The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation
2Samuel 22:47

03 August 2010

First Things First

Each year, immediately upon descent on the Family Camp campus, we participate in a very specific sequence of actions.

First: Unbuckle seatbelts

Second: {if we are lucky to remember} Open vehicle doors

Third: Make a mad dash for the carpet ball tables at the Lodge

{It's a phenomenon common to most, if not all, camp families.}

This game has a spell on my family. If you have not heard of carpet ball, here is the bare bones point of the game:

Two people stand at a long box, one at each end. Each player lines up his carpet balls (I think they are pool balls) and chooses a shooter. Then you throw, roll, whatever it takes, towards your opponent's carpet balls. The first one to knock in all of the opponent's carpet balls wins.

Simple, but addictive.

My sons have all sorts of strategies. I don't ever have to worry about losing my children at camp, because whenever I can't find them I know exactly where they are. Here.

{Unless it is Langston who is lost, then I can find him throwing sticks in a massive bonfire by the beach, by himself. But that is another story. And it wasn't Dad who lost him that time.}

It's never too young to start this addictive sport. There is even a World Championship Carpetball Tournament each week at camp. We have yet to bring home a trophy, but my boys keep after it each year.

Kids line up along the carpet ball box to wait their turn. It is the funniest thing to watch all the heads swing one way then the next in perfect unison as they watch the ball roll one way, then the other, then back again.

Tasting victory!

So sweet.

Carpet ball = Pure joy

Tarver is extremely competitive and serious when it comes to carpet ball. I believe it is the only sport he has ever cared about. When we were at the hotel, the day before Family Camp arrival, he was sketching out his different set-up strategies. He had each one numbered!

Then he challenged his Dad to a game of carpet ball, in which his Dad got totally creamed. Whipped. Beaten. Defeated. In other words, Tarver's Dad lost. And then Dad kicked himself for not confiscating the playbook back at the hotel and studying it while driving across Illinois.

I tried consoling him. "You snooze, you lose."

{Encourager is my middle name!}

After we pry our children away from the carpet ball tables, the next order of business is renting bikes. Our annual trip to the bike barn is something we converse about all year long. Most of the fun is getting to visit with our dearly loved, Mr. Fredericks. He manages the fleet of bikes at camp and is a hero to my boys. Their lifelong dream is to one day get to work a summer with Mr. Fredericks and help him manage the hundreds of bikes. My husband often dreams of spending a summer working in the bike barn , too!

Langston was old enough this year for his own set of wheels. Unfortunately, he still refuses to peddle and will only push his bike with his tippy-toes, so the bike didn't do much good when it came to commuting around campus.

More to come as I sift through our family camp adventure. . .


  1. Ah, carpet ball - we worked at camp before our kids were old enough to experience it, but maybe I could have John build one...I know he loves it when I add more to his to-do list. :)

    Thanks so much for sharing - it looks like you had such a wonderful time together!!!

  2. We had that game at CYIA last year. The kids really seemed to enjoy it. Sorry, when I say kids I mean high-schoolers and older. My dad works at a university, and calls the students kids and it got passed down. (-;
    Looks like y'all had fun!

  3. We also had that game at the camp we went to growing up. We loved it SO much that one year, my sisters and brother and I built one. It sits on our front porch to this day and even after all these years it still gets played a lot! We have gotten sooo many questions from visitors when they drive down the driveway and see it. Most think it is a trough of some sort. We finally resorted to jokingly saying that it was our ostrich trough that we keep on the porch. LOL Then we invite them to a game and win another carpet ball convert.

  4. Rachel BaltenspergerAugust 3, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    I guess I should be more specific than "B" for a last name!

  5. I didn't know there were so many closet carpet ball players out there! This is SO exciting.

    Anyone want to come to camp with us next year?

    OR, maybe we should just build our own 'ostrich trough' and have some sort of ice carpet ball tourney to make February exciting here in Nebraska.

    Somehow, when the heat index is 115' like today, February doesn't seem so bad. . .