When the Rubber Chicken Meets the Road

A few weeks ago I was volunteering at a camp for young kids with limb loss, Camp No Limits. I love coming to camp because I meet amazing individuals who refuse to accept limitations no matter what their circumstances.

One of the favorite games in camp is “Rubber Chicken Baseball.” Here are the rules: one team will throw the rubber chicken to the fielding team. They will then form a tight circle and their “runner” will run around the circle, each full trip around the circle equals a run or point. The fielding team will retrieve the thrown rubber chicken and quickly form a single file line. Once the line is formed the fielding team passes the chicken over the shoulders, under the legs, one by one down the line and back up to the beginning. The goal of course is to do this as quickly as possible to limit the number of times the other team runs around their circle.

Easy right? Well, in a recent game of rubber chicken baseball during Camp No Limits at Quinnipiac University, things were getting pretty competitive. I was on a fielding team and watched as the other team decided to throw the rubber chicken down a hill toward the parking lot. I watched this happening in slow motion as my fury grew because, as I mentioned, Camp No Limits is for young kids with limb loss and several kids on my team were leg amputees wearing prosthetic legs. Running down a hill could be dangerous for them. I decided that I would run down the hill as fast as I could, retrieve the rubber chicken, throw it back up the hill so the other kids would not have to go down the hill themselves. I was about halfway down the hill when I realized, “this hill is much steeper than I thought,” and soon went head first in an epic crash into the asphalt of the parking lot. The game paused. I played it tough and didn’t let on to how much pain I was really in, the blood running down my arm didn’t help keep that secret. I was bandaged up, the kids continued the game and three weeks later I’m almost healed up.

I’ve spent some time reflecting on my incident during rubber chicken baseball. I was mad and embarrassed that I fell but I do think I learned a valuable lesson. I made a quick and rash decision before fully evaluating the situation. I thought automatically that I was going to solve the problem by myself and didn’t take the time to look to my team for a better solution. I also made assumptions that the kids on my team with leg prosthetics were in danger of falling and in my haste, I’m the one who took the fall. I’m pretty sure those kids would have been fine getting down the hill, if I would have looked out for the whole team then maybe we could have all gotten to the rubber chicken without incident.

How many times do we make assumptions about the rest of our team or colleagues? Do we shoot off our mouth or make rash decisions before we really take in the whole situation? Our world moves fast and it’s important for us to move quickly and efficiently but if we are not careful, if we aren’t aware of the possible dangers, if we try to do everything ourselves, we might find ourselves where the rubber chicken meets the road. And I can tell you, it’s not the place you want to be.

If you would like to see some of the work that Camp No Limits is doing, I invite you to watch this short video about the camp:
I’m currently raising money for Camp No Limits through the “Out on a Limb” walk in Long Island. You can donate to my team by following this link.