Well, here we are in Rio Hato, Panama, in the inaugural season of the American Sports Academy at Buenaventura. Exciting stuff. We have a beautiful facility and we have comprised an All-Star staff chosen carefully from our years and years in camping to make sure we get off to the perfect start.
It’s nearing the end of staff orientation in July and we take everyone one evening after a day of meetings and organization to the local Super 99 Market to stock up on whatever goods they may need for their four week stay in Panama. Terence O’Connor, who has been with us since the early 1990’s, is standing in the check-out line when he hears a man in front of him speaking with an American accent. They get into a conversation.
The man looks at Terence’s shirt, which has the ASA logo on it, and asks “What is the American Sports Academy?” Terence tells him it is an American sports camp for children that we have brought over to the Buenaventura Resort.
The guy smiles and says, “I used to go to a sports camp in America. It was the best time of my life!”
Terence says, “Oh yeah? Where did you go?”
“Kutsher’s Sports Academy”, the guy says. “The best summers ever!”
Well, if you know Terence you know he has a loud, booming voice, and you also know he can get pretty enthusiastic, pretty quickly. He screams, “GET THE *%&* OUTTA HERE! THAT’S WHERE WE’RE FROM!!!” I hear him from the back of the store and come running.
It turns out the guy grew up in Miami and went to KSA in the New York Catskills back in the 1980’s. I was at KSA as a basketball coach when he was a camper, and Caroline was at KSA as a lake counselor. We both knew his bunk counselor, who went by the name of Napoleon Lightning. Crazy world.
He now lives in Panama City permanently and has two children… who will be attending ASA next year.
We get around!