What Would Billy Do?

Color War descended on Camp TT last night. I’m sitting on my hammock to write this, and the white team is gathered down by the dining hall practicing their chants, while the blue is practicing up in the gym. They are picking team names and getting groups together to work on their banners and songs, which will be revealed at the end of the war. Many of them are chanting “What would Billy do?” in honor of Billy Mathis.

To get everyone up to speed: The Purple Nurples faced off against the Orange Crush at Free Swim yesterday afternoon for Superbowl IV. Mike Conti and Dean Lawless commentated, counselors Spanky, Ryan, and Jacqui coached, and Emma, Mike Hertlein and Brownie refereed, while a bunch of us sat on the sidelines and cheered. It was a fantastic game. Myi’s cheerleaders did all sorts of excellent cheerleady stuff. And here’s how the final action unfolded (I’ll do my best to explain this in a legitimately sporty way): In the last minute and a half, Tucker Sullivan completed a touchdown to bring the Purple Nurples up to 24, right behind the Orange Crush with 28 points. However, it wasn’t enough to snatch the victory. The Orange Crush held onto their four-point lead until the closing whistle, then started jumping on each other and hugging, gathering around their trophy. They sprayed bottles of sparkling apple juice all over themselves, and Nick Kracov was voted MVP for throwing four touchdowns. Awesome!

There was a spaghetti-eating competition at dinner featuring three teams of siblings: the Gersh’s, the Wolfes and the Hertleins. One sibling held the spaghetti while the other ate straight out of their hands. The Hertleins won.

After dinner, we all waited eagerly for the play. I could hear the actors doing their last rehearsal in the rec. hall, and as I walked past, I saw them in a circle holding hands and having a pep talk. A minute later they came running out onto the deck in their 50’s costumes and perched on the railing, yelling across the field for the bell to ring. The whole camp converged onto the hall, where we squeezed inside and, after a few minutes, quieted down.

The actors came in one by one, snapping their fingers, and It Happened at the Snack Bar was off to a great start. There were excellent solos by Maddie Lawrence, Alyssa Mendelson, and Kenna Hinton. Maddie and counselor Chris shared a duet. Tori Kovelman and Eric Morrel played a frosh and an upperclassman in love. Julz Meier and Jake Shapiro played two martians who come and teach everyone a crazy martian song. A few of the boys (Grant Amar, Ben Mendehlson, Eric Morrell, Mike Hertlein and Chris Brown–led by Quinn Morrow and James Winston) sang a funny song about wanting cool cars. Olivia Seltzer, Nicole Sullivan, Tori, and Hannah Rosen did a song about being freshman girls.

Lots more music and too many funny bits to mention followed. Halfway through the last song, with the whole cast singing, the backup music on the stereo happened to cut out, and the cast finished the rest of the song a cappella, louder and with even more energy than before. It was a great moment. We’re grateful to counselor Karina, the whole cast (including several counselors who joined in), and everyone who helped paint the set for making the play such a success.

It was dark by the time the show was over, and we poured out of the rec. hall and into the gym for the art show. The lights suddenly went out and the ‘ghosts’ rushed in. The kids started jumping up and down and screaming, because everyone knew, it was time for ghost court.

Ghost court is a special tradition at camp. I don’t want to give too much away about how it all goes down, but it’s all about crime and punishment, and a spooky character called Judge Mookie. This session’s crimes and punishments are as follows:

The boys of Cabin B: For using their cabin as a sports arena, they must now practice etiquette and politeness throughout the day by speaking in a British accent, and asking their cabin each time they want to go inside “Sir, may I enter?”

The girls of tent group 1: As punishment for never going to bed on time, they will have to help put the girls of cabins A and B to bed tonight.

Cabins 7 and 8 (called Cabin Seventy-Eight): For talking about girls too much, they must talk only about math and science when they’re in their cabins today.

Olivia Seltzer: For discriminating against ice in her drinks, she must write a formal apology to all ice everywhere. It must be sincere, and she must read it to the dining hall at lunch.

Cabins 1, A and B: For asking too many questions, they must not ask any questions for a whole day, and answer every question anyone asks them with “Because you said so.”

The girls of cabin H: These girls were convicted of not knowing how to share.  They must each write one reason why sharing is good on a shared piece of paper with a shared pen, and recite these reasons at lunch. They also must each share a piece of clothing today. Incidentally, Judge Mookie says that he has three rules in life and one of them is that sharing is cool. He didn’t get to the other two.

The boys of cabin 2: For being too studly and muffiny for their own good, much like greek gods, their punishment is to rename themselves after greek gods for the day.

The boys of cabin 4: For being chatterboxes, they had to find boxes to put on their heads, then make eyeholes, write chatter on the top, and wear these boxes for most of the day.

The girls of cabin G: For having a tendency to be negative, they must start out with a compliment each time they speak to anyone today.

The Jaffe twins: For being twins but being completely opposite, they have to answer all questions for each other today.

The boys’ tents: For being lazy and not very Billy Mathis-like, each of these guys have  to stand up at lunch today and say why camp is the best place on earth.

(James Teasley) Tiz: For having a beard. Today he must paint his beard the brightest color he can find.

The CIT 2’s: For constantly oversleeping (Judge Mookie mentioned that he himself is an early riser), they had to serve breakfast this morning, and say to every person “And a good morning to you, too.”

Counselor Chris Brown: For not being the famous, dancing Chris Brown from MTV. Today at lunch he must perform a choreographed number to Fergie’s “My Humps.”

Finally, four counselors–Ryan Hertlein, Eileen, Steve  and Staci–were called up to the front of the court, accused of having too much energy and of being…Color War Generals! The four ripped off their regular clothes to reveal blue and white clothes underneath, the ghosts spun their flashlights around like strobes, and the campers went crazy, jumping up and swarming around the generals. Those who have been to camp before and knew what team they would be on (14 years after I was in my first color war, I’m still a white) started chanting for their teams. After playing some loud music, the generals started announcing team members over the mic and everyone cheered for each name. I walked off before they were done.  From the opposite hill you could see all these shadows dancing around across the way. Eventually I got into bed in my cabin and listened to them all trail home in a giant group, singing and chanting.

Phew, a long blog….More tomorrow!