By: Chris “Topher” Aderhold
Public Service Announcement from Camp Gray:
Ever since the Panda Ball pandemic (ding!) exploded during Summer Camp 2011, there have been numerous confirmed reports of Panda Ball games being played near and far. Already this past summer, we received word that Camp Gray Voyageur campers, while canoeing up north, created their own Panda Pit out of overturned canoes. Because a regulation Panda Ball wasn’t included in the Voyageur Packing List, the campers created a ball out of an inflated ziplock bag wrapped, paper mache style, with duct tape. Additionally, nearby residents of Baraboo informed us that this fall they witnessed campers playing Panda Ball inside a pit with walls created by tipped-on-their-side tables. Lastly, students at St. John Vianney Catholic School in Janesville, after their 8th grade class visited Camp Gray, convinced the school administration that a Panda Ball Pit would be a perfect addition to their playground. No doubt there have been other stories of the Panda Ball pandemic taking root in other communities. These are just a few of the confirmed reports.
Symptoms of the Panda Ball pandemic include, but are not limited to: an urge to walk around hunched over with your arms dangling in front of your legs; a tendency to exclaim anything with three syllables with extra emphasis (PAN..DUH..BAWL!! TAH..COE..BELL!! APP..UHL..SAWS!!); a proneness to dot your i’s with an octagon rather than a circle; and a susceptibility to randomly jumping high in the air with legs spread like a ‘V‘ in double succession (known as the “double V,” this move occurs when a participant jumps to avoid the approaching ball and then must immediately jump again in ‘V‘ formation to avoid the ball after it made contact against the back wall). If you see any signs of the Panda Ball pandemic in your town, please inform the Panda Ball Pandemic Authorities by clicking HERE. It is our hope that every occurrence of Panda Ball played outside of Camp Gray is reported.
If your only connection to Camp Gray in the last 8 months has been through perusing our website, facebook page, or watching our youtube videos, there’s a good chance you were curious about a game that you probably saw being played which entails a multitude of children running around inside an 8-sided wooden structure smacking a ball at each other. (whew! that was a long sentence!) Likely you thought to yourself, “Self, that looks like utter chaos.” Even more likely, you thought, “I want to play that in the worst way.” Welcome to Panda Ball. Put simply, Panda Ball is a glorified game of dodgeball. Evidently, Panda Ball is all the rage currently in Israel (according to wikipedia, anyhow…). Games can be played by a large group of people individually, or by a group of people working as a team against another team. Campers avoid, at all costs, allowing the Panda Ball to make contact with their legs between the knee and toes. Participants are never allowed to catch the ball, as they can only slap the ball towards the legs of others. Using your arms to block your legs is permissible. If the ball is knocked out of the Panda Pit, then the participant which hit the ball last must remove him/herself from the Pit until the next game. If the ball hits you between the knee and the toes, then you must climb out of the Pit and wait for the next game. Last man/woman standing, wins. Rinse, Repeat, Play Again.
Next time you’re at Camp Gray, make sure to make your way over to the Panda Pit! But be careful, you just may become the next victim of the Panda Ball pandemic.
Thanks for tuning in, friends! Questions for the quarterly Tuesday’s with Topher mailbag? Email! Thanks to those that have already emailed over questions!