Another summer here at camp nears an end. A couple weeks ago I observed an interesting phenomenon with my self. I finished up coaching as I usually do and heading down toward the cafeteria. I had not bothered to try and remember what day it was so I had no idea what was for dinner. When I entered the cafeteria I saw that it was Sloppy Joe day and became really excited. So much so that I posted to Facebook about how excited I was.
Reflecting back why was I so excited for Sloppy Joes? It is a dish I could easily get and cook when back in the real world but I rarely do so why was I so excited about it now?
In years past the most popular dinner here at camp was the chicken wings on Thursday night. There would be a line around the building just to get in to get some wings on Thursdays. This year since they were so popular they camp decision makers decided to make wings a daily side dish. This means that it was available every lunch and dinner making them seemingly abundant to the campers and staff.
Now on Thursdays there is no line around the building. You can just stroll up and grab some wings with out standing in line.
Filling The Other 9 Months:
Often times during the deep Wisconsin winters I find myself wishing that I camp would go year round. In my imagination it sounds like heaven but then my logical brain kicks in and I realize the reality of it.
I am not sure I could physically survive it. When I leave camp after week 12 each year I am in better physical shape then I am the rest of the year. Lifting 100 Lb kids 100+ times a day over and over again is beats out pretty much any other work out I do the rest of the year. Combine that with my training regimen and I am in great shape.
But is it really sustainable. Any professional athlete knows that you cant run your engine in the red for to long before you start to break down. As I write this it is the end of week 10. Because I am nearing physical exhaustion I am seeing an increase in injuries I am incurring:
- A bruised right wrist from spotting a Tsuk Vault run amuck
- Strained the top of my right foot from playing molecule tag during warm-ups(a silly injury).
- Strained my left bicep from spotting beginner giant circles on bars
Luckily they are all fairly simple injuries but injuries I have not frequently incurred until this late in the summer when physical fatigue kicks in.
The last thing I want to do is in habit a campers experience here because I cannot spot them due to complete physical exhaustion so perhaps it is a good thing I don't run in the red all year long. I need time off from this amount of physical activity or at least to switch it up to a different type or pace.
Camp is also mentally exhausting. Working 6 days a week and some days coaching starting at 9 AM and ending at 830 PM. Yes there are breaks in between sessions but during those breaks I have to plan for our next mandatory practice and whichever coaching clinics I have been assigned. Coaching clinics are classes that I teach to other coaches on how to coach and each one requires a fair amount of prep time.
Even when your are not coaching you are almost constantly on. As I walk campus I have to keep my eyes open for campers getting into trouble or carelessly discarded peaces of trash left by campers to be picked up. So you are always on alert when on campus even when your not working.
I have made friends from all around the world while at camp. Friends in England, Denmark, Iceland, even small former Soviet countries I cannot spell the names of. Friends from all walks of life including skateboarder, photographers, rich, and poor, famous and nameless, young and old. Everyone is here to have fun and make the campers experience amazing.
The thing is you are almost never alone at camp, constantly surrounded by other campers and coaches. Eventually and understandably you start to want little peace, quite, and privacy. Luckily I have acquired my own room at camp which helps. Also I wake up before most others do to get some morning gym time to reflect then head up to my favorite spot to work from to do some writing. Because of these things I typically do not suffer from Social Overload the same way I suffer physical and mental exhaustion.
All good things must come to an end for me to survive:
Let me make this very clear I AM NOT COMPLAINING. As a matter of fact this whole article is me realizing another amazing thing about camp that I had previously overlooked. I love all these aspects of camp. It is why I look forward to coming here the other 9 months of the year. I am merely pointing out that to much of a good thing can have the opposite effect. With that said I finally realize that it is a good thing that camp ends.
A word from the wise(Not me):
Another person I am fortunate enough to socialize with is the original founder of the camp. Now 71 he is in amazing physical condition. I actually saw him do a full twisting layout on tramp a couple of weeks ago. He had a spotting belt on for safety but from the looks of it he did not need it. He also seems to live what I would consider an ideal life for a person in their seventies.
I have taken it upon myself to get as much information on how a person that seems so ageless has and maintains such an amazing life. One of the topics we discussed was how he spent the various seasons of his life. In the Summer he lives here in a modest house on a hill atop the camp he founded 45 years ago. He strolls down for meals and to socialize with the camp staff and campers. I often times catch him in the weight room here at camp doing a leisurely but none the less impressive workout.
During our conversations I discovered that in the winter he heads out to Arizona. During his stay in Arizona he alternates days in the weight room with days spent hunting with his dog in the Arizona mountains. He attributes walking up and down those mountains 3 days a week all winter to his physical fitness.
This also illustrates something I hold in high esteem in life. A habit I highlight when people ask me about my own training regimen and success in life: Consistency
Camp's founder, at his age, is physically active in multiple ways every day of the week. But what happens when consistency becomes mundane and tedious. As I write this I am enjoying what can only be described as an amazing view of the surrounding mountains with horses running. Its hard to imagine this view becoming mundane but I could see it happening if I wasn't careful.
He said it best him self "There is something about the fact I can only do it part of the year. It makes it special."
As a counter to his story he then went on to tell me a story about one of his friends that happened to be an early mentor/roll model of mine who ran another branch of the camp in Wisconsin. His friend used to love to water ski. He would do it all of the time when the opportunity was scarce. Then he ended up buying a beautiful lake house with a dock so he could go anytime. A little while after that he stopped water skiing. Perhaps the excitement wore off since he could do it when ever he wanted.
My life needs Seasons:
The biggest thing I think I may have learned from this summer is that my life needs seasons. It needs consistency but it also needs change to prevent life from becoming mundane.
This is obviously not a completely new concept. In books like The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
can remember the people saying things like "We winter in XYZ but we summer in ABC". In my mind the concept seems somewhat foreign to the modern American 9-5 office lifestyle but it is something I plan on adopting in the future.
As much as I love Wisconsin it is probably time I "winter" somewhere else. I am thinking Austin, Texas sounds good during January - April.