Happy Birthda — Gotcha!
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
And if roller derby is a little too retro for you but you still want some vaguely violent indoor recreation, you might check out Lazer Tag. Commentator Ana Hebra Flaster found herself thrilled by it when her son begged to have a Lazer Tag party for his 10th birthday.
ANA HEBRA FLASTER:
I hate the idea of guns of any sort, but he argued his point with such passion and logic. `We're only shooting light beams, Mom.' And I gave in. Susan, another mom, volunteered to keep me company. I was touched by her generosity until I saw her hop into line for the first round of Lazer Tag. When she and the boys came out 20 minutes later, she said, `You've got to try this.' With a testimonial like that, I couldn't help myself, and the boys roared as I joined them for the next round.
Now in Lazer Tag you get to pick a code name. When was the last time you got to do that? Susan seemed a little shy about hers, Lola. I wrote in Spider Woman without even thinking. We put on special vests that electronically register the hits from other players' laser beams, grabbed our guns--laser, mind you--and darted through the dark, two-story labyrinth. Now Spider Woman's hearing and eyesight just aren't what they used to be. So the blaring techno rock and the fog machines posed an immediate challenge. Lola screamed at me to go to the top level where we could see the little rascals better. From there we shot our lights at them, scored at will and confused them for a while, until Daniel, code named Feta Cheese, looked over his shoulder and traced the light beams back to our lair. We were toast, as the boys say, but we put up a good fight, Lola and I.
And I was Spider Woman again the next day when my softball team faced its biggest rival. Our dugout was quiet as our all-woman team stretched what we hoped were muscles in our legs and arms. Slowly I felt my inner Spider Woman resurfacing. That same rude, win-at-all-costs mood I'd felt during Lazer Tag with the boys was back. Where our first basewoman spoke up, I realized I wasn't alone. `I'm tired of losing to this team,' she said. `Let's just do this,' said another. Something happened then. We stopped pretending we were just there for the exercise and the mimosas. We stopped looking the other players in the eye. We may not have looked good at 8:30 AM that Sunday, our soft bellies hanging over our shorts, our hair disheveled and unsecured. But we never looked back as we scored one, then two, then many runs against the team that had haunted us all spring and the spring before. Then, as if I needed anything more at that moment, I heard my son's proud voice boom from the bleachers, `Way to go, Spider Woman.'
SIEGEL: Commentator Ana Hebra Flaster lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.
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