Ruminations of a Color War General

August 5, 2009

Color War is this incredible phenomenon that is tough to put into words. The concept seems simple enough- the camp is split into two teams, blue vs. white. The two teams compete for two days in tests of athletic skill, artistic ability, general knowledge and overall spirit. But there is so much more to it than just a competition.

Anyone who has been at CTT for Color War knows this. They have competed on the fields, leaving their sweat and tears and everything in their body behind. They have screamed their heads off to the point that the day after the war ends camp is nearly silent. They could have been blue, or they could have been white, but they have definitely been through two extremely intense days that take everything CTT is about, cram it into a few hours and make hundreds of lasting memories.

In only my first year at CTT, I can tell you that Color War is my favorite thing we do here. Like the kids, all of the counselors put everything they have into it. It is such a powerful thing to be a part of, what with all the people screaming and shouting with everything they have for their team, I can’t imagine anything else like this anywhere else in the world.

I was lucky enough to be chosen as a general for the White Pegasus during the second session. To have all of these people stand behind and fight for a common goal, to whip people into frenzy with a few words, is something I’ve never experienced before. I want to try and bring you into the madness that is Color War from the vantage point of a general.

Three days before break-out…

I’m actually going to be a general. I knew I wanted to do this, but am I ready? I saw the pressure they were under first session. I’m scared. Mommy! Oh man, oh man, oh man…

Three minutes before break-out…

The blue generals, Flippy and Nicole, are here. Charlotte, my co-general for white is here. Evan Cook is here to help me break it on boy’s side. What if I slip? What if the kids don’t care? Oh man, oh man, oh man…

During the first team meeting…

I love this stuff! The kids are so into it! My voice hurts already, but I don’t care. Go white! W-H-I-T-E! Enrique the Super Spaniard is on my team! E-N-R-I-Q-U-E!

Hours later, thoughts from the Apache Relay…

Bummer. Jesse Alloy (blue) scored a bull’s eye rather quickly. Big lead for the bad guys.

Enrique just knocked the paint off of that golf ball. I’m legitimately worried about that ball circling the world and hitting me in the back of the head.

Alvaro just kicked five straight field goals. Easily. Why didn’t I know this during flag football? He would do this for the blue team.

White just made up a chunk of time! Look at Casey Dennison go on that canoe!

Sydney Sachs is a great hopper. She just hopped from the pavilion to the baseball field in like three seconds. Can she hop faster than I run?

Ethan Ebinger just rang the bell. Bluteus Maxximus wins the relay. But my guys aren’t quitting. They are running just like it was neck and neck. I love this team. Go white team go!

Heading into the final day…

I know we are behind, but we have some good things coming up. Erin, Camille and Emily have created a beautiful plaque, Ethan and Olivia have a solid speech and the skit and song are good too. We are still in this. Now we have to win some sports.

Two hours later…

Schnikies. We lost every sport but one. Do we still have a shot?

Heading into the final hour, where the plaques, skits, speeches and songs are presented and the winner is announced…

The judges say we are still in contention. The team believes we are still in. They are chanting, screaming, holding nothing back. These kids want to win. The colonels, Susan and Bill and Eva, are leading cheers and screaming their heads off because my voice is shot (and I’m jittery thanks to a mass consumption of NOS energy drinks). We are behind, no doubt about it. But we are here, united, a team in the truest sense and we are one hour from pulling this thing out. I’m on empty, but if these people have an hour left for me than I have one left for them!

“Go white team, go white team go!”

After the presentations, before the winner is announced. There were twenty minutes when the judges were deliberating and all we were running on was nerves…

These people are still chanting! I tried to talk to someone in a regular voice just now, and all that came out was a gurgle. The only way I can communicate verbally is with a raspy yell. All of these kids and all of these colonels are in the same boat and we are all here giving what little bit we have left. Everyone is drenched in sweat, covered in dirt and staving off exhaustion. It’s almost over…

The judges enter…

Oh, man. Oh, man. Oh, man.

After the winner is announced…

Well, we lost. Blue team is celebrating, and their generals, colonels and campers did a fantastic job and deserve it. Regardless, I’m proud to be here. I’m proud to be on the White Pegasus team. I want to cheer with this team; with everything I have, one more time regardless of the fact that I basically am without a voice right now.

Color War is an incredibly taxing way to end a session, but there is nothing else in the world I’d rather do. The competition is so fierce it is tough to believe that we all go to the same camp, but when it is over it is almost immediately forgotten and we all become one family again. It makes our relationships with each other stronger and teaches us how to be fiercely competitive but always respect our opponents. It displays our artistic ability, our spirit and it shows that we all have what it takes to buy into a cause with the tenacity to put everything we have into it.

It sums up what CTT is in a furious two-day marathon. It is the perfect culmination of a great summer, and I think everyone- whether they are blue, white, camper, counselor, admin or judge- looks forward to it for that reason. It is CTT, and we love it for that.

And hey, second sesh white team- we’ll get ‘em next year.

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