This past Saturday I attended my first ever black belt party at the house of one of the masters of my gym. It’s a black-belt only party which they touted several times during the course of our training to keep the kids competitive and the group morale high. I gotta confess that, even though I knew it was mostly for the kids, I was pretty psyched about it.
Master Myers has a gorgeous house at the top of this very steep hill with a decent sized pool in back and really impressive landscaping. The theme was a tropical pirate treasure hunt kind-of thing complete with faux cocktails, a limbo contest and, of course, a scavenger hunt.
We split into two teams with the first and second place winners from one of the previous games acting as team captains and picking their team mates. I was, sad to say, last one picked. High school all over again. And middle school. And elementary school. I never get picked, dammit!
Anyway, each team got an envelope which contained a message in code. Although the other adults on my team and I volunteered to assist, the little kids were quicker and squeezed us out of the cramped circle so that they could decipher the code. One of the sharper kids quickly noticed that the numbers probably corresponded to letters of the alphabet and with much squabbling they managed to decipher the first clue. As I didn’t really get to be a part of this I wasn’t sure of exactly what it was, only that it lead to the group running down the hill to go find something.
The other adults and I followed and reached the bottom just in time to find that they’d gotten the next clue. We again volunteered to help but one of the other little kids was sure that he’d already figured it out and was running back up the hill with the group following and me and the other adults reluctantly trying to catch back up.
They found the next clue in the tool shed at the top of the hill which said, you guessed it, that the next clue was back down at the bottom and across the road. I followed slowly this time, sure that we’d have to march back up momentarily. It wasn’t quite that quick as this clue involved counting some amount of paces and digging in the dirt. I couldn’t really contribute other than to say that if the sun is in that part of the sky then west is probably that way.
The two teams had been neck and neck up to this point and both were now devolved into kids digging at random spots in the woods with no one quite agreeing on which spot looked like it had been most recently covered over. My team got the edge, though, and someone dug up a key which belonged to a lock back at the top of the hill.
By this time I was concluding that there was no treasure, and the whole thing was just an excuse to get us doing some black belt training for our next test and I couldn’t help but vent these feelings. If I had a nickel for every time I accidentally cursed with a small child in the vicinity I’d buy a house.
Anyways, they opened up the lock on the treasure chest only to find another map which I didn’t even get a chance to see because by the time I got up the hill they were all running around to other side of the house. I begrudgingly followed and found the lot of them in the brush arguing over something. Next thing I knew they were carrying a decently elaborately decorated sarcophagus back to the treasure chest. (What sarcophagi have to do with pirate treasure, I couldn’t tell you.) There was a bit of a kerfuffle over why the more ADD kids were carrying it back instead of just opening it and they angrily plopped it back on the ground and pointed to the typed sign which threatened “the mummy’s curse” on any who should open it before the appointed time. All in all I was decently impressed with the ADD kids for catching this. I guess that’s what karate training does for young minds.
They got the sarcophagus back to the treasure chest and master Myers congratulated them on following directions and rewarded them by opening the sarcophagus. As soon as the lid opened a small army of big, black ants (let’s just call them north American scarabs) poured out due to the contents of the grand prize: a paper pirate’s chest filled with candy.
Ants: 1 Kids: 0