This past weekend, my daughter and her team participated in the Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Soccer Tournament. As a Las Vegas “virgin,” I approached the trip with some trepidation. Would Sin City be as decadent as I imagined?
Well, with a 13-year-old in tow, there’s a limit to the wildness one might experience in Vegas. Yet our visit confirmed to me that there’s a good reason for the saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”
Upon touchdown in Las Vegas, we saw gaily colored slot machines throughout the airport. And on the taxi ride to the Strip, my daughter pulled out some cards with pictures of bare-breasted women, asking, “What are these for?” Oh, my. Vegas was going to need a lot of explaining to this group of 12- and 13-year-olds.
As the weekend went on, there was seemingly no limit to the strange and inappropriate things we saw glimpses of. Our girls seemed to be the only children staying in a huge hotel on the Vegas Strip, and I’m sure a few people dialed child protective services behind our backs. Whether it was the scantily clad women dressed as plumed show girls or the man in the g-string being escorted away by police, our daughters certainly got an eyeful. And I haven’t seen so many people that inebriated since college!
Our first night, I had a lot of trouble sleeping. I kept waking up on the hour from 3 am on. Later, someone told me this is because the hotels pump oxygen into the building to keep people awake. Truth, or urban legend? I’ll never know. But I finally decided to get up at 5:45 am and go seek coffee. As I descended toward the lobby floor, I heard raucous laughter. To my shock, people were gambling, drinking, and shouting as they sat at the black jack tables and roulette wheels. I thought New York was the city that never sleeps.
The girls played some awesome soccer and enjoyed the camaraderie of a weekend together in a foreign land. They explored the Strip, stocked up on candy at Hershey’s Chocolate World, and monopolized the hot tub at the hotel pool. We parents went along for the ride, but one of the moms regretted that she hadn’t had the chance to play the slots in the hotel casino.
We capped off our experience by getting our boogie on at the Britney Spears show. I counted myself lucky that my daughter didn’t ask why Britney was walking a man on all fours on a leash.
We were a somewhat bedraggled but happy group as we headed home to our very suburban, reassuringly boring existence. But I think my daughter and her friends made some memories that will last a lifetime.
In fact, I’m betting on it.