one thing only – winning his Tug.
The line of judges and photographers stood at attention across the Snow Field, as the teams entered the arena to join them. Shep welcomed all, and paid tribute to Captains Jack and Grant. They both led the Camp in a positive way, with honor, pride, care and class.
One Division at a time, the two teams are called to the rope. The determined team members aligned in formation when Shep bellowed, “Tuggers to the rope!” They grabbed, locked down their fists, the whistle blew and….
“PULL!”, the crowd screamed. “PULL!”, the Lieutenant shouted as he leapt up and down the line of tuggers.
And they pulled! Faces clenched, muscles popped, minds laser-focused on pulling harder than what they thought was humanly possible. Some wailed with primal strength. Their feet dug firmly in the ground with the resolve that they would …not…get…pulled…over that line….
The whistle blared a 2nd time, signaling each tug's winner. The victorious jumped and cheered with joy. The defeated slumped back to their team sadly, nevertheless greeted with consoling high-fives.
From Cubs through the Stars, round 1 was done (to win, it’s two out of three). Red needed just two more Tugs to win the 2nd time through…AND THEY DID IT! RED wins Color War 2022!
The Red Men were ecstatic! They leaped into each other’s arms, happier than they could ever imagine. They had worked so hard and got the win they had hoped for!
But oh, the Gray. Many were stunned, shell-shocked, and some fell to the ground in tears. They worked so hard too but did not get the win they had hoped for.
The disappointment did not go unnoticed by Red. They turned to their Gray brothers with outstretched hands and heartfelt hugs. The Captains embraced and everyone headed to Trickey Pond to wash away the competition.
Our waters truly are magical. After jumping into the lake with friends, Skylemar is one! We now bleed both Red and Gray, just as a band of brothers should.
The weather stayed steamy hot, right through our beloved Waterfront Ceremony. The Captains led the torch-lit procession, adding each cabin to the line along the way as we walked silently down to Trickey. It was an enchanting setting at the Waterfront, with a spectacularly-colored bonfire in the middle of the lake.
Shep and the Captains spoke, reminding all to be grateful for those at home and here who made this Skylemar summer possible. Thinking about others is also what our Wishing Boats are all about. Our tradition holds that if you place one in the lake and make a wish for someone other than yourself, it just might come true. See, the water really is magical.
But this time, Mother Nature had other plans. Although the heat-lightning was far in the distance, the winds whipped up, and we thought it best to head back to the cabins. Meanwhile, Blake and his crew delivered pizza and treats to all. The ceremony may have been cut short, but an “in-the-bunk” party was a happy way to “play the cards we were dealt”. It was a fantastic night no matter what!