I'd figured I'd take the boys, we'd play on the trampoline for a little bit then maybe play some laser tag. Sure, it'll be fun. Oh boy did I learn a lesson.
Don't get me wrong, it was an enjoyable experience. We paid our admission and got our special, static free, grippy socks and headed to the jumpoline section. At a fast walk we dodged other kids and tried to not break into a run. We didn't want to get kicked out for starting a stampede or something.
So there we were, two little kids and one big one, staring at about 1,000 square feet of jumpoline mats and walls. Yesss! A girl in a referee shirt explained the rules as we entered. "One person at a time per mat; walk on the green between mats..." I'm sure she said more but we were already off at a bounce. Looked like a triplet of Tiggers I bet.
And away we went, bouncing mat to mat. Literally bouncing off the walls and laughing. We get a full hour of this?! And we can go to the other mat and bounce as we play dodgeball?! Sweeeet!
The kids were laughing and bouncing around like kangaroos on meth. I was laughing and bouncing around like a Poohbear with epilepsy.
About 20 minutes in it hit me: I'm old. And big. Takes a lot of energy to get The Incredible Bulk! moving. I'm fighting gravity and inertia and starting to sweat like a hooker in church.
A few minutes later I start to think I may be having a stroke. I work out regularly and I run but this kind of cardio? Pfft. I'm starting to think I should have the coroner on speed dial but by the time I'm going to need them they can probably just take their time getting there.
"Daddy! Daddy! Let's go play dodgeball! Yay!" Oh dear god, child. You're trying to kill me already, aren't you? Wheez.."sure buddy. Let's go!" Wheez.
Already there's a death metal band playing drums in my temples. How apropos. Death seems imminent already. How long's it been? Oh. 22 minutes.
Quick break as we walk 20 feet to the "dodge the ball of death" arena. Another zebra-shirted employee lays out the rules. I take this opportunity to suck in air like a beached carp.
Oh wait, there's good news. I'm the only adult in this section. "Excuse me, sir, are you playing too?", the ref asks. "No. I'd better not. Doesn't seem fair. I'll just stand here and watch." Mercifully I'll get a breather.
And I can reason it out to myself that I'm just trying to keep things fair. I could see myself accidentally braining some kid with a fastball to the face. Then their parents would get all mad and there'd be a lynch mod and stuff. Nah. I'm cool just catching my breath.
As it turns out they must not have dodgeball at my kids' school because they've no idea what they're doing. So there I am yelling encouragement for my offspring to damage people. "Hit him, Hunter! Bean the kid in the red shirt! Yeeeah! There ya go! No mercy! Kill kill kill! Cobra Kai!" Instead Hunter throws the ball at Logan. They're on the same team. And he throws it like he's tossing an infant a cupcake. Yeah, I've got some work ahead of me.
The games are short so the boys play twice before we venture over to the foam pit. Don't worry, I'll show them how this is done. I'll do a couple of back handsprings then a double twist somersault into the foam pit. What really happens is I bounce twice, slip, land on my back where I bounce up and forward and bellyflop into the bits of foam as gravity reminds me of its firm grasp of me. I'm pretty sure I sank most of the way to the bottom. So I try to push off with my feet and swim towards the surface. I'm fairly certain they'd started to raise the alarm before I launched myself skyward like a great white going after a seal off the coast of Africa.
Foam bits flying everywhere, kids screaming in terror, I'm looking like Jaws and The Blob's bastard mutant child. That's when I realize my hat's come off. Better swim back down and fetch it. These poor kids aren't ready for "The Creature From the Foam Lagoon" and shit.
Next up is laser tag. I've never played before. Should be fun. So we get in line. A group of 12 parents gets in ahead then we wait until more people show up. Oh good... I'm now going to be the only adult in my group.
First up, a safety meeting. Seems simple enough to follow the rules. We all agree not to pistol whip each other with the guns and stuff and get divided into teams.
Kids have no sense of humor sometimes, I swear. They got all upset when I jumped off the stairwell screaming "grenaaaade!" It's not like I meant to land on 4 of them. They just happened to be where I was landing. Ok, I didn't really land on a bunch of kids. But I did scare them out of hiding as I lasered them all to fake death.
A 30 minute game of laser tag, running around shooting kids and dodging invisible lasers. I was flat exhausted by the time we finished. Fortunately, this place has an arcade and...wait for it... A BAR! Yesss! I loaded the kids up with video game credits and sat on one of the many sofas with a Corona. That's when it occurred to me. I was the only parent on the jumpolines and playing laser tag with kids. You mean I could've sat here with a beer and let the kids run amok this whole time?! Eh. It was fun anyway. And the kids loved it. We built good memories for us and trauma for others. A perfect day. But I've had a few Coronas now. Maybe I'll let the boys drive home. It'll be fun.