Immaturity Is Fun and Scary

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When sixteen year old boys are put in a hotel together there is no telling what stupid things they might do, especially when the hotel is two blocks away from the beach. It was the middle of December on a cold night, and the wrestling team had just come back from a daylong tournament. We were staying at a hotel in Ocean City, New Jersey, which was deserted in winter. Many other teams were staying there too since it was the cheapest hotel within a five mile radius. Having been cooped up in a gym all day, we were very antsy and ready to let loose at night.

Our team was treated to dinner at a restaurant called the “Green Turtle” which is where we first devised the plan. As I devoured my bacon cheeseburger, I asked the team if they wanted to go into the ocean when we got back. I originally got this idea from another team I saw bolting back into the hotel dripping wet an hour earlier. They seemed to be having a great adrenaline rush, which is what I live for. Sadly, the older members on the team turned down my idea. They were too mature for the wild plan. I was able, however, to get one person on board named Wyatt who was a sophomore like me. He said he was up for the challenge and we made plans to do it when we got back. On the bus ride back I thought I’d run the idea by Siegel, one of the coaches. He said no way. He brought up a few medical terms, like hypothermia, to back up his statement. For this one time I would not take my coach’s advice.

When I got back to the hotel, I put on my compression shorts and ran into the hall to meet Wyatt. He had dragged along a freshman to give us towels when we got out of the water. We started headed to the door when another freshman, John, said he wanted to jump in with us. Wyatt and I were hesitating to let him join. He was our team’s heavyweight and not known for his fleet feet, but he insisted he would keep up and we finally caved in. Soon, we were darting out the door, with nothing on but compression shorts, heading towards the vast ocean. I would say that people were giving us dirty looks except it was a ghost town. The air was already piercing my skin and I wasn’t even wet yet. As we entered the sandy beach we ran past a bunch of Bonner wrestlers who were smoking cigarettes. They gave us dirty looks and I think they said some wise jokes, but I was too in the zone, and cold, to fight back. Wyatt and I finally hit the edge of the water with John lagging behind. We waited for a few seconds until we grew the courage, then we darted and dove into the waves.

As I pulled my head out of the water, I thought my heart had frozen over and stopped beating. Siegel’s words rang in my head, except this time he was laughing at me. In a moment I realized I wasn’t dead, yet, and my adrenaline kicked in. I sprinted out of the water as fast as my frozen legs could move. I thought icicles had instantly grown off my body. As I ran I saw John running towards the water about to jump in, but he was the least of my troubles since I was freezing to death. Wyatt and I ran stride for stride past the Bonner boys, onto the sidewalk, and across the deserted streets. I couldn’t feel my feet hitting the ground as I ran because they were so numb, this was the most frightening part to me. As we reached the gates of the hotel I expected a crowd of people waiting for me ready to high five me and warm me up. Instead, I saw my other coach, Fausey, wondering the halls. He looked at us like we were crazy but we knew he wished he was with us because he’s young and almost as immature as we are. We begged him not to tell Siegel and he said he wouldn’t. He then asked if anyone else was with us and our hearts sank.

We had forgotten about John. He was left alone, half-naked, with the Bonner kids. I immediately thought he was mauled to death by them. I also thought he could have frozen to death because he couldn’t run fast enough. We went on a mad search inside and outside of the hotel, after we had gotten dressed of course. We finally found him locked outside in the pool area. He claimed his feet hurt so he walked back to the hotel and had went in the wrong door, which lead him to the pool. We laughed it off but were utterly scared beforehand. If he had died it would have blown are cover with Siegel. We also would have lost a teammate.

This experience to me was a perfect example of juvenile behavior. We were specifically told not to do something and we went and did it anyway. We would have paid for it as well if John had actually gotten himself into trouble. I found out I am still not mature because if I were presented with the same situation again my decision would be the same, except I wouldn’t bring the freshman.





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