The other night I went to the Red Sox game. I love going to the Sox games. While I sit at the park, I slow down and relax. Let me think. Oh yes – Jewish Overnight Summer Camp! There are many parallels between Major League Baseball and summer camps. How ‘bout that? [Name the baseball reference and win a prize!]
I will start with Training Camp. Coaches and managers arrive. Then pitchers and catchers report at the parks before other players. Then the rest of the team eventually shows up and the chemistry begins to percolate. The hope and plan is that it all gels before the home opener when the fans show up completing the picture.
At camp, Directors and Administrators arrive. Then the kitchen staff. Then staff. Then CIT’s. Directors train and prepare. And finally – the biggest fans, the campers show up ready to take the field (which we all only dream about doing in the MLB)!
Preseason has ended. Now, the regular season gets going. There are games, hot dogs, and sunshine in the summer months. Teams form natural rivalries and the spirit of competition heats up. When Camp Avoda plays Camp Bauercrest, it’s like Boston vs. New York. Each team has a rich history and a desire to win. Everyone gives it their all.
Directors strategically maneuver their staff and designate their line-ups. We want to make sure the right people are covering the correct bases. We want to get ahead in the count and make sure everyone is safe. We don’t balk at challenges. We plan activities we know will be a hit. We look out for curve balls and make sure the play is fair, not foul.
The 7th inning begins and you watch the home team play some defense. Then, the game is almost over. So we do what any camper and staff member would do: we stand up, stretch and sing a song with our arms around our neighbors. At Fenway, singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame is akin to the Camp Avoda Alma Mater.
At the end of the season, baseball has a Pennant Race and the playoffs. Teams gear up and perform at a higher level. Fans go a little nutty and pay close attention. At Avoda, this is called Color War. I know other camps have these events as well as Maccabia Games. Jewish Summer Camps have our own playoffs and world champions. It’s the biggest stage and campers try their hardest. They root the loudest. We add to our storied history each summer and winners – while likely do not get rings, they do get bragging rights for life, the highest honor.
So, next time you are watching a baseball game, consider the sights, sounds and traditions and think about summer camp where we root, root, root for the home team. Then, consider one very important item: Who’s on first?
(Is your son almost ready to be on first (away at camp for a session)? Find out more about the Camp Avoda Weekender Overnight Program from July 15th through the 17th by sending an email to Ronni@CampAvoda.org)