Tuesday, October 25, 2011

O Haunted Night

We took our kids to the Buford Corn Maze last Saturday.

We chose that day as our best option, given that we thought the place would be packed on Halloween weekend. Also, given how my beloved Auburn Tigers played on Saturday afternoon against LSU, getting out of the house was the only way to avoid having to watch the highlights.

One of the biggest attractions at the Corn Maze is the Haunted Forest. Both my sons, ages 14 and 9, were excited about seeing it. However, as I scanned the rules, I became a little concerned that my 9 year old might not be able to handle it. Per the rules it said:
Recommended for 13 and up

“It says 13 and up.” I commented to my younger son. “Are you sure?”

“Dad. I’m fine.”


We were greeted at the entrance by two overdressed Goths who smiled and welcomed us in. We’d only gone a few feet when one of the props broke from a still position and decided to follow us.

“Who-o-o-o-o,” the ghoul said.

My nine-year old grabbed on to me. “It’s alright,” I said. “You’ll be fine.”

But my nine-year old couldn’t take his eyes off the female ghoul behind us.

“RAHRRRR!” a voice said from close to our feet as a monster pretended to claw at us from a broken cage.

And from there, my nine-year old was a basket case. He hung on to me for dear life and I couldn’t move without him dragging his feet on the ground. My 14-year old was fascinated, but I couldn’t tell if it was with the attraction itself or his little brother.

“Daddy, I wanna go,” my nine-year-old said.

I remembered the sign from the entrance.

Actors will not touch you. Please do not touch them.

“Don’t worry,” I said, remembering the sign. “The monsters won’t touch you. You’ll be fine.” It didn’t help.

As we proceeded through the forest, I realized how it worked. One actor would follow you so you’d focus on what was behind you and then someone would spring in front of you. However, I was too focused on my son. I missed their entrance.

“Daddy, can we leave?”

I looked around for the next turn in the forest. “Hold on,” I responded. “I’m looking for the next way to go.”

“Left” a gravely voice replied from behind the wall.

We continued to make progress as best we could. A Friday the 13th wannabe jumped in front of with a machete. I smiled back at the guy and said, “Sorry, he’s had enough.”

I looked at my younger son again. “Don’t worry. They won’t touch you.”

“That’s right. We won’t touch you,” said one of the ghouls in a low voice.

We eventually made it out of the forest and my nine-year old was relieved. We jokingly asked him if he wanted to go back in. His eyes flew open. He shook his head.

We promised we wouldn’t bring him back next year. He seemed fine with that.

I do have to admit to that the ghouls in the forest did sense that my younger son was scared. Another one must have noted the Auburn pullover my older son wore into the forest.

At some point in the forest, I could have sworn one of the ghouls said “War Eagle.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Divided Loyalties

My kids, like most in the area, are Falcons fans. They’ve watched games with me every week this season and they cheer hard. It hasn’t been the start that we’ve hoped for, but there’s still ten games to go.

However, given that we live in an area where college football is still on top, and given the love of Auburn they inherited from me and a few gazillion other relatives, they follow former Auburn players with a particular gusto. Last year, during Auburn’s run to the national title, my nine-year old began to follow Cam Newton. He lived with every play last season, reveling in the undefeated season. The greatest day of his life was his “low five” exchange with Newton during the Tiger Walk at last year’s Auburn-Georgia game. He touched his hero. Thankfully, he’s washed his hand since then.

When Cam Newton was drafted by the Carolina Panthers, my nine year-old became an instant Panthers fan. He goes on-line to read statistics, watches Panthers games on computer when they aren’t on TV, watches ESPN for highlights, and keeps up with his hero. Besides, the grandparents are Panthers fans, so he felt right at home.

So, this weekend’s match-up between the Panthers and the Falcons provided a challenge. For my 14-year old, it was not an issue. Wearing his Falcons t-shirt, he rooted for his team and rooted for the Auburn players on the other side, too. However, my 9-year old found himself conflicted. How could he cheer for Cam and the Falcons (a team with no Auburn grads)?

When the game ended, he was both happy and upset. He’s nine. He can do that. At the same time, he noted the first two items on his Christmas list.

1) A Cam Newton Carolina Panthers jersey.
2) A copy of Madden 2012, so he could control Cam and make great plays like his hero does.
3) Tickets to a Panthers game so he can watch Cam in person.

I know next week won’t present the problems for my nine-year old that this week did. (My 9-year old cheers for the Lions because of Nick Fairley, but it’s just not Cam.) Also, there’s one more Falcons-Panthers game left this season and more to come in the future, given that the teams are in the same division. I’ll have to see how he handles it.

It’s more fun to watch than the game.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gone Scuba Divin'

Actually, I haven't gone scuba diving, sky diving, fishing, or anything like that. However, I'm taking a blogging holiday for the day. I thank all of you who read my blog. I'll be back next week.

Best regards,

Walt Mussell

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pitchers and Catchers Report

The above title normally applies to February.

In February, pitcher and catchers will report for a new season of major league baseball. The playoffs have just begun, so we’re a long way from thinking about next year.

However, for the first time in several months, my nine-year old, who wants to spell the Braves’ Craig Kimbrel in the bullpen (he’s already adopted his mannerisms), threw pitches with me in our driveway. It was a tense opening. My nine-year old has been playing or practicing football since July. Neither of us opened very well. Balls were overthrown and underthrown. We’re not ready for the season.

Still, he threw some good pitches, too (I thought so anyway). He threw a few strikes and put a few close balls in there that an umpire might call strikes. Then there were the wid pitches, though I may just be getting slow. When a ball gets by me, I hope it gets stopped by the fence behind me. Unfortunately, it’s not solid like the wall behind a major league home plate. Many balls get into the backyard and we have to go get them One ball went into the bushes. We still can’t find it.

But it was a good first session. And, we can keep at it until the weather gets cold.

Next season awaits.