One of the games we play at Gymboree is called Parachute. You may remember this from grade school:
Now, when you incorporate infants 6-12 months into the traditional game of Parachute, all bets are off. Parachute is no longer just a game, but rather, it becomes a three-phased contact sport.
Well, let me breakdown the sport for those of you who’ve never played this version.
In the first round, aka The Warm Up, all the noobs are placed on top of the parachute. Then, Gymbo ref comes around and blows magical bubbles everywhere. It’s as if she casts an ancient spell that mesmerizes everyone (including the parents). We feel strengthened, agile, and ready for whatever physical challenge is to come. If your noob pops her designated bubble, it’s a good omen. When a noob doesn’t pop his bubble, you will definitely hear the crowd break out in a disapproving murmur, headshaking and tsking.
The warm up also serves as a de facto Opening Ceremony.
Suddenly, the mood changes, signaling Round Deux. The noobs sit atop the sudsy parachute while their trainers (we the parents)
chant and sway rhythmically in the style of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom sing team fight songs in a circle. We cheer and rile up the tiny athletes. It is the trainer’s task to lift, shake, and peek from underneath the tattered chute as a way to amp up the noobs. By the end of this phase, everyone is in a fervor.
The crowd clamors, “MORE NYLON CHUTE! GO-FIGHT-NOOBS! CHUTE! CHUTE! CHUTE!” Finally, it is the final round of Parachute. I call this … The Ultimate Cage Fighting Smackdown!!! Or rather, the Ultimate Chute Fighting Smackdown!!!
At this point, all the noobs are now placed underneath the motley tent. An all-out frenzy ensues. (Keep in mind, this “Play & Learn” class is for 6-12 month-olds. So essentially, there is a huge range in fighting class – from flyweight to heavyweight.) Some noobs are only capable of sitting up assisted by their “trainers,” while others lay spreadeagled like lumps of dough. It’s a pity that they are all thrown together
in the ring under one parachute. But, hey, that’s what makes it an Ultimate Smackdown. We know the risks, and they know what’s at stake.
During round three, the trainers stand up in a circle holding the parachute. We move the parachute up and down while cheering our little fighters on. The wind vortex knocks down the flyweights, and even some welterweights. Frightened athletes attempt to scamper out of the parachute. You’ll see their trainers follow behind in defeat. The first-timers are always identifiable. They’re typically found curled up in fetal position, sobbing with confused jaded looks in their eyes. Their trainers flash them apologetic looks, yearning to go pull them out. But, alas, they are frozen in fear of the disapproval of the other trainers.
What about the other fighters? Well, the ones with the stamina, strength, agility, and sheer body mass to withstand the wind pressure, crawl frantically (some drag their limbs behind them in a trained army crawl) to go poke the eyes of the other noobs. They attempt these dangerous moves – the stink face, cross body, kesagiri chop, flying clothesline, and throat thrust. I once witnessed the Frankensteiner, and I almost – ALMOST – pulled Noob Baby out that day. But then I was like, ah crap, we paid for this class today … You tough it out, Mo Cuishle!
So how does the smackdown end? Nastily. Either they are all knocked down by the parachute wind vortex as we pick up the speed to a terrifying 40 pumps/min, or they are all plowed down by one ultimate champion — Noob Baby!!! *cue heavenly-clouds-parting music*
Or, so I will have you believe, since this is my
fiction blog, baby.