I will never play Marco Polo again. Yeah, I mean never. Sure, I have fond memories of playing it with my best friend and her family, but that makes no difference to me now. Because last time I played it, I felt utterly humiliated.
It started out perfectly fine. Several players had turns being “it” and the whole thing went smoothly. There were not that many other people in the pool, and those people were concentrated in the shallow end.
Then came my turn to be “it.” Now, I am not that strong a swimmer, but I tried my best to follow the choruses of “Polo!”
I yelled out “Marco!” every few seconds as they got further and further away.
Then, I heard a voice that was not so far away, the voice of my younger sister. I decided to focus all of my energy on going after her. Sounds reasonable, no?
Anyway, I called out again and couldn’t hear her that time, but I did hear splashing in the direction where I had last heard her.
Our variation of Marco Polo had the rule that you didn’t have to call out “Polo” as long as your face was underwater, so I assumed that was the problem. Eager to be done with being “it,” I put my remaining energy into chasing that splashing. The closer I got, the more frantic the splashing became.
Finally, I got close enough, slapped my hand down on the swimmer’s back, and yelled “Got you!”
My victory was short-lived.
First thing I noticed was that this was in no way my sister. The second thing I noticed was that whoever I had just literally slapped was very hairy.
I opened my eyes and found myself staring into the face of the old hairy man I had chased around the pool. I blustered out a sorry and then disappeared underwater, only re-emerging at the edge of the pool. I hid on one of the reclining chairs behind a book for a good 15 minutes before I gathered the courage to go back in.
And that is why you will never see me playing Marco Polo again.
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