We received well over fifty essays from folks to run in our Ball Things Reconsidered newspaper at Super Ball IX. Here are some of our favorites…
This piece ran in the paper on Sunday…
Child of the 21st Century
by Avital Norman Nathman
“If my hands and feet were mangoes, I might want to eat them,” surmises the voice from the backseat of the car. Before I’m able to respond, my son begins to sing along with Trey, belting out all the lyrics to a song that, I’ll admit, I don’t even know all the words of, despite the fifty plus shows I’ve attended.
Once the “The Mango Song” is over, he’s back to speaking to me again.
“Can you play Bathtub Jim now?” he asks.
“‘Bathtub Gin?’” I clarify.
“Yeah, that one. Oh, but what’s a gin?”
I snicker to myself before flipping to the requested song, not even getting a chance to answer my four and a half year before he’s bopping along to the playful sounds of Page’s keyboard.
Not a day goes by without him requesting a Phish song. We pride ourselves in playing an array of music in our household. While he also asks to listen to other musicians – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Cake, Peter, Paul & Mary, and yes…even Lady Gaga on occasion – Phish always seems to top the list. Perhaps it’s because I listened to Phish all throughout my pregnancy. I even had a small fantasy of giving birth while Divided Sky rang out in the background. Maybe it’s because at just over two years old he was able to attend his first Phish concert at Fenway, a magical experience for any fan, especially one that hails from Massachusetts. Or, it could possibly be because his father and I often play our favorite shows, reminiscing about concerts so often that he’ll remember along with us as if he was actually there.
Fenway was all it took to get him hooked. After being invited to share a box at MSG this past New Year’s Eve, we knew we couldn’t go without bringing our son along. Although he fell asleep only a few songs in, he still talked about the show for weeks afterward, letting everyone know who would listen (and even those who wouldn’t!) about how he spent his New Year’s eve.
When we heard about Super Ball IX, there was no hesitation and no real discussion. We just knew we would be attending as a family. While Super Ball IX will be my sixth Phish festival, it will be my son’s first. He’s been to a few other music festivals, but I have a feeling that none of the previous ones will match up to what awaits us at Super Ball IX. He’s been talking about it so much that every single on of his school friends knows our summer plans, which can lead to somewhat awkward questions from fellow parents.
“You’re going fishing for a whole weekend? I didn’t know you fished,” was one mother’s comment. Her eyes grew much wider as I did my best to explain what we were actually going to do for the fourth of July weekend.
The excitement in our house is palpable as we’re now only a week away from the festival. Every little thing seems to ramp us all up. Our box of blink and glow arrived and it took all his will power for my son not to break into his glow wand right then and there. Only the reassurance that he could wave it to his heart’s content at Super Ball IX seemed to ease his excitement.
My excitement is less easily tempered. My mind is reeling with the fact that I will not only get to experience yet another Phish festival, but that I will also have the opportunity to experience with my son. I will get to see how he reacts to the festival village and take in what is sure to be some amazing sculptures from Lars Fisk. I am buzzing with anticipation for him to experience his first festival glow war, hopefully during a sick “Harry Hood” jam.
I’m excited for late nights filled with magical music and garlic grilled cheeses. I’m excited for dancing our hearts out and sharing in the groove together. Let’s just say that the excitement is so great that the number of living room dance parties has increased exponentially in the last few weeks.
While I have no real idea of what exactly waits for us this weekend, I do know that whatever it is, we’ll remember it for a long, long time. And as long as the boys play “The Mango Song” at least once, everything else will be gravy.