One of the drawbacks of my job is that it can, on occasion, require me to spend precious time playing lots of fun games with kids.
And often, I am better at the games than the kids are. This gives me an exercise in humility because I often want to display my dominance, put them in their place, and make known to all my vast superiority in whatever game we're playing. Especially to cocky 10-year-olds.
(Note: Sometimes they are better than me at certain games. I will not be addressing such scenarios today.)
Generally, I have to tone it down and remember that the playing field is not level. I have been gifted with a decade or more of additional experience and, to a lesser extent, a more athletic frame and larger brain. But mostly the additional experience. I typically temper the walloping I hand them based on the disparity in our skills. That's fair.
And yet, there is a flip side to that coin of justice.
Not every game is fair. Not every game needs to be fair. Sometimes, the result is important and hard work and preparation and skill and talent should be rewarded, and one team should be crowned a champion while the others are given something to aspire to.
Like little league baseball. And athletics in general. For me, it was high school marching band.
But 4-way Beach Ball Soccer is not one of those times. Camp games don't often require preparation and practice by the participants, and the reward is often inconsequential or candy-related. Justice, in camp games, really just means that every kid has fun.
Hence, it is often my role as a self-moderating participant to become the Great Equalizer.
My team is getting pummeled, and kids are losing interest? Better help us catch up and keep it interesting.
We're way too far ahead and kids on the other team have started to wail in embarrassment? My defense might suddenly tank.
A few kids are dominating and need to be neutralized? I'm on it.
It's pretty gratifying to become an instrument of justice. When I put a kid in his place, there might be a fist pump or two and I might walk a little taller, with a little more swagger. And yes, it might be just 4-way Beach Ball Soccer, but justice has nevertheless been served.
And that, friends, is what it's all about.