Thursday, April 7, 2005

Fielder’s Choice
By Barry Burleson

Field trip lots of fun

Pam told me it was my time to sign up as a field trip chaperone.

I hated to admit she was right. But she was. So I obliged.

About a month ago I agreed to accompany son Andy and about 27 other fifth graders on a field trip to Jackson.

I will also admit I tried to back out a time or two during the month leading up to the trip.

You know the typical excuses.

“Too much to do.”

“I just don’t have the time.”

“I think there are enough parents going without me.”

But I stuck with the plan. And I’m glad I did.

We packed the snacks, the picnic lunches, the drinks, the suitcases and such on Thursday morning of last week and five car loads of parents followed the bus down I-55 to our state’s capital city.

We got a bit behind. We were scheduled to stop for the snack at 9:30. I think we stopped closer to 10:30 somewhere around Vaiden.

I learned from some other more experienced field trip parents that field trips are never on time. That made sense.

Our first stop was the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. We were scheduled to eat our picnic lunches first, but we postponed those until after we toured the museum.

The children and a few of the chaperones, too, enjoyed a classroom-type setting with a museum expert holding and talking about various reptiles – like snakes, turtles and alligators. The children and adults were able to pet a snake and pet an alligator. Others in the group kept their distance.

After a quick lunch, we next visited the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. I had been once before. The trip starts with a film featuring some of our state’s sports legends. It is narrated by Mississippi native Robin Roberts, former ESPN broadcaster who now works for ABC as news anchor for Good Morning America.

The film includes such greats as Jerry Rice and Walter Payton.

The children also enjoyed the museum — seeing some tapes of some more memorable games in our state, getting to be play-by-play announcers and actually shooting a basketball and kicking a soccer ball.

Next stop was the Planetarium before checking into our hotel and moving on for dinner and shopping at the mall, capped by late-night bowling.

I think all of the fifth graders were most excited about the mystic bowling, with the main lights out, the lane lights and “disco” lights on, and the music turned up.

The parents seemed to be equally having a good time.

I believe there were 10 mothers on the trip, two teachers and five fathers. The five fathers had a lane to themselves. Little did I know, along with Bob Farley and Perry Breithaupt, that we would be competing against more experienced bowlers Kyle Poole and Calvert Johnson. Kyle steamrolled us in the first two games. In the third game, we decided to all bowl left-handed, just for fun. Guess what, we had to leave after the eighth frame, and I was leading.

I’m thinking about bowling left-handed permanently.

We arrived back at the hotel about midnight and were up and on the road to the capitol early Friday morning. We visited both the House and the Senate and were recognized from the floor. We were greeted by Rep. Kelvin Buck, Rep. Tommy Woods and Sen. Ralph Doxey.

In the Senate while we were there, they passed resolutions honoring the Holly Springs Hawks on their second straight state championship and the Marshall Academy junior high Patriots on their 26-0 season.

It was a great field trip, but I’m still trying to catch up on the lost sleep, accompanied by the weekend switch to Daylight Savings Time.

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