It was the end of my grade 7 year in middle school and the school had put together a little carnival for all the students to participate in. Teachers were assigned to be the chaperones for various groups of students to ensure that we didnt’ get ourselves into trouble, adn to make sure that we tried all of the events (at least the ones we wanted to).
At this event, my teacher was one of the newest teachers in the school. She was young and had just landed a Teacher’s Assistant role with the school. She was in a few of my classes as a supervisor and was very well liked by most of the students – mainly because when she was a substitute, she would let us watch whatever movie we wanted in class (as long as she had it on hand).
There was one station that a lot of groups skipped, but it was also the one with the longest line since it was the most dangerous. The school had installed a zipline that went from one of the school walls to the front courtyard area. It wasn’t a fast zipline, but I guess the long lines coupled with the potential for catastrophe turned some of the students and teachers off. Since our teacher chaperone was young, our group decided to persuade her into letting us go.
After begging our chaperone non-stop, she finally relented and followed us to the zipline line-up.
“Fine,” she said with a heavy sigh as she walked toward the line-up.
She lined up at the very end to make sure that all of us (a group of 12) got to go first. Some of the girls in the group didn’t want to do it, but seeing our chaperone line-up bravely with us made them change their minds.
The zipline itself wasn’t more than 50 feet long and was probably only 5 feet off the ground. At the end of the zipline, you would dangle there until one of the attendants pushed the step ladder/platform out for you to stand on, and the attendant would then release your harness. The whole process took a few minutes, which is probably why the line-up was so long and moved so slowly.
One-by-one we went down the zipline, thinking it was the most epic thing we would ever do in our lives. And at the time, it probably was.
When I reached the bottom of the zipline and was unharnessed, the rest of the group had gathered to the side. One of the guys pulled me aside.
“We’re going to steal her shoes,” he said as he motioned to our teacher chaperone.
“When she’s dangling there,” he continued as he pointed to the next zipline participant hanging around waiting for the platform, “we’re going to get her shoes!”
I still wasn’t sure what the motivation behind the plan was.
“Are you in?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said giving in to peer pressure.
He then went to the next person who had just got off the zipline to lay out the plan.
Our teacher was wearing these Nike hiking boots (ACG) with thick socks and black leggings.
When it was her time to go, the group gathered near the landing area. As she zipped by and her momentum had stopped, the plan was in place. Like a horde of zombies, we rushed in and grabbed at her feet.
“Hey!” she yelled, “what are you guys doing?”
She could see her shoelaces were coming undone and she was helpless at trying to save her shoes.
“Hey,” she yelled again, but was laughing at the same time. She took it well, almost as if she was thinking ‘they got me’ and let it slide.
When the attendant with the platform finally arrived, she was hanging there in just her socks, though one was almost off her foot as I think one of the students had tried to steal her sock as well.
She pulled her socks up and walked down the platform. To her credit, we didn’t run away or anything, we just stood there and waited with her shoes.
She walked over and grabbed the shoes from us. She patted off her socks and put her feet back into her boots.
“Good one,” she laughed, “I’m just glad you didn’t make me chase you guys.”
“We like you too much to do that,” said the boy that had orchestrated the whole thing.
And with that, we all sat on the grass for a quick break before we head to our next activity.