Thank God the Olympics are finally over.
Every time I heard the theme from “Chariots of Fire” I had the urge to jump up and run in slow motion around the living room.
Drove the dog nuts.
And speaking of games....
“What kind of games did you play in gym class back in the day,” our 7-year-old son asked one day.
First of all, let’s ignore that fact he actually threw out the phrase “back in the day.”
That hurts, and I just don’t wanna discuss it.
So after rattling off a list of the classics like Dodge Ball and Kick Ball and Red Rover, I added, “We played King of the Mountain too.”
His eyes got THIS BIG and he asked with awe, “What is that?”
I clapped my hands in excitement and began my tale of terror, totally oblivious to my husband wildly waving his hands in the air behind our son.
“First, you’d find the tallest piece of equipment on the playground then climb on top of it.”
My husband slapped a palm to his forehead and slumped his shoulders in defeat.
My son leaned forward in anticipation and nodded in an “OK, I got you so far” kinda way.
I smiled and continued, “Then you say, ‘I’m the king of the castle, you’re the dirty rascal.’ Then everyone else, one at a time, tries to throw you off.”
I then explained about the center of gravity and how best to beat a person twice your size, how to use a person’s strength against him and how to grab a wrist, twist, then toss.
I threw out my arms and concluded, “Last person standing is crowned King of the Mountain.”
I would have added a “ta-da” on the end, but that didn’t seem very royal.
My son’s response was a well-articulated and excited, “No way.”
I nodded, “Yes way.” I smiled in fond recollection and sighed, “It. Was. Awesome.”
I looked over at my husband and finally noticed the “What in the hell are you doing?” expression that covered his face.
I shrugged and squealed, “What?” with more than a little exasperation. I was only answering a simple question after all, not giving up the Colonel’s secret recipe or anything.
He cocked his head toward our son and whispered, “Do you really think you should be giving him ideas?”
And then it finally dawned on me.
This is the 21st century, my friend. Where kids wear bike helmets and have car seats and use sunscreen every day. All good habits, of course, but compared to our childhood...it’s like they’re bundled in plastic wrap every morning before we shove them out the door.
For heaven’s sake, their playground equipment is built on top of feather pillows nowadays.
And here I was. In an age of participation ribbons and where nobody keeps score ‘cuz someone’s feelings are gonna get hurt, I sat there, giving him the keys to the kingdom and what was sure to be a one-way ticket to the principal’s office.
How stupid were we?
Throwing each other off cracked, metal frames at least 8 feet in the air. With nothing but a sea of cement below us.
It was time to abdicate the throne.
I couldn’t backtrack fast enough. I looked at my son, stern expression in place and ordered, “But that’s not a game you should play because someone could get hurt.”
Since that’s not the first time he’s heard those words, he nodded wisely and agreed, “Gotcha.”
And that was the point my better half spoke up, “Well, some kids played it on top of a big snow pile, you know, so no one got hurt.” He added, “When you pushed someone down, he just rolled to the bottom. No big deal.”
I snorted a not-so-lady-like snort, rolled my eyes and added, “Yeah. Wusses. Wusses played on snow.”
And that’s when I offended his Man Gene.
“Oh, it’s on,” he said, rolling up his sleeves and heading for the door.
I jumped in excitement. The king is dead.
Long live the queen.