I’m having all these nostalgic moments as of late. My latest one involves an event which took place at the end of every year in elementary school – field day! For those of you who never shared in this memorable tradition, field day basically pitted each elementary “class” against one another in a series of athletic events (50 yard dash, bean bag toss, etc.) The winning class would earn the respect of their peers and reap the benefits of eternal glory (eh, not really the latter). In particular, I recall my second grade field day above all others.
I’ll be blunt – my second grade class was nothing special. In terms of physical abilities, the most we were capable of doing was walking from class to class without breaking a sweat. 😀 But the one thing we did have was true, unhindered determination. We vowed that we would beat our more athletically-inclined peers during field day and forever shower ourselves in glory. Heck, I remember gathering with my classmates during recess (yes, sacrificing precious recess time) to coordinate our strengths in each upcoming event. Pretty ambitious for a bunch of second grade brats. 🙂
Then the decisive day came. We fought it out in every event, coming in 2nd place most of the time, but earning points nevertheless. With only one event left, we felt that the overall 1st place honor would be ours, and we’d shortly be enjoying the “high life” of an elementary student. Come to find out, we were tied with another team for first place. As discouraged as a bunch of second graders can be, we looked at each other in dismay. The last event, which would now decide the victor, was having one person from each class throw a bean bag as far as they could. The farthest distance would be the deemed the winner. The only problem was that the participant from each class was the teacher.
Our teacher, bless her heart, was a short female in her mid 60’s. The competition? A young, male teacher who just finished his undergrad and happened to play football. Our class saw our hopes of victory go up in flames as the other teacher catapulted his bean bag well across the field. Our teacher threw it 10 feet. 🙁 Now that I look back on how upset I was, it’s almost laughable. Heck, it’s “just field day.” But I dare you to go to an elementary student and try explaining that to them. They’ll be devastated if you insult their highly prized tradition. Kind of interesting how a person’s priorities can change over time.
Anyways, several things stemmed from that experience… for better or worse. To this day, I have difficulty in trusting others to do a job with the passion and results that I know I can provide. I’m over-competitive and hate failure. That’s one of my major character flaws – though I’m rather simple by nature, I will do virtually anything to get what I want. To me, Vince Lombardi said it best: “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
…and all of this from a second grade field day experience. 🙂 I miss elementary school!