This weekend Bart and I were “platoon leaders” at our stake’s youth conference (basically a weekend of activities for LDS youth, some spiritual and some just for fun). We had a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know some of the teenagers I hadn’t ever met before.
As happens to me so often, most of the teenagers we were with didn’t know I was a leader and thought I was one of them. We were at a center for sick children doing some various labor yesterday morning, and about six of us were in the side yard, sanding down a bunch of child-sized tables and chairs and then staining them. Toward the end, a man came out and asked who the platoon leaders were so he could give us some further instructions about lunch and so on.
I told him I was, and after he’d delivered his message and left, one of the boys – age 14 or 15 – turned to me with his jaw hanging open and said, “I had no idea you were one of the leaders. You look like a kid!”
And then he turned to Bart and asked, “Didn’t you think she was one of the kids when you got here??!!???” Imagine his surprise when Bart told him that, no, he hadn’t thought I was one of the kids since he was, you know, married to me. This time, the poor kid’s jaw was scraping the pavement as he whirled back to me, “You’re MARRIED???”
Story of my life.
One of the activities was a team-building relay course. Our team was matched against another team, both of which had 11 kids, leaving one person from each team without a partner. Each group had a married couple acting as platoon leaders and the wife (R) leading the opposing teams was a really really cute girl about my age with long dark hair. She looked like a movie star even in rolled-up jeans and one of the large conference t-shirts.
They asked me to team up with the kid left without a partner in our group and they asked R to partner with the lone kid on her team, which we both did. We were both the last pair on our team, so we had about fifteen minutes to stand there while the other five teams completed the relay.
The first part of the relay was a three-legged race, so we were all tied up in preparation for that. The boy paired with R, though, took the opportunity to spend the whole fifteen minutes we were standing there to keep his arm around R the entire time, even though there was no actual reason to do so since they were just standing there. Every time I looked over at them, he just casually had his arm around her shoulders, looking like it was the best part of the whole weekend (or maybe his life) for him. I’m guessing he was pretending not to know that her husband was standing just three yards behind, watching the whole relay, and probably as amused as I was.
Part of the relay course consisted of putting your forehead on the end of a baseball bat standing on end and spinning around 12 times, before running across the length of the soccer field. After I did it, I was so dizzy that at first I couldn’t even tell which way I was supposed to run and the ground kept bucking in front of me, but I finally found the white painted line and started running along it.
Except it was almost impossible for me to follow the line, and I found myself running almost forty-five degrees away from it.
The leader who was manning the baseball bats kept shouting, “Follow the line! Follow the line!” but I just could not. I tried to lean against the way I was straying, but that only made me zig-zag back and forth as if I was totally drunk.
Better, though, than my friend who ran about two steps and fell right over. She hopped back up, determined to make up the distance between her team and the other team, took another step and fell over again.
It was a phenomenal time, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I’d rather not, however, have the large set of bruises I have on the inside of my knee from the too-tight band we used to tie our legs together for the three legged race.