The One Hundred-and-Thirty-Fourth Chart (Spurts)

July 18, 2014

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these special summer camp Spurts from this last week, readers!

This week the kids attended their first-ever soccer camp. Outside of P.E. in school they’ve never participated in any sports, so we thought signing them up for a group sport would help them exercise a different set of social muscles. In truth I didn’t know what to expect, and I was curious about what this week would bring.

On Tuesday I picked up the kids, and they bubbled with excitement.

“Our team won!” they exclaimed.

In a scrimmage the girls played on the same team, and their team scored four goals to the other team’s two. The effervescence filled the car as the kids kept chattering about the game and what skills they’d learned that day. I felt impressed. Maybe my bookish kids could turn into athletes after all.

I turned onto the highway, and Eight piped up from the back.

“I feared we wouldn’t get that fourth goal,” she said.

Ah, well. Maybe a little bookishness can help with sports.

***

On Wednesday the girls got into the car and told me about one of the other campers. This little boy apparently kept complaining about the way his teammates played. Six in particular didn’t appreciate the fact that he never passed the ball to her.

“Hey, [Six], no offense, but when you ran past him, he said, ‘You’re no good.’”

“Hey!” Six said, protesting.

“[Eight]!” I said. “Don’t say that.”

“I’m just repeating what he said.”

“I know,” I said, “but you don’t need to repeat negative comments from other people.”

All three of us sat quietly for a few moments. Then Six spoke in a much calmer voice.

“Well, he didn’t say it to me, so it’s okay.”

Mentally I wiped my forehead in relief. Tantrum averted by her own common sense. Genius. I wonder if I can find a way to bottle this moment and release it in the future when I need it.

***

Our van really needs a solid cleaning, but I haven’t had the chance to make it to the car wash. My innumerable duties haven’t deterred the kids from pointing out how dirty the car is. I heard about it again yesterday as we drove to camp in the morning.

“Well, both of you have toothbrushes,” I said, glancing at the kids in the rearview mirror. “You can just bring those to the car and get started.”

“My toothbrush is $500,” Eight quipped. “If you have the money you can take it.”

“Yeah, I don’t think so,” I told her.

“My toothbrush is $5565,” Six said.

Okay, so I have no idea where she got that amount, but I figured I’d bite.

“What is your brush made of, diamonds?”

“No,” Eight said, and I could practically hear the eye roll. “It’s just made of plastic. And you know you’ll have to get rid of it eventually, [Six.] And it’s going to be a long time before you get an electric toothbrush like me.”

“So?” Six challenged her. “It’s precious to me.”

And there you have it, folks. It doesn’t matter what one’s toothbrush is made of. What matters is how much it’s worth in your heart.

***

Yesterday after camp I found the girls full of excitement once again.

“Guess what?” Six said, bouncing on her toes. “I was the goalie, and no one scored any goals!”

Wow, a no-scoring game after only four days of camp. I wondered for a moment if we needed to find a way to get a hold of Tim Howard. Maybe, I thought, he and Six could exchange notes.

“So you kept the ball from going in?” I asked her as we walked out the door.

“No,” she said nonchalantly. “No one tried to kick the ball into the goal. That’s why no one scored.”

I have to say, I admire her honesty.

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