The Big Fish Story


The big fish story.

You know the one that somehow turns a guppy into a shark by the time the fisherman have made it back to shore?  My son mastered the big fish story over the weekend.  The fish kept growing bigger and bigger as more and more details emerged.  The problem with this fish story is the guppy actually turned into a shark.  No actual fish were caught or harmed in this story – at least I don’t think so – I really hope there weren’t any fish.

It all starts at an out-of-town soccer tournament.  I’m going to skip over the rant regarding playing a soccer tournament when it’s 37 degrees outside as I dutifully posted my discontent repeatedly on Facebook all weekend.  As a team building activity the manager thought it would be a good idea for the team and parents to have dinner at a nice Italian restaurant.

The restaurant staff was wonderful –placing the boys at one table and the parents at a second table. Oh I almost forgot, during the 2nd game the goalie who rode with us to the tournament, got kicked in the head and needed stitches – that becomes important here in a bit. But he got released from the hospital and made it to dinner.  The tables were covered in white butcher paper and the waitress even brought the boys (age 15-17) crayons.  The crayons were a big hit.  I’m afraid of what may or may not have been drawn.  Dinner was wrapping up and we were waiting for the bills the boys asked “Can we go to Target across the parking lot?”  Sure… why not?  It’s a Target.  It’s not like the mall we were at last year at an out-of-town tournament where we found them picking up college girls in the food court.

The parents stayed and were chatting and finishing wine and having a grand time – until one parent noticed we’d been there waiting for bills for about 30 minutes.  An apologetic server came out and said they were trying to match up the boys with the parents but it was complicated.  Twenty minutes after that the manager came out and announced dinner was on him because they had no idea how to figure out the bills.  GREAT!  Hmmmm…. It’s been almost an hour, what could the boy’s be doing at Target.  The answer to this question is where the fish story starts.

I rode to the tournament with the team mom and as she and I pulled up to the Target in her minivan followed by the other parents we see a gaggle of girls in micro mini-skirts and heels surrounding about half of the boys.

“Oh my God, they picked up girls at the Target?!?!” It was half an exclamation (or exasperation) and half a question.  That was the team mom speaking.  I was just staring in awe shaking my head at the fact that they had managed to find a gaggle of teenage girls walking around a Target.  Most of the boys saw their parents vehicles pull up and went directly to the car at a rapid pace with their heads down.  Mine and the team mom’s son decide to stay and take group selfies with the girls.  So we roll up next to them in the soccer mom minivan and yell at them to get in the car.  They comply and as they are entering the car state that they “got kicked out of Target.”  Wait, we’re missing one.  The goalie is MIA.  About the time we ask where the goalie was he rides by the front doors (on the inside of the store) on a bicycle.  Between me and the other mom yelling things like “HOW THE HELL DID YOU GET KICKED OUT OF TARGET” and “SOMEBODY GO GET HIM OFF THAT BIKE – HE HAS A HEAD INJURY!” the van was a bit chaotic.

In the chaos the team mom’s son managed to escape the van and head back over to where the girls were.  The few remaining team members exited the Target and finally the goalie appeared, without the bike thankfully.  The girl gaggle called him over saying “We need a picture!”  I exited the van at this point and with all the calm caring demeanor I’m so well-known for (insert snicker) yelled “GET AWAY FROM THE GIRLS AND GET IN THE *#(&$!@ VAN!”

