Friday, July 21, 2006

A much better field trip.

Last weekend I was sh*tting my pants about this trip.
I thought that it was going to happen on Tuesday. On Tuesday the weather in New York hit a roasty-toasty 103 degrees. If I had been sitting at a ballpark with 40 children I would have expected to spend at least almost all day in the emergency room with heat related concerns. Added to which, those who did not succumb to 'the stroke' would have whined all day about how effin hot it was, there is nothing Mondale likes less than whining children, that and a lack of initiative, and bad manners.

So I was quite pleased, verging on the almost very happy when I discovered that I had been a fool and had misread the dates. I'm big enough to admit my mistake, I think that admitting mistakes shows that you are a fallible and realistic person, There is nothing Mondale likes less than those who won't admit their own mistakes.

Thursday rolls around, the temperatures have plopped down to a cool and breezy 81 degrees and we are all set for a gorgeous day of baseball related/Coney Island based fun as the Brooklyn Cyclones take on some team we have never heard of and have now forgotten (oh, the joys of minor league baseball for the casual fan!)

You know how I feel about those yellow buses, Contempt is a kingdom which holds no valley deep enough, no stinking wretched cave low enough for my bruised soul as far as the yellow bus is concerned. So it was with some surprise that the bus arrived on time, with a friendly (if mildly OCD) driver who insisted on cleaning the bus before we got on. YES KIDS, HE'S CLEANING THE BUS. TAKE A GOOD LOOK. He also knew exactly where he was going and drove there in a calm and fairly relaxed manner, a bit heavy on the brake but you can't have it all. He went some tiny way to restore my faith in this institution, just a little bit, just maybe.

We arrived at the game in time for the start, what fun, we're not late already!
We approach the Cyclones gate people who usher us in with all our lunches, telling us to eat inside (despite the big signs posted telling us "OUTSIDE FOOD NOT PERMITTED") . The man at the gate with the walkie talkie tells us "You got 40 kids, you're on a budget. we aint gonna charge you $5 for a hotdawg, take your lunches inside, have a great day".

( This was a complete turnabout from our trip last year to the Staten Island Yankees when we were refused entry until our children had eaten their lunches AND disposed of any leftovers. We were made to eat in a scorching parking lot with no shade. We were not even aloud to bring bottled water into the game. Apparently The SI Yankees stadium is a major terrorist target and any one of our 4-8 year olds could have been concealing explosives, that and they wanted to rip us off with their food.)

Lovely, breezy Keyspan park.

When we got into the game we bumped into King Henry. He's Brooklyn's favourite overweight children's entertainer. He did a gig at our camp last year and started greeting the kids as we waited to find our seats. he gave the kids some free stuff and joked and did his thing. I like King Henry. As a professional educator it's easy to be snobby about the world of Kid's entertainment but I think I know a good thing when I see it. King Henry is a great guy, a lovely way with the kids and he's also pretty funny for the adults, and he remembers things, not individual's names exactly (come on, there were 500 kids at the game, be reasonable) but stuff about our school and our neighborhood. The kids like that. I like that.

Throughout the game the Cyclones people were strolling about throwing all manner of free stuff at the kids, snacks, squidgy balls, Tshirts. Bloody marvellous.

After a few innings in our rather nice seats (way to go summer camp! no scrimping there!!) we decided to hit the beach, the youngest kids were getting figetty and despite the cool beeze and nice temperatures we were all getting a bit sunstroked.

The ragged sands of Coney Island with Jungle gym.
During the singing during the stretching we discovered a golden tonsilled young camper. He just wouldon't let go when siinging along with the Cyclones 'Hands" song "HANDS, TOUCHING HANDS, REACHING OUTTTT, TOUCHING MEEEEEEE, TOUCHING YOUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!" The rest of us all sat staring at him as he belted out what was obviously his all time favourite song.
We strolled out just after the seventh inning* stretch, made our way onto the beach and played for an hour on the jungle gym.
The kids loved it, I stood between them and the sea and all was fine.
I gotta tell you, it all worked, the bus, the kids, the ballgame. A day of simple, simple pleasures.

*Good job we left when we did as the game went to a mammoth 26 innings!!!! I think that might be a record.

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