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Summer Sports Camp 1975 by John Nelson


I had been looking forward to summer sports camp at the college for the longest time. I was finally going to have something really fun to do this summer. My grandmother had paid the $300 for me to go to this camp. My older brother Robert was graduating from high school and would be working all summer at the hardware store. Both my parents would be away at work all day. There would be no one watching me.

You know how grandmothers are. She probably thought a teenager with too much free time on his hands could get into trouble. I will admit I like to hang out at the arcade, but I'm a good kid. I don't smoke or anything like that. I'm 15 and in high school. My name is Bobby. I have read the sports day camp pamphlets over and over. Each time I noticed something different. They've got baseball, soccer, basketball, swimming and more. There's even archery! Lunch is provided everyday. I can't wait for orientation day!

Everyday after school I've been running and working out. I want to be in the very best shape possible this summer. Orientation day for camp is June 25th. I've still got a week of school left til summer. Just 10 days until camp left!

The camp is all day and lunch is provided. I've read the pamphlet 15 or so times. One little part worries me. It says all boys must have short hair. I bet that's just something they forgot to take out of the pamphlet from the 60's. It's 1975 now. What kid has short hair nowadays?

After long last the first day of orientation arrives! It's not the real camp, just half day. I eagerly ride my bike over to the college. I've got the paperwork and ten dollars in my pocket. I lock my bike and look for the gym. I walk in and notice no one I know. There's kids of all ages.

"Hey, Bobby, Bobby," someone says.

I look and see my cousin's neighbor. I don't remember his name. We've done stuff together over the years a bunch of times.

"Oh, hey man how are you?" I ask.

"You're in this camp?" he asks.

"Yeah," I say.

"That's outta site," he says.

"What was your name again, man," I ask.

"Donavan," he says.

"Oh yeah, sorry I forgot," I say.

"Let's sit up there," says Donavan.

We make our way up to the top of the bleachers. I notice a bunch of kids have crewcuts in this gym. I haven't seen so many kids with crewcuts ever. Last summer I saw a kid with one at the zoo. I couldn't help but stare. It seemed so short and shaved. I'd freak it I had a crew cut!

Before long they're telling all the high school kids to go down the hall to another room. We give the guy our paperwork and he collects it. The 30 or so high school kids and I are quietly sitting listening to a bunch of rules and camp procedures.

"Hey you and you, come up here," he says

"Me?" I ask shyly.

"Yeah you and that guy with the crewcut," he says.

"Listen up carefully guys. This is what we want your hair looking like on Monday. Get a crewcut or flattop. It's summer and it'll grow back! This is what we don't want your hair looking like!" the counselor says firmly.

"Ok, go sit down," he tells us.

What the heck? A crewcut! I hadn't expected this. I cherished my golden brown locks just down to my shoulders. I'd turned beat red when that guy told the kids don't show up on Monday looking like me! I wanted to do this came so bad. My grandmother paid and all. A thing like a haircut wasn't going to stop me from going to camp!

"Bobby, did you know we had to get haircuts?" asked Donavan.

"Well I read somewhere in the pamphlet about it. I don't really think it said crewcuts," I say.

"You heard that counselor, he said a crewcut or flattop!" says Donavan.

"I know, I know," I say.

After the orientation was over I was ready to head home on my bike. I was talking to Donavan and up walked our camp counselor.

"Remember guys, no long hair still on Monday!" he says.

"We're cuttin it," said Donavan.

"What are you doing today right now?" asks Donavan.

"I was just going home," I say.

"Got any money?" asks Donavan.

"Yeah, 20!" I say.

"Can I borrow ten bucks for a haircut, you come too ok?" asks Donavan.

"Today, right now cut our hair!" I say.

"Dude, we have to do it by Monday!" Donavan says.

"Oh, a well I guess," I say.

I'm feeling dread all over about this. Why a crewcut. Is this guy for real. No one in there looked happy except the guy with the crewcut.

Donavan and I rode our bikes to the closest barber we could find. We walked in the small shop. One old barber was in there. He was plump and about 50. We saw a price sign and crewcuts were 5$. I had plenty of money. Even extra, I guess Donavan will pay me back. I really didn't want a crewcut! I wanted so bad to attend the sports camp though.

"Whose first?" asks the barber.

"Me, I'll go first," Donavan says.

I sit watching mortified as he hops into this guy's barber chair.

"How would you like it son?" asks the barber.

"I want one of those 5$ crewcuts," he says.

"Short all around?" asks the barber.

"I guess, yeah," says Donavan.

The barber takes some large electric hair clippers off a hook. In no time at all I sit and watch him totally take nearly all Donavan's long dark brown hair off his head. It's almost like the army! The hair falls to the floor so fast. Those big clippers quickly swipe away his hair. What's left is a head with stubblely hair and two ears. Oh man I'm next!

"I don't have many kids ask for crewcuts. It's nice to see a kid with one again," says the barber.

I slowly make my way the that dreaded chair. I realized I'd now look like Donavan. He had just about a fourth of an inch of hair left all around his head.

I was caped and then my hair was rapidly winding up on the barbershop floor. It was over so fast! Soon I paid this guy. We walked out rubbing out stubblely heads ready for sports camp on Monday!





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