WATERPALOOZA JOURNAL — How to make yourself a target in one week or less

Posted on 23 Jul 2009 at 10:51am
APRES MOI, LE DELUGE: The author prior to — and during — his (surprise) practice round. ARNOLD WAYNE JONES/Dallas Voice

GET WET
Heatwave Waterpalooza
Station 4 parking lot, 3911 Cedar Springs Road. July 25, noon–7 p.m. (registration begins at 10 a.m.). Registration fees $20–$25
(individual) to $100­–$125 (team). Lifewalk.kintera.org.

My colleagues here at the newspaper are gearing up for the Lone Star Ride, an epic undertaking that involves a gajillion miles of pedaling for a good cause. I applaud them wholeheartedly, as they do training rides of up to 60 miles in 100 degree weather. I can’t say I’m all that jealous, but I get it.

So in order to feel the sort of athletic camaraderie, I opted to join the water balloon dodgeball team. Dangerous, yes. A sacrifice, no doubt. But that’s me.

The invitation for Heatwave Waterpalooza noted that it was a tournament benefiting AIDS Arms’ LifeWalk. This met all the requirements of "good cause" and "sport" and "potential of heatstroke" but without the mileage. I was so in.

Taking a hint from the riders’ training runs, I began my arduous preparatory regimen. I have to be in optimal shape to help the team bring home the title. Also, my dark competitive nature wants to win. We need strategies for ultimate victory. I turned to all-around sports guy and coach Jere Becker who had lots of good tips. Lots.

"To prepare for offense, practice throwing water balloons at a moving target, like shooting ducks at the State Fair," he said in an e-mail. "Get friends to help you that are willing to get wet. Warm up your arm with big and little arm circles, and then stretch your arms across your chest. Use Biofreeze to help warm up and loosen the muscles. Ice your upper arm and shoulder after practicing and games."

And that was his first paragraph.

Becker is serious about sports; I’m serious about sports — on TV.

For defense, Becker suggested "the same drill, but have friends throw at you." Uh, no; next.

"Learn defensive moves like turning sideways to minimize body surface that could be hit, knee bends to prevent head shots and the ‘bend and snap’ from ‘Legally Blonde’ to improve reaction time," he added. Good thing I already know that last part.

I’d share his strategy plan that is awesome but the other teams don’t need to know what we know. It may be water, but we’re out for blood.

Because Facebook updates are crucial, Starbucks’ free pastry day this week and imposing deadlines, I didn’t have much time to train. I decided to talk up someone in the office who is training for the Lone Star Ride.

"I’d say amp up your upper arm strength by tossing Cheetos Puffs into your mouth. Also strengthen those hamstrings by sitting in a La-Z-Boy and raising your legs with the lever. That might help. You’ll need your hands and feet in prime condition, so a mani/pedi is probably in order. You don’t want any cuticles that might burst a balloon and get you out," he advised.

Sound ideas all. Much more sensible than Coach Becker. Plus, I realized I’ve been training all my life.

Our so-called competitors better bring lots of towels because we’ll be standing high and dry at the end. The Dallas Voice Gryffindors are coming to Heatwave Waterpalooza to kick names and take ass. Or something like that.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 24, 2009.

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