That was my name in Laser Tag. Today Noah had his birthday party at Laser Flash. He invited some classmates and his teacher who, believe it or not, showed up for the entire deal. It was so much fun. I had never playd laser tag. I always left that part to my husband. But today he was tired from working this morning so I offered to be the other adult with Mr. Prible and all of these young boys.
When you register, you pick out a code name. Noah was The Terminator. Eli was GoreMan. His friends were things like Bob the 4th, Nanotech, Phoenix, Destroyer. They were scaring me. They had all played before and threatened to shoot up this person or get bonus points for being so good, etc. I was about to put “Scaredy Pants” or “Terrified.”
Instead, I puffed out my chest and played it cool. I quickly changed the name to “Terrifier.” It’s all about playing the part. Faking it until you make it. So I faked that I was not scared, when, truth be told, I was a little nervous about being in a dark warehouse, designed like a maze. I felt like a little girl afraid of her dark closet or finding what monster might be under her bed; I was nervous I might get lost or even worse, creamed by a bunch of little boys. So, I became the Terrifier, someone to be reckoned with. HHHAAaAAaaa, HAAAaaaAAA, HAAAAaaaaAAA. That was my evil laughter. Scary, huh? Once I got out there with my cool laser vest, I walked, not ran, because that’s not allowed… but I walked very quickly, probably faster than an Olympic Speed Walker and I kicked some laser tag butt! I shot Mr. Prible more than he hit me, which was one of my goals.
As fun as it was to shoot each other in the dark, cavernous warehouse, it was even more fun to watch these boys gather around Noah for pizza and cake and then gifts. He opened Mr. Prible’s gift first. His teacher is great. He’s young and fun but knows when to reel these boys in when they get out of hand. They love and respect him. It meant so much to them to have him there. They had been talking about him for the few days before the party, trying to grasp that they would be playing with their teacher during the upcoming weekend.
As Noah opened his gift, he held in his hands a most coveted “Fart Machine.” Yes, his teacher gave him a remote-controlled Fart Machine. No kidding. The best part came when Mr. Prible said, “Noah, that one is even higher tech than mine.” Apparently, Mr. Prible keeps a Fart Machine in his desk to break up the monotony of some days. He knows which kids can handle it and which ones he might crush if he uses it. I’m not a huge fan of the Fart Machine, especially because we’ve had it less than one day and I’ve heard it at least five hundred times.
What I love, though, is that Mr. Prible remembers what it’s like to be that age. He recalls the insecurities and goofiness and he uses those memories to build relationships with these boys. In a time when many boys are getting lost or losing interest in school, here is a teacher who is passionate about his students and takes risks (read: Fart Machine) to build relationships with these squirmy fifth grade boys so he has a voice in which to teach and lead them into the men they will become.