J. Zachary S., Age 15
The whole camp was gathered together at the volleyball court. Rumors about what was going to happen next were floating around the crowd, each person with three different hypotheses (for most of the campers were Jewish). Multiple excellent questions were sounded, all of which the tribe leaders could not answer – I will leave it to the reader to decide whether this “could” was the past tense of “may” or “can.” Suddenly, a voice among the buzzing crowd became prevalent. All the campers grew silent, as this voice was surely the voice that would confirm one of the hypotheses. Still a few chatty voices lingered until their conversation came to an appropriate pause. Then, Streetlight announced that we would be having a water balloon volleyball tournament. The buzz of voices immediately resumed though many of these voices turned from chatting to cheering. Those who were chatting boasted to others about their accurate hypotheses, or reluctantly admitted that they were wrong, showing an awkward regret that they had predicted incorrectly and for comfort, tried to predict the event after water balloon volleyball. At any rate, all were excited about the upcoming event and were looking forward to the details of the game. Thus, all quieted when Moose in his excited, cracking voice told the campers that the cabins would make up the teams and (waving his hands, for here was climax of the excitement) added that we were using the blooming Double Bracket Elimination System.
The legendary Maverick had invented this and, when completed, famously stated, “Through the use of math, I have invented a system.” 🙂 Truly, the Double Bracket Elimination System looked like a table of algorithms. Sonic had copied this table for use during the game. Soon, the game started, and two tribes proudly entered their own side with thoughts of tactics and technique running through their minds, most of which were either far-fetched or would contribute a trifling difference for the game. Nonetheless, some of these invented ideas were adopted (eventually by all the teams, for all were watching, their minds split between analysis of the plays and excitement), the most effective of which I will go over here.
The most important technique was to make sure that the campers and tribe leaders holding the part of the tarp nearest the net hold it high, while those holding it farthest from the tarp keep it low, so that when the water balloon was launched, these people far from the net could have as much vertical space as possible to lift the tarp. If done correctly, the balloon should go far (instead of high), being launched like a rock on a catapult. Since it would not go high but it would go far, this left the enemy team less time to follow the balloon and catch it. Why didn’t the enemy team simply be farther away, as they would have to run anyways? Well, one could simply launch the balloon barely over the net, and, since the distance is shorter, the balloon would fall faster, thus creating lots of attention and fret over the small strip of sand around the net, and not letting any team go too far from it. This catapultic technique was further extended to include the horizontal direction of where the balloon went. The “launchers” (those farther from the net) who were at the corners of the tarp were key to this technique. For example, a launcher on the right corner lifted the tarp extra fast with increased gusto, if that was even possible for a human to do. The balloon would then fly left. Another tactic (that may have not been too good) which people – especially the boys – used was that when a balloon was caught, the team would immediately throw it to the other side, hopefully before they recover from the excitement. The problem with this that the team throwing was usually the more excited team (for they had caught the balloon!). The throws were often unorganized and not coordinated. Meanwhile, the other team was often inspired (by their failure to win a point) to be on their vigil, and would thus often catch it. But in some cases, the throwing team succeeded with a cheer of joy, while the enemy team looked at each other in disbelief. Such was the glorious extent of the amazing inventions of the campers and tribe leaders.
For the first game, Onyx and Eyegore’s cabin went against Sauté’s and Hoop’s cabin. Onyx and Eyegore’s team constantly threw the balloons just barely over the net, and though this surprised the other team a few times it did not work out well later. Meanwhile, Hoop’s and Sauté’s team won, because they threw the balloons far using the catapult method. Thus Sauté’s and Hoop’s cabin won, and most of the other cabins immediately learned from the game. After many close and glorious games, the Double Bracket Elimination System eventually filled up and Simba and Doc’s cabin went against Acorn’s and Waffles’ cabin. The games they played (two games as the system demanded) were both close and many times the balloon fell on the ground. In the end Acorn’s and Waffles’ team won.
After this glorious tournament the male staff played against the female staff. The game was a short skirmish and though the female staff received more cheerleading from the female campers, the male staff emerged victorious, happy to be the winners of a close game. All went back to their respective cabins, the buzz of the chatting resuming again.