The summer before 7th grade I went to an overnight lacrosse camp at Georgia Tech. This was four days and three nights of no parental supervision whatsoever! Sure there were mandatory practices, but whenever I was off the field I was a free man. My camp experience was pretty typical. I made new friends, stayed up too late, and learned some lacrosse along the way. Despite the fact that I was at lacrosse camp, the main lesson I learned was about nutrition.
It all started with a dare, a double-dog dare. So there was no way I could dismiss it and leave my honor intact. Some teammates and I were eating dinner before the third and final practice of the day. We were exhausted, but we were young and playing lacrosse so we couldn’t care less. Someone created a monumental pile of cafeteria french fries as the communal fry plate. Everyone knew how much I liked french fries, so a buddy of mine bet me to eat the entire serving of fries. Keep in mind that this “serving” could feed about five people.
I agreed on the spot, knowing I had about forty-five minutes to digest everything before practice. I amassed a large amount of ketchup and chowed down. Fifteen minutes later I was certain my parents would be proud of me for I cleaned the entire plate! With the iron stomach of a 7th grader I was out the cafeteria door towards my dorm to gear up. Completely unaware of the coming disaster.
The turf was scorching. My cleats were sticking to the ground as the soles melted onto the synthetic grass. With the sun beating down, everyone was suffering, but I still felt pretty good. We practiced for about thirty minutes before the coaches decided to scrimmage. I cleared the ball up and immediately felt something inside me lurch. I clamped my mouth shut and beelined for the sideline, wretched my helmet off and upchucked every single fry I ate at dinner. I barfed, heaved, puked, regurgitated, and retched everything in my stomach until I had created my own technicolor rainbow on the turf.
Remarkably, I cleaned myself up and finished the scrimmage without too much difficulty, and I learned two very valuable lessons. First, my mom would never had let me eat that much food before a lacrosse game. Not having parental supervision at camp gave me freedom to indulge my dietary whims to my detriment. Second, I learned this lesson entirely on my own because I paid for my mistake. The beauty of overnight camps is they give kids the opportunity to screw up and learn life lessons away from their parents.
So learn from my mistake if you are going to an overnight camp this summer, and avoid eating at least one hour before a lacrosse game. Oh, one more thing, I did win the bet!
Featured Image Credit – recipes.howstuffworks.com