Remember that retreat I went on a couple weeks ago? I mentioned that we played Capture the Flag as part of our weekend festivities. Yesterday, I posted a picture of myself that was taken after that game, when I was pretty much declared the MVP. But I haven’t explained, in detail, why someone with no obvious athletic ability would be named the MVP of a somewhat physically demanding activity.
There were actually two rounds played on that fateful Saturday by the lake. Since our group was staying in two houses that were next to one another, it gave us plenty of space for our battlefield. In our first game, the rules allowed for captured players from the opposing team to be held in jail. Their teammates could then, in theory, find their fallen comrades and free them to return to their own territory. Somehow, it was decided that I was a good defensive player and would guard the locations of the jail and the flag.
Things started out slowly. At first, no one wanted to cross enemy lines for fear of being caught and captured. When it became clear that two of our own offensive runners had been tagged on the other side, our enemies grew arrogant and careless. Emily ran to our side and was quickly escorted to jail. Not long after this, Rebecca crossed the line. I was sent to cut off her access to our flag and our jail.
A note about Rebecca: she works out; she runs marathons. Sending me to chase her down was not a good idea. Once she was out in front of me, catching her was a nigh impossibility. But luck, it would seem, was on my side. She was not fully aware of our property’s borders, and so she ran into a neighbor’s yard, not realizing she was out of bounds. I called for her to come back before the neighbors had her arrested for trespassing. When she came back, she managed to evade my grasp by running lower in the yard, closer to the lake. Unfortunately, she was ill prepared for the muddy ground. Rebecca slipped and fell, giving me and my teammate a chance to corner her. She became our second captive.
Now, to hear Rebecca tell the tale, you would think that I performed an impressive slide tackle, causing her to dislocate a hip, followed by shoving her face in the mud for good measure. Let the record show that I was approximately 15 feet away from her when she fell. I asked her, at least twice, if she was okay before she was even tagged. And, as she waited to be rescued from jail, I offered to supply her with a first aid kit so she could tend to her minor injuries. She declined. Ladies and gentlemen, I am nothing if not a kind jailer. Anyone who says otherwise is spreading false propaganda.
As a wrap up to that first game, I was able to tag both Erinn and Matt, who foolishly attempted to free our first two prisoners, Emily and Rebecca. There would be no prison break on my watch. The game ended in a stalemate when neither side was able to gain further ground.
A second game began with a change in teams and an alteration to the tagging rule. The jail would no longer exist, but those who were tagged would simply remain frozen in the place they were tagged. This, in theory, would make rescue attempts a little more manageable. I was, again, placed in a defensive position, guarding my team’s flag. I was fine with this because it meant that my odds of needing to run were slim.
Again, things started slowly. The other side sent spies by paddle boat in an effort to find the location of our flag. There was a lot of back and forth for a while, but eventually, only myself and Stephen remained uncaptured on our team, while their entire team roamed free. All we could do was tag people as they approached the flag.
Something needed to be done. I decided to make a move. It was unorthodox, but it was all I could think of. I walked through the gauntlet of the opposing team, acting as if I was fed up with the game. I may or may not have led them to believe that I was quitting, leaving Stephen to fend for himself. In reality, I just wanted to make my way to the other house’s front yard where I believed three of my teammates were frozen.
When I crossed the boundary line, I took off running. I didn’t think I’d have to run that far. But, as it turned out, my frozen teammates decided to move. To the back of a very large house. I knew that someone from the other team had seen through my ruse. I knew that he would be right behind me. I knew that he would catch up to me because, and I must stress this point, I am not a fast runner.
I somehow managed to free two of my teammates before I was tagged. They were able to help Stephen for a bit, before the game was again called a stalemate.
It’s worth mentioning that my move across the boundary to retrieve my team was what earned me my MVP status. I liken it to the opening scene in Dances with Wolves where a suicidal Kevin Costner stirred up a stalemated Civil War battle. Not that I was suicidal, though, maybe I was in terms of game play.
I feel that it’s also worth mentioning that, when we changed the teams around, Rebecca was moved to my team. And she was one of the “frozen” teammates that I was able to free before I got tagged. But did that make up for the fall she took during the first game? No. I continued to receive the blame for that little incident (and still do, actually). Even as recently as two days ago, I asked her how her hip was, and she said that it hurt. However, in my observation, there was no limp, which would be an indicator of pain. Also, there was a bit too much of a smirk as she complained about this phantom pain.
I’m not saying that there isn’t room for me to share in the blame for Rebecca’s Brazil-shaped bruise (that’s probably more than healed by now), but it just wasn’t as malicious as some have made it out to be. Would someone who committed an alleged aggressive assault against someone in one game be willing to sacrifice his own freedom for that same person in the next? I don’t think so.