I cannot begin to explain just how exhausting eleven 13 year old girls can be. Also, they were good kids, I’m pretty sure other chaperones worked a whole lot harder than we did.
My co-chaperone was amazing. Actually, amazing doesn’t even begin to explain it, she was organized, gracious and hysterically funny. In the first two hours I found out that she enjoyed Howard Stern and that she had zero patience for wishy washy people… Hello Soulmate.
We rose before six each morning and prepared breakfast for the girls, we then woke them (the hotel’s phones were wonky), fed them and shuttled them back into their own rooms so they could brush teeth and gather backpacks. During the four minute turnaround we’d clean up breakfast and put out little bags of snacks. Each girl could take four. Then it was into the van for a thirty minute drive to the venue. While they played we’d call in a lunch order.
While the girls were warming up or refereeing I’d walk up and down the stairs at the convention center, returning red faced and breathless, I know I looked funny but it kept me from losing my mind. After a few hours of volleyball one of the parents would pick up the lunch we’d ordered and by 2 or 3 we’d be back at the hotel. Some of the girls would relax in front of the TV and others would be in the water park or the pool. We trekked after the girls who were in water and tried to have everyone back by 5, our dinners were always at 6.30.
Since we had groups of 15 or more it took almost an hour to get dinner on the table. The girls didn’t like the rule about drinking only water but at 112 degrees and on a limited budget it was prudent. The first dinner was unhappy because we were at a diner and two girls had tried to order strawberry waffles and a third wanted chocolate chip pancakes. I explained that we were providing their bodies with fuel, Jane gave me the stink-eye and I’m proud to say I did not succumb.
After dinner we’d shuttle everyone home, take lunch orders for the next day, get them into the shower and then try to get them to bed. Try being the operative word. We had two girls with major anxiety at night who were, of course, in the same room. Another room was packed with girls who simply refused to go to sleep, they couldn’t stop chatting and their adorableness kept us from killing them.
At 9.30 we’d start packing up snacks for the next day, shower and then get to sleep by 11 or so.
On the fourth morning in Arizona I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I rolled over and said to my co-chaperone, “I’m to tired, I can’t do this.” And she said back to me, “Just imagine how the girls feel.” I couldn’t.
Jane went to sleep at 10.30 Saturday night and woke up at 3.30 Sunday afternoon. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.