My mom was in town this weekend. And The Red Hen, as thoughtful as ever, bought us tickets to a trampoline park as a fun family event.
So me, her, my mom, and my three kids loaded up the black SUV and headed to a warehouse district in nearby Rockville, Maryland.
Jumping around on a trampoline didn’t strike me as being super fun…until I tried it. I thought, let me just try this one here….bounce..bounce..bounce..and then all of a sudden I exploded.
The first bounce lit the spark and from there I rocketed around the park like a mad man, springing and flying all over, bouncing off walls and little kids like I was 8 years old. I’m 6’4 250 lbs with a big beard and a black beanie and here I am storming around the trampoline park like an overgrown kid.
Sweat dripping, kids laughing, suburban mothers looking on with a mix of concern and curiosity, I was having far more fun than I expected…..I noticed the dodge ball area.
YES, DODGE BALL.
I asked one of the teenage kids working there if we could open one of the closed trampoline dodge ball courts for our little crew, “hey bro, can we use this one?”
The kid with pencil thin mustache nodded yes.
So I led my troop of six onto the trampolines which would become a killing zone.
Immediately, the balls started flying.
My 13 year old son is a baseball pitcher, so he got me good a few times, winging the grapefruit sized nerf balls right at me. My competitive nature kicked in and before you knew it, I was throwing ‘em back even harder. My daughters, mother, and girlfriend took some serious shots from me too. They each laughed and giggled as they tried to return fire. We were having blast.
I guess our energy was magnetic because a few little boys aged 5-10 suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
They each looked at me with the same excited eyes: “HIT ME!!”
I’m not one to disappoint so I added those kids to the target list.
Jump, bounce, fly, strike!
I was aiming for their heads and hitting ‘em. The ball would sail through the air and smash them in the skull with such force they’d fall right over…and jump back up instantly screaming, MOAAARRRRRRR!!!
It was glorious.
Then, one kid snuck up on me and hit me in the face. For some reason my first reaction was to ask, “where is your dad?”
“I don’t have a dad.”
That shot hit me harder than any others.
WHERE ARE THE FATHERS?
I looked around at that point and realized our game had attracted a whole crew of energetic, rough and tumble little boys who wanted to fight. These kids were dying for some hard core dodge ball, which until recent times, was one of the few ways our society turned combat into playtime for children.
I grew up playing dodge ball in grade school. It was without a doubt the best part of gym class every year. Smash someone and get rewarded for it, what could be better?
But all that is gone now. Dodge ball is history. “Too aggressive, don’t you know. TOXIC, don’t you know.”
The kids who joined us didn’t seem to think so, in fact, they were energized by the activity. They couldn’t get enough. And we all were happy to oblige.
Join our crew, little warriors.
Eventually big daddy got tired and we walked around a little bit.
The moms in their black puffy jackets and brown boots looked at me with a mixture of attraction and confusion. I was a sweaty mess surrounded by excited kids having fun. 43 years old, and I was not only keeping up with the kids, but leading them.
And of course, the dads I ran into were soft, distracted, and on their phones.
For them, the trampoline park was a way to find a babysitter for their offspring.
But for me, it was a way to engage with my favorite people in the whole world.
Here I thought we were just going out for a family trip, but instead I was reminded of our society’s ills.
Kids with no dads, moms with no men, men with no energy.
Me and my little crew (aka MY FAMILY) stood out amid the sea of distraction, dissatisfaction, and discontent – and all it took was a willingness to have fun. It was a great Sunday thing to do. I had a great time.
THE NINJA DAD
We were about ready to wrap it up when I noticed an obstacle course.
It was like a mini version of American Ninja Warrior.
Kids were trying and failing so I thought why not let’s give it a shot.
I swung from one trapeze to the next, I climbed through a ropes course, and then there was the final obstacle: a horizontal ladder that angled upwards. To get across you had to do one armed pull ups and swing like you do on the monkey bars.
I wasn’t sure I could it actually. But I reached out, pulled up, and climbed each rung using pure strength and commitment.
Once I reached the other side some people let out an audible gasp.
Red Hen yelled out, WOW JACK, with a tone of voice that revealed her arousal.
Moms looked at me like, WHOA.
Little kids high-fived me.
No one else had been able to do it all day.
I’ll admit, I was pretty pumped about finishing it. I guess training to meet the Liminal Order fitness standards had paid off.
Afterwards as I was changing in the bathroom, standing there shirtless and dripping with sweat, a fat dad with his winter coat on chirped, ‘some workout there I see.’
I’d become the Man at the trampoline park when all I went to do was play with my kids.
Now, this isn’t a story about how cool I am, but rather a tale of woe for our culture.
Why were there no dads there leading the way?
Why were the moms so disengaged?
Why was everyone attracted to our energy when there were so many other things to do?
The entire experience was a metaphor in real life.
Strong men = strong families = strong community.
And we know that masculine leadership is where it all begins.
Which, my friends, is why we created the Liminal Order.
We don’t want to see rudderless children, we don’t want to see feminized boys, and we don’t want to see playtime violence condemned as real violence.
And we most certainly don’t want to quit attracting women with our feats of strength!
Each one of those boys who played with me wished it was their own dad playing with them.
But until that day which may never come, those little men were running right up to me just praying I’d smash them in the face with a ball.
And smash them in the face was exactly what I did.
If you’re the smash a kid in the face kind of man like I am, then you might be interested in the Liminal Order.
What is the Liminal Order?
The Liminal Order is a group of men who believe in the power of strong male leadership and we accept the responsibility of leading our families, our communities, and our Nation.
Without strong men becoming strong fathers and strong leaders, our Nation’s future is in doubt.
Do we want a country full of lost boys, distracted dudes, and moms with no Men?
Or would you prefer a nation of strong men, strong families, and strong communities?
I think you know the answer…
So, join us! Let’s smash some faces together.
Membership information is below!