Monday, June 29, 2009

Wedgie: Junior Jock?

I’ve been trying to figure out when I became a spaz at athletics. I have many traumatic memories of 4th grade gym class so I know it was before then. But I recently uncovered some evidence that suggests at one point I might have become a jock.

Every year, my elementary school held the “Byram Junior Olympics” and I found some old ribbons I won in second grade. Since I am always one to snatch victory from the hands of defeat, I have to think about what these ribbons actually mean. For starters, I don’t know if we competed against kids in our own class (meaning 24 kids, half of which were boys so that would be a pool of 12) or amongst our entire grade (of 100 kids, 50 boys, let’s say 30 showed up.) It’s hard to tell if these are meaningful ribbons, or if they tried to give out ribbons to as many kids as possible. (This was back in the mid-seventies, before the “don’t you dare hurt my little snowflake’s feelings” mentality set in, so I assume we competed against our entire grade.)

One of the First Place ribbons was for a relay race. As far as I know I could have been the slowest one on the team and the rest of them just carried me. I certainly didn’t drag them down, but I can’t really claim it as a personal victory.

The Second Place ribbon was for the Obstacle Course. I remember having to crawl through small tunnels and whatnot, which gave the advantage to the small scrawny kids. I’ll take it.

The Third Place ribbon was for the Long Jump. My father “trained” me by having me practice jumping at home. Most families have a wall where they mark off the height of growing children; we had a wood floor that marked my farthest jumps. I guess it paid off, because I did get a ribbon out of it.

I was no Bruce Jenner, but 3 ribbons is still not too shabby. Who knows... had I started playing sports in 3rd grade maybe I’d be doing Kona this year and not the lame Wisconsin course (I kid, I kid).

But perhaps the most telling sign of my future was my other ribbon; I won First Place in the poster contest. I suppose my destiny as an Athletic Supporter was written long, long ago.


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