I don’t know who was more excited--me or the group of 12-year-olds surrounding me.
After two years of fundraising and countless hours of practice, we had finally made it to the front gate of The Ripken Experience - Cal and Billy Ripken’s Dream Baseball Park in Myrtle Beach, SC.
We were all signed up and paid (thank God) to compete in the weeklong national baseball tournament on fields nicer than we had ever played on.
It was very big league--complete with opening and closing ceremonies, announcers for all our games and the opportunity to talk with and take a picture with the Iron Man himself (Cal Ripken).
Of course, this was also South Carolina in July--so it was hot. Damn hot.
And this is where I relearned a lesson from my youth--water, sun and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly.
Each morning, we’d head to the park and play one or two games. As soon as the last game ended, we would rush headlong for the beach and, after a few hours there, rush back to wash all the saltwater off in the pool.
The kids literally played four hours of baseball and swam for a minimum of four more each day. Needless to say, we did not compete as well as the teams that outlawed swimming, but we didn’t care. We had fun--lots and lots of fun. Our experience in the water--thousands of miles away from home swimming in the ocean/pool with our best buds--was awesome.
It made us a better team and, if I dare be so bold, it made us better people. I mean, how can you not stand up for someone who taught you how to catch ghost crabs or ride a boogie board?
And that’s the true power of water--and all the water attractions and activities you provide for your patrons.
It’s also why this issue--our Annual Aquatics issue--is one of my favorites every year.
As I sit here watching the sun play peak-a-boo with my emotions (it is spring in Ohio--which means wild swings between 70 and sunny and 40 and rainy), I get to work on an entire issue devoted to the essence of summer fun.
We’re talking pools, spraygrounds, splash pads, and my personal favorite, beaches.
Of course, no issue would be complete without the creative stylings of Randy Gaddo (A Slice of Life – Take away the toys and force employees to think on page 37), Ron Ciancutti (A Stereotypical Stab in the Dark on page 59) and Fred Engh (Sizing up Scoring on page 58).
All in all, another great effort. Let me know what you think.
Till next month….
Rodney J. Auth
PS: To kick-off our 10th Anniversary, we’re giving away 10,000 FREE listings in the PRB Day Camp Guide. Log on to www.prbdaycampguide.com to create your FREE listing today. Or, fill out and fax back the form on the cover of this magazine. Enjoy!