You come for the party, you leave with an empty wallet.
You come for the sand, the boardwalk, the walking legions of wiz-made bodies, the SpringShot, the taffy (ok, that's a lie, no one comes for the salt water taffy anymore) the 99 cent pizza, the rollercoasters, the drinking, the mild debauchery, the water parks, the rusty nails, jam bands, monster trucks and this year's top-line shirt (a pinnie, aka a reversible sleeveless basketball-style mesh jersey) that read in big block letters COME AT ME, BRO.
Startin' fights on the boardwalk at Childwood? Naw, too much fun to be had otherwise.
I've had my share of good times and good stories to tell from the annual beach extravaganza that is Wildwood, now with 436 4-on-4 teams this year. My father lives just down the road, i've been to this tournament with two ultimate girlfriends over the years, I've been on near-championship teams and championship beer bracket teams. This year was more of the same, i suppose, but different.
I didn't party much. I played well with the ATL boys and girls, a good bunch of folks. The tournament got a carton of my books, 68 of them, and sold none. I played, i think, in 11 games over the weekend which ties a record for me. The goal, of course, is to play as often as possible. It is sand after all, even if the sand was baking hot (99 degrees in the air on Sunday, hotter on the surface) and my feet got shredded on Saturday so badly that I had to wear tennis shoes, but STILL -- it's Wildwood. It's fun in the sun and it shouldn't end.
But everything comes to an end.
And then when you leave there goes the $200 a night hotel room, minimum 3 nights. The $25 SpringShot ride. The countless dollars spent trying to win a SpongeBob SquarePants stuffed animal at the basketball carney game. The $26 Shrimp Bonanza (George Carlin would call this one out) that had 6 pieces of battered and fried shrimp and 6 naked shrimps from a supermarket platter. The cases of beer, the gas and tolls to spend countless hours on interstates an the Garden State Parkway, the $300 tourney fee split between ten teammates. The money, it goes, usually, but this year I stayed clear of all that.
It's a beach town and a beach summer and you're there for action. The action was had.