The Daily Wiffler

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Friday, June 17th, 2022

FoBs,


Well, we saved the best for last, as we always do. Was that fun? Did they say it was fun? I hope so. Though every week is a little different, it’s also really always the same. I like to think I’ve created a secret formula for running a camp, but the truth is there is no formula, no secret. Kids today just love the same things we loved when we were kids. Being outside. Playing a sort of organized, low stakes game. Big kids and little kids playing together, just like in the neighborhood.


And, of course, freeze pops. And sunflower seeds. And gum. And baseball cards. And a little old tymey candy. I’m getting a little sentimental here, but I, I’m having a realization just now. I’m just realizing that I may be doing this to keep my childhood alive. Oh my god, I just had a Freudian breakthrough that 5 years of psychoanalysis never produced. By enlisting your kids, and recreating my childhood, I am nurturing a Peter Pan complex. Why don’t I want to grow up?


I think that despite understanding more and having more control, the world is a scarier as an adult than it is as a kid. I don’t think I want to know any more about technology, climate change, my aging body, social media, pandemics, or never ending inequality. I want to play plastic baseball and shake up cans of root beer. Can we just keep doing that? Forever?


Phew. That was intense. I just worked some stuff out here on paper. It’s also true that I’m not just keeping my childhood alive, but I am keeping my children’s childhoods alive as well. Not by preserving this 1980’s nostalgia, I mean literally. This camp is paying for my children’s food. it’s helping keep them alive. So thank you. Thank you for that. In full disclosure, it’s also paying for my Cubs tickets.


I look forward to seeing you and your Wiffler next time. Next session. Next summer. Next time we see each other awkwardly at Mariano’s. I hope this week was a great end to spring and a k/a start to summer. Let’s get weird this summer.


Your Pal,


Bill O’D

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

FoBs,


Hey. Me. Again. You getting tired of these yet? I don’t get much feedback now that we’re on this Google Group. I don’t even know what a Google Group is really. The Vaccine Angel said “It’s the way to go” so I just type this up and hit send. I honestly don’t know if you all are even getting these emails.


Or the Twitter. Do you see the Twitter? I don’t until the day’s over when my kids show me stuff. We were looking at it last night and I saw a video of me down dressing the kids about bad language. I couldn’t believe it! Not the down dressing, but the way I look! I’ve really let myself go! I look horrible! Greasy. Bad hair. Unshaven. Shirtless. The paunch. I switched to veganism a couple months ago thinking it would make me more svelte but not so! It must be because as a vegan my diet now consists mostly of Twizzlers.


And my attention to hygiene and grooming has gone to the tulips. Nose hair. Barbecue sauce around my mouth. Fizzy teeth. And if you could smell me! Now, in fairness it has been 100 degrees all week and I am outside all day in the sun trying to manage your thousand children. I’d like to see how you look on Twitter putting on this show in the devil’s backyard. But still, I’ve got to do better.


It’s not doing anything for me on the home front either. My late adulthood wife wants no parts of me. She down dressed me last night when I got in bed unshowered. She walks on egg shells these Wiffling weeks cause I’m like the Hindenburg and could plotz at any minute. But still she let me have it. “You’re in the bed and you haven’t even showered? And I just changed the sheets?! You’re a real turn-off”.


No matter. This is no week for lovers. Especially as we come down the to the final grab at glory, “Championship Friday”. Tomorrow we determine the winner of the Mullany ‘Cuum, our version of the Stanley Cup. It’s a twenty year old stick vacuum that I had when I lived in a flop house studio apt. over on Lincoln. Still has the dirt in it from way back then. If only that dirt could talk, it would tell you tales of ribaldry. The vacuum is now painted gold and has been signed by all the winning teams over the years.


It’s the final bacchanal of the what has been a really great and sweaty week. To show my appreciation for your patronage, I’m opening up the checkbook yet again and springing for a high-end Italian lunch. The artisan pizza chefs at Dominos Pizzeria will be catering our Hall of Fame banquet so you don’t have to stuff another depressing sack lunch. I know, I know. I’m too good to you. But you’re too good to me.


Quid Pro Quo,


Bill O’D


Wednesday, June 15th, 2022


FoBs,


Today we celebrated All-Star Wednesday, and this never-ending sweat fest, in fine fashion. Literal fashion, I mean, as the Wifflers took to the grass catwalk in their finest, “dopest” jerseys. There were a lot of dope jerseys out there, but my favorite wasn’t even a jersey, it was a hacked up t-shirt. One child had cut off the bottom of his USA shirt with a pair of scissors, creating what school officials would call a “bare midriff”. In our high school student policy manual, these were strictly prohibited back in the early 1990s.


Why? What’s wrong with a bare midriff? A bare midriff never hurt nobody. Did they think that exposure of the belly button would create an Elvis Presley-like swooning amongst the student body? Where do schools stand today on the bare midriff? As a young man, you had to be really confident to wear a bare midriff. Captain of the football team or something. If you were a bone rack or had a muffin top you wouldn’t try to rock a midriff. You’d get stuffed in a locker.


I tell you all this because tomorrow we may see a slew of bare midriffs. See, tomorrow is “Throwback Thursday”. Wifflers who have attended this camp in the past are encouraged to wear one of their old camp t-shirts. And since these kids grow so much from year to year, the old shirt ends up riding up on them. What we call a “young shirt”. It ends up being an inadvertent bare midriff. Like a pair of sweatpants they’ve outgrown but don’t realize are total floods.


