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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Tailing the Komets

Not Komets, but 'tis the season

I know everyone is super-busy at this time of year, but this might be something you may want to consider for the second half if you can find the time. I wrote this for something else, but this is something like Komets Kare Package (coming up Sunday!) that is very important to me.

Anyway, if you have a second to read this it would be much appreciated if you'd consider the option. There are currently more than 1,000 kids in Fort Wayne waiting for Big Brothers or Big Sisters. Literally, all it takes is a little time, and the rewards are remarkable.:

When you become part of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, you obviously share parts of your life with your Little(s), mostly because they have these interrogation techniques that leave you helpless. As an example, they have the ability to giggle constantly until you finally join in, break down and tell them everything they want to know. Somehow it works every time!
Besides covering sports for The News-Sentinel, I also enjoy writing books in my spare time. This works to my advantage with my Littles as they provide constant motivation with their demands every week to know what new things I had written, especially whether they were in it yet. I had not originally planned to include them, but like I said, I'm defenseless against their tactics.
With all sincerity and decorum, I asked each boy what they had done to earn a spot in the book, and then they'd just laugh and go back to cheating me at UNO. I still haven't figured out how they do that yet, though I keep trying. It's the only reason I can come up with for my long losing streak which has now covered more than two years and two lunch buddies. Maybe it's a trick they are teaching in elementary schools now. That must be it.
I always get along great with my Lunch Buddies except for their constant cheating at cards. And worse, then they sit there and brag about it for the rest of our time. Wow, can they talk trash. Trying to not back down and teach the boys proper manners, I usually retaliate with traditional rejoinders like ``Oh, shut up!'' and ``I'll show you next time!''
Oh, yes, they always know who's boss!
(No, I'm not very good at trash talk, either. I'm just really thankful there is never any money involved, though they've often suggested it.)

Anyway, I made a deal with my first Lunch Buddy that I would put him in my next book if he achieved a certain academic challenge we had going. With some hard work, he met his goal so one of the main characters was named after him. Unfortunately, as I was writing past the halfway point of the novel over the following summer, he moved to California, meaning I needed a new lunch buddy. Since I had put the first one into the book, I figured it was only fair that I put the second one in somewhere. He had to read a number of books to be included.
(What I really should have done is have them teach me how they play UNO!)
I also thought it was fair because both boys really helped me in the writing process. As we discussed the development of the story, the first buddy suggested some things I should have the characters do as part of the plot, and the second came up with the nickname for one of the football teams involved. 
Despite the intensity and rules they make up during the card games, we always laugh more than anything else, but we often get funny looks from passing teachers as they lead their classes to the lunch hall. Trust me, it's usually all the boy's fault. I had to keep telling the first one to settle down and quit making fun of me so much or we were both going to get sent to the principal's office.

``Me? You're the one causing all the trouble!'' he'd say. I really have no idea what he was talking about.

The first lunch buddy got to read parts of the book before the end of the school year and laughed at most of the funny spots. Well, at least I hope they are the funny spots. Hey, to a 10-year-old, they were hilarious!

Since he was gone the next year, I needed a new lunch partner, and that's where my second lunch buddy' comes in. He's an 9-year-old third grader, and I may be a little biased, but I'm quite convinced he might be just about the most wonderful little boy around. Besides reading, he and I play checkers, chess and UNO. Just like the first lunch buddy, I'm convinced he cheats at UNO. Somehow, he has the ability to continually select Draw 4 wild cards that he hits me with all the time. And then he giggles.

I tell you what, kids today can never stop giggling. This lack of self-control is awful, especially when it's directed at me. I just seem to have that effect around schools for some reason. 

One of my most fun days as a Lunch Buddy came last spring when I got to read the first chapter of my new book to the second lunch buddy's class during young author's month.  It's a football story and we changed all the names in the book to the names of kids in the class, and  my lunch buddy was the quarterback. Everybody in the class thought that was so cool!

The teacher thought it was so cool that we could get everyone to sit there and pay attention for 45 minutes, but we had a lot of fun.

Last summer, besides working on my UNO skills, particularly my dealing, I also finished writing the book ``Homecoming Game'' and when school resumed recently presented a copy to my lunch buddy. He loved it and thought it was the coolest thing ever when he read his name in the book. Now we're reading the book during our reading time each week, which is quickly followed by more card games.
I'm telling you, t can be really tough listening to some little kid yell ``UNO!'' constantly. And then you just sit back and listen to him giggle, the little cheater. You can sure bet he won't be included in the next book!