It’s talked about all winter long. The buzz had filled the air about the time their feet first hit these hallowed grounds back in June. The staccato countdown began at Rec Hall meals 10 days prior to the start, reaching a crescendo at last Thursday’s Election. Then four days of head-to-head divisional play, and finally, the day they’d been waiting for, longing for, even aching for … was here.
It began like every other these past 5 days, but today felt different. It was different. Gray had been knocking at the door since late in Day 1, and Red just refused to let them pass. Each and every time Gray came within an eyelash of the lead, Red stood strong. But today, this was it, there was no tomorrow.
And they played like it. Gray jumped out first with a quick pitcher’s-duel win in one Cubs Baseball game. However, Red rallied for 2 runs in the bottom of the last inning to win game 2, then further padded their lead with a win in Seniors Tennis. Red victories in Sophomore Soccer and Junior Football built the lead further and put Gray seemingly on the brink. Undaunted, Gray got rolling as their Tigers won the last two matches to carry Golf. Then, Gray Stars led by Captain Jalen edged Shuey and his Red Stars by a deuce on the Upper court, and dominated game 2 down below, bringing Gray back into contention as all headed to lunch, with the outcome still very much in doubt.
Like nearly every other for the last 71 years, this year’s winner would be decided at Color War’s final, and certainly most intense event – TUGS OF WAR.
After a well-deserved rest hour, each team met privately for the final time before all gathered at the Snow Field for this annual closing activity. The tension and excitement had reached a fever pitch when Shep called the two Captains up front, reviewed the process, then addressed the crowd. He explained that it would take winning two out of three “pulls” to win the “tug" points for each division. Gray faced an uphill battle but maintained a swagger that defied their position – like they knew something we didn’t, that even after coming up a bit short up to this point, there was a renewed energy and confidence that they could pull it off. Red felt they had weathered the storm and was now set to finish the job.
One by one, each division tugged with all its might, displaying an inner strength unknown even to themselves, digging deeper than ever before, straining for what seemed like forever. Muscles exploded, veins popped, expressions of agony and joy nearly looked the same. All in attendance yelled and cheered wildly in recognition of the combatants and their Herculean efforts. After the first tug was complete for each division, the second round would begin to tell the story… and that it did as Gray swept the Stars, Senior, and Juniors Tugs and was now primed to steal Red’s glory. The Sophomores split their first two tugs before the Red Tigers put some much needed juice back into Red’s cause by bringing them within 1 tug of victory, with just the Cubs division left to go. And valiant as Gray was, the littlest Red guys were just too strong, and won it all for this year’s champ – the Mighty RED TEAM.
The emotion shared by all was overwhelming. Tears flowed from both teams as they hugged in exhaustive relief, showering each other with love and respect. A few hundred onlookers did the same. In just a few short minutes, Skylemar was once again one – joined together as both Captains were raised onto the shoulders of those that gave them maybe their greatest week ever….and headed to Trickey where the entire camp basked in the afterglow of one amazing War.
It was as if the clouds held in the rain until camp was reunited. The spaghetti dinner was delicious, and especially joyful. Even the temporary loss of electricity due to high winds didn’t get in the way of the laughter and happy conversation.
Our traditional Waterfront Ceremony had to be adjusted due to weather but was fabulous just the same. Instead of going to the waterfront, the entire Skylemar family gathered on the Rec Hall floor, with a roaring campfire projected on to the screen. Not bad!
Captains Jalen and Shuey each spoke, and although said differently, their message was the same: be grateful for Skylemar and cherish every minute.
Waterfront Ceremony would not be complete without wishing boats placed in the lake. Well… we came close. On the porch were six wading pools, filled with Trickey Pond water. Every camper, counselor and guest were given a boat-shaped block of wood with a candle on top, to place in the water while making a wish. The legend holds that if you make the wish for someone other than yourself, it might just come true.
Back at the cabin there was a pizza party (with campfire-less s’mores), celebrating one of the last nights together for many days. More to come in 2020!
Heard this today…
“I can’t wait to go home but I never want camp to end”, said Logan G.
Only at Skylemar.