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The Villages
Monday, October 25, 2021

Kids of all ages need to have fun

Lisa DeMarco

Recently after more than a couple of rainy days in a row, I started searching for healthy indoor after-school activities for my grandson, Jeremy. I needed to find something to fill the time on all the days that are not “weather” permitted to participate in our usual outdoor daily pastimes. Just in case, because wearing Jeremy down is a full-time project. He is like an ever-ready Energizer Bunny on Lithium. Too bad he doesn’t come with an “off” button, and I am an old Hare. 

The other day, I noticed an advertisement for a nearby indoor trampoline park. We had been to facilities like this before, but never this specific location. We were also never “members”  before. We were told that several of his classmates were members, and Jeremy really wanted to join.  Anywhere my “Lil Tigger” can jump, he will. Even in places where he is not supposed to jump or climb or swing, he will. So, I am all for it if you are offering me a place where he is encouraged to go hog wild in a supervised, healthy, and clean environment.  

Charge me accordingly. I will gladly pay the going rate to let him run around for hours like a spider monkey jacked up on caffeine, any day, every day. Especially in a dry, air-conditioned, state-of-the-art, safe, and kid-friendly building that is open seven-days a week from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sign me up.  I will gladly taxi him there, rain or shine. The best part of all is, even if we get there and he doesn’t know anyone, it only takes a minute or two for him to make a new friend. After that, it’s like puppies playing in a dog park. All I have to do is make sure he stays hydrated and doesn’t bark too loud.

Then, my time is my own. I don’t have to do anything. Thanks to all the young, athletic men and women employed there, I can just sit in one of the comfortable massage chairs and wait for Jeremy to occasionally come over to grab a drink and brag. Literally, they are paid to motivate my child’s physical activity without letting him hurt himself or anyone around him. 

Safety comes first! Everyone who enters the building must fill out a waiver, even if only a spectator. Trust me, you don’t want to hurt yourself while you are in this facility because, by the time their corporate office is done with you, you will end up owing them money. The 10-page electronic waiver forces every adult to assume responsibility for any and all injuries that may occur! Basically stating, “If you sit too close to the edge of the pool, you may get wet! If so, too bad, so sad.” 

So, when Joey and Jeremy both decided to act like superheroes, I was surprised I didn’t have an accident from laughing so hard. They looked like twins dressed in matching members-only t-shirts and U.S flag, skid-proof socks, they were given for joining the “Club.”

My boys were fun to watch. They played basketball and dodgeball and even managed to safely make their way down the zip line a couple of dozen times. Until Joey decided (at Jeremy’s request) to try and climb a 12-foot rope ladder that hung over a 6-foot deep foam pit. It is no wonder he didn’t kill himself. Why? Because three rungs in, the ladder twisted, and he fell on his back, causing him to sink into what now seemed like an abyss. To top it all off, somehow, he expected me to pull his fully grown man-sized body up and out of this squishy, bottomless ditch. Alone, no less. That was not happening. 

Grandpa had no business playing with the kids, all jokes aside, acting like he was an “American Ninja.” Sure, while his adrenaline was pumping, he felt great doing things he hadn’t even tried to do in years. At the moment, being “Cool Grandpa” in front of Jeremy and all his new buddies was way more important than what he was going to feel like later. 

Unfortunately, the comprehensive waiver did not state AARP Members should not participate in all activities and should only enter certain areas at their own risk. Needless to say, if I did want to blackmail my hubby, the man without any social media accounts, I could have easily embarrassed him for life. His adorable, silly shenanigans would have gone viral for sure. 

For now, I will simply remember to always have my camera on hand and set on video,  just in case of future “Funniest Video” opportunities.

Also, I learned from my insurance agent that we should never try to file simultaneous accident reports in the emergency room on the day we played there. She said chances are our claims would be denied for being “stupid.” 

She suggested that when we go together, either Joe or I should plan on being the “designated observer,” just in case of an emergency.

Lisa DeMarco is a columnist for Villages-News.com.


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