The best part of my day came as a surprise. We started Leagues playoffs today. And the best part of my day was a beach volleyball game.
Leagues are a summer-long activity campers participate in. Early in the summer, they’re drafted to teams, coached by counselors. Over the course of the summer, their teams compete in traditional sports activities like basketball and hockey. We keep standings and map out a schedule for the summer and the Senior Boys take it to another level with a Draft Night and an All-Star Game. It’s quite an accomplishment to win Leagues. The kids get really into it, and the team that wins it all gets a pizza party this coming week.
A lot of times, Leagues contests are won by campers sinking big shots and making big plays. But other times, the best Leagues teams have the best coaches. And the best coaches in Leagues are usually the best counselors.
We have a lot of amazing counselors at CGL this summer. They’ve been with your children from the start. Some came to camp from very far away, some came with no camp experience, and some have missed home as much as some of the campers initially did. It wasn’t easy adjusting and learning what BB1 and the Field Office are. But here we are, with one week to go, and the relationships they’ve developed with your children are incredible. They all know what the Canteen is.
They have been the big brothers and big sisters your children will never forget. They’ve taught them things like how to hit a volleyball, how to dribble a ball, how to build a campfire, how to row a canoe. They’ve been the first responders when your children have scraped their knees, been stung by bees, and they’ve been the ones who’ve held their hands when they were scared at night.
I tell my counselors every summer this is one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have, but it’s also the greatest job you’ll ever have. Earlier this summer, a group of new counselors knocked on my door late at night. The kids weren’t listening. They didn’t know what to do. They wanted the kids to like them.
My advice is always the same: if you want the kids to like and respect you, be yourself, get in there, and be a part of what they’re doing.
So there we were today. Sixth period. Beach volleyball. Game 2 of a best-of-three playoff series. One team had won the opening game earlier this morning, a 6-5 overtime win in hockey. Now they were up 1-0 in a three-set volleyball game. Team 2 was lifeless. On the verge of elimination.
And then their coach started coaching. Not Pat Riley-type engineering or anything. Just encouraging. Joking. Saying things his team first started to repeat in mocking fashion, then as a rallying cry. Behind me, another first-year counselor kept score. He knows volleyball, so he officiated, too, kept the peace.
Thanks to the two of those counselors, Joe Moskowitz (Braves) and Joe Price (Yankees) I got to witness the most memorable volleyball game I’ve ever seen. Team 2, coached by Joe Price, came all the way back. They won.
And tomorrow, their season continues on the softball field.
Each week, we try to acknowledge a Counselor of the Week. Joe Price got a COW last night. Joe Moskowitz is going to be in the running for Counselor of the Year. The two of them, and many others, have made such a wonderful, positive impression on this place this summer.
Everyone at beach volleyball is going to remember today’s game.
And the two Joes for their part in making it memorable.