It was down to three couples. We’d outlasted dozens, and now the mysterious grand prize loomed; my wife and I just had to win this final round. A bullhorn blew, then came the single syllable that’s the peak of my Milwaukee summer: “Toss!”
My wife and I moved here 10 years ago, and landed within walking distance of Milwaukee’s Lake Park. It has one of the city’s best 4th-of-July picnics, featuring ice cream, sack races and the keenest water-balloon-toss competition going.
Metaphors, like water balloons, are fragile things, so be considerate as I toss this your way: The July 4th Water Balloon Toss is everything that’s great about America. Unlike other back-and-forth sports — tennis, volleyball, politics — you only win when you work together. Throwing too hard just makes a mess.
We lost our first year, and many after. Then we learned: smooth hands, even toss, always smile. We got runner-up. Next year, we won – glory, and the mystery prize: a 6-piece cordless tool set. In other words, if you think democracy needs fixing, come by the park this July.