Once corralled in the van the questions and answers started overlapping a bit.  “How did you get kicked out of Target?” and “We sooo weren’t doing anything wrong.”  “Where did the girls come from?” and “Why were they so dressed up?”  “They were at a birthday party.”  “Someone was pushing Dane around in a cart.”  My son volunteered that “the whole team didn’t get kicked out of Target just me and Carson.” “Oh good they only kicked out the Ring Leaders.”  Luckily it was a short ride back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel discussing the incident further the story starts to build.  Why? We pass an opposing teams’ player in the hallway who nods and smiles knowingly at my son.  Opposing team players only nod at each other if they have engaged in some type of mutually beneficial mischief.  “That was Brice,” my son explained giggling – he’s 16 and he was giggling.  “Well we really don’t know his real name but we were calling him Brice and yelling at him across the store.”  The explanation I was then given regarding them being  dis-invited to shop at Target was that a lady told the manager she feared for her and her child’s safety because they were pushing a team member around in a cart and they almost ran into her.  But (there’s always a but) they really weren’t anywhere near her and she was just exaggerating.

Then his phone went off and he started giggling.  What?  So he shows me a picture of him and Carson getting escorted by Target security out of the door.  Awesome. The girly gaggle had apparently documented the incident on SnapChat or Instragram or or whatever super cool social media app that teenagers think their parents don’t know about.  The team mom and I hung out for a bit while the boys played Xbox and then everyone headed to their rooms.  As I was going to bed he received a video of several team members in a Minecraft foam sword battle in the toy aisle.  Great, just great.

When we came down from breakfast several of the team parents jokingly (I think it was jokingly, maybe) called out to my son, “Oh there’s the trouble maker!”  Great…. and good morning to all of you, can I have coffee before we start this session of the Peoples Court?  Several of the boys had obviously spilled their guts to the parents about EVERYTHING.  Now there were several pictures and videos being tossed around the All-You-Can-Eat Continental breakfast bar in the hotel.  Every picture shown has my son and the team mom’s son – in the middle.  When I told him to be a strong leader this is not what I envisioned.

In addition to the Minecraft foam sword battle – in which competitors wore Ninja Turtle and Captain America Masks while battling (safety first ya know) – there was also a jousting competition.  Yes I said jousting competition. The jousting consisted of 4 players and 2 shopping carts, one player pushing (at a run) the cart heading for the other 2 team shopping cart with the players inside holding a jousting stick.  I’m not sure if they were using the Minecraft swords or if they upgraded to some of the Ninja Turtle Combat Gear.  I’m sure the lady who was in “fear for her safety” somehow walked into the jousting competition since they were in one of the main aisles of the store.  I’m still not sure how, where or why the goalie got on a bicycle.

The last picture I saw was my son wearing a pink tulle tutu.  Awesome.  So we went from “all we did was push Dane around the store in a cart” to a jousting competition with Ninja Turtle Combat gear and pink tutu’s complete with a full on Minecraft Sword battle in a separate aisle and the goalie completing the Tour de France on a powder blue Huffy. The more details that emerged the more I wished the guppy wasn’t turning into a shark.  I finally asked the question, “Why were you and Carson the only ones who got kicked out?”

“Uh… because when the store manager started walking towards us, me and Carson were the only ones who didn’t run.”

Ah .. honor among mischief makers.

My next parenting talk will go something along the lines of “Be a positive role model and leader – not the ring leader!”

PS: to the lady in the Target in Evansville who “feared for her safety.”  Keep it real…. If you want to complain because there are 13 (maybe more I forgot about “Brice” who doesn’t even belong to our team) teenage boys being stupid and annoying in the store, complain because they are being annoying don’t make up some BS line that you’re afraid for you and your child’s safety.  It’s not like they were going to hold you at Nerf gun point and take your kids candy.  I answer 911 calls – I know when people feel the need to embellish because they don’t want to be “that person” who knows that what they are complaining on is BS – but they want to complain anyway so they make it sound way worse than what it is.

PPS:  I really want to be that parent that complains to the makers of the Minecraft swords and Ninja Turtle Combat Gear that there are no warnings on their products stating that they shouldn’t be used in a shopping cart jousting competition.

PPSS:  My daughter will never be allowed to go to any store ever without parental supervision because as the details of this escapade emerged when we got home she told my son that they should have tried throwing milk jugs at each other because they basically explode on impact and spray milk EVERYWHERE!


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