A funny thing happened in our church not so long ago. A young couple met, fell in love and married and at their wedding reception, a challenge was issued. A dance off ensued between the two young adult Sunday School classes and a rivalry was born. I wasn’t at the wedding so I can’t say for sure what happened. I can only tell you what I heard, and I heard my class (the 30-somethings) had a landslide victory over the 20-somethings when one of our members dropped to the ground and did The Worm like it was 1989.
Now, when my husband and I moved to town, being able to compete in a dance-off wasn’t on our check list of things to look for in a church home, but I daresay it should be on yours if you ever go looking for a new church. It says something about the quality of the folks at our church that they weren’t too proud to get down and dirty in a pinch and do what needed to be done.
But after the dance off, the 20-somethings didn’t like the taste of defeat and the gauntlet was thrown down. (You can count the cliches if you want to, sort of like a crossword, but more fun.) It would be the game of the century, an event to tell our grandchildren about — we would play kickball.
E-mails shot back and forth at lightning speed, rosters were made, jerseys were secretly ordered and strategies were planned. What the 30-somethings lacked in youthful exuberance, flexibility and hair, we made up for in enthusiasm and scare tactics. Our fearless leader, and 30-something’s coach, Gary, emailed both classes with specifics on game time and regulations and closed his email with, “Good luck everyone… that is on my team. We know you talk a big game, but when it comes down to competing you will fold under the immense weight of our middle age bodies.”
The 30-somethings met at the church fifteen minutes before game time, to get our eyes blacked and to caravan to the ball field. The plan was to make a grand entrance, to terrify the 20-somethings with our tenacity and team unity. It would have been intimidating, if it hadn’t been so hilarious.
Grown men dressed head to toe in black, piled into Jeeps and pick-ups, and followed each other through the streets of Greenwood, with Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” blaring from speakers. If the guys had jumped nimbly down from the back of trucks and marched onto the battlefield, er, ball field, ready to play it would have been one thing. But instead, their wives were following behind in mini-vans and SUVs, loaded down with coolers, diaper bags and babies sporting eye-black. So when those men, wearing black ski-goggles, cowboy hats and bathrobes, hopped to the ground, they had to make a quick detour to grab an armful of fatherhood on their way to proving their manhood.
It was neck and neck. Mano a mano, if you will. (You can circle that one too, even though it’s in Espanol.) Things got a little heated and our pastor, being the most equally invested in both teams, ended up acting as our umpire. The 30-somethings fought hard but our verve was no match for the 20-somethings actual skill and they beat us by one point. Or as Gary said, “They won due to a rule technicality. They scored one more run than us, and according to some archaic form of governance, that equates a victory.” I would be shunned from church altogether if I failed to point out that in an unofficial rematch we did manage to win a game.
The 30-somethings were singing a different song as they limped to their cars, diaper bags dragging, and babies on their shoulders. “Pour some Motrin on me,” was the last refrain I heard as I rounded my kids into the car.
We still have Def Leppard and our bathrobes — and the quiet reassurance that in a few years as we are climbing into our respective beds to sleep soundly all night long, those 20-somethings will be getting up for 2 a.m. feedings.
Robin Wiley O’Bryant is a syndicated humor columnist, author and speaker. She was born and raised in Jasper and now lives in Mississippi with her husband and three daughters. Read more online at www.robinschicks. com or e-mail Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org.