So if your Wiffler has one of these young shirts, have them go whole hog on it and cut the thing at the middle. Own it. I can’t wear one myself though. One year I decided to join the fun and wore a midriff at camp. It didn’t go well. I looked like Philip Seymour Hoffman as Scottie in “Boogie Nights”. It made for a real awkward conversations with parents as I tried to cover my paunchy, hairy belly. Plus, a middle-aged man in a bare midriff running around in the park with kids raises a lot of red flags.


The Wifflers are also welcome to wear normal clothes tomorrow. The midriff is not for everyone. If they are new to camp, or you’ve donated the old Wiffling shirts to the thrift, they can wear their 2022 camp-issued team jersey. Which they shouldn’t have outgrown in three days. Though our Rainbow Cone gut bomb today make my shirt feel a little smaller.


Forever Paunchy,


Bill O’D


Tuesday, June 14th, 2022


I mean….c’mon. I might not live through the end of writing this email. I may pass away mid-email from stroke or dehydration. I must’ve drank 300 gallons of water today and I still haven’t made urine once. Today was a new kind of hot. Not a dry heat, more like a dishwasher heat. You know when you open the dishwasher after its been running awhile, cause you want to jam one more thing in there, and the steam envelopes your whole head? It was like that.


Temperature said “Feels Like 106” today. I think I saw the Prince of Darkness himself rounding third in the afternoon game, but am not positive. One kid, playing in a slice of unshaded outfield, turned into a Kenny Roger’s roaster chicken in the middle of the game. He looked delicious and we were going to eat him but you really don’t have an appetite when it’s this hot.


We achieved a couple of firsts today. Not only was it the hottest day on record in the history of Chicago for June 14th, it was the first day in 20 years of camp that I had to hose down campers. We sniffed out a hose at the Park District building and blasted the kids like Rambo in the police station scene in “First Blood”. They loved it. And in our shared misery, we brokered a deal with the good folks at Rainbow Cone across the street for tomorrow. I’m dipping into the war chest and ponying up big bucks for all the kids to get legendary Rainbow Cones for All-Star Wednesday.


And for the first time in twenty years we had no choice but to double the freeze pop per diem. I called my wife at lunch and she was mensch enough to run to Jewels and backfill us with another 320 freeze pops just to make it through the afternoon. I realized when one of our younger Wifflers said, “I think I’m going to stroke out” that I had to do something. Later, on the walk to pick-up, I overheard one Wiffler say to another, “I’m goin’ where there’s air conditionin’”. Amen.


Remarkably, we had only a handful of kids miss today. Our retention rate, even in extreme weather conditions, is impressive. Either all these kids really love this camp or there are no circumstances in which you would keep your kids home with you. I get it. I get it. There could be a twister coming down Stockton Ave at drop-off and you’d lay a patch at Cafe Brauer, “See you at 2:30pm! Have fun!”.


We’ll run it back in the hot, hot heat tomorrow for All-Star Wednesday. Give those camp t-shirts a good washing and dig out your Wiffler’s favorite “dope” jersey. They know what they need. If it’s not a jersey it can be something unusual from your closet. Cabana wear. A romper. A dickey. Whateves. We’ll get weird with it at the fashion show.


I made it. I survived today and this email. If I die peacefully tonight in my sleep the Vaccine Angel will be there tomorrow to receive the children. No refunds. Even though he’s only 16 trust that he will do a good job the rest of the week. He was on the “Today” show!


All Livin’ Like Frosty,


Bill O’D


Monday, June 13th, 2022


FoBs,

Spring Training has sprung! I hope the Wifflers are basking in the afterglow of a glorious day in the Village. I’m myself am basking in a sitz bath. I haven’t been this tired, or chaffed, in a looooooong time. I’m not a man who likes to work hard. I got into the education game for the massive amounts of time off. I like to rest. Watch TV. Read Stephen King novels. Eat fried stuff. Rinse and repeat.


So this annual spazzfest is something of an undertaking for me. All these kids. All these counselors. All of them talking to me. I’m bushed. I feel like a Wichita lineman kicking off his boots after a hot day on the pole. I put in a hard day’s work boy. I can feel it all over. I hope your Wifflers are just as gassed. If I’ve learned anything in my 20 plus years as early childhood educator it’s that kids need to be outside all day whenever possible. It wears their gears down and they don’t have the vim left to give any lip. And they don’t mind hitting the rack early, giving you a little extra time with your lover. A long day breathing sun is just what the doctor ordered for these screen addicted lil’ devils.


Speaking of sun, and devils, the devil himself might make an appearance tomorrow when the thermostat hits near 100 degrees. I can’t even fathom it right now. A high of 97 tomorrow. How many more signs of the rapture are we going to get? Just lift me into the clouds already! When has it ever been this hot in Chicago in early June? Tom Skilling must be having a seizure on WGN right now. I used to worry about the rain, now I’m hoping I don’t have a heat stroke in front of these kids. You know what, there might be something to this climate change people keep talking about.


But worry not, this Broadway show will go on. I don’t care if my hair spontaneously combusts, douse me with freeze pop juice and prop me up for camp meeting like “Weekend at Bernie’s”. Nothing is stopping this 20th Anniversary train. It rolled today, it’ll roll tomorrow. Everybody Wiffs. Even in oppressive heat.


Forever Young (Our Camp Song),



Bill O’D


www.everybodywiffs.com

@everybodywiffs

billswifflingcamp@gmail.com

773-837-5401 (24-hour Wiffling Hotline)


P.S. It goes without saying, pack extra water tomorrow. We’ve got some hose water on site, but you can do better than that. Luckily the Wiffling Village is the most shaded of shangri-las, but hydration is key. And sunscreen. Slather it on them real good. I can re-apply if necessary, but I’d rather you doubled-down as it grosses me out to rub cream on people.