Did you ever have a Field Day, Mom? In Mexico? Did you love it? – the kids asked me this week in anticipation of our Fourth Annual Porter County Homeschool Field Day. They were so excited. The girls had their outfits chosen a week in advance, the boys frantically looked for underwear the morning of.
To answer their questions, no I never had a Field Day in Mexico. But I did have a Field Day the year I was in fifth grade and we lived in Wheaton. And no, I did not love it. I hated it. I hated Field Day. There, I said it. I think traditional Field Days are meant to prove once and for all and without a doubt that only 1% of the population is athletic. The rest of us? Participation ribbons all around! In fifth grade I was chubby, awkward, had no athletic ability, and really didn’t fit in at all. Not too dissimilar from now…. Contrary to popular opinion, Field Day did nothing to fix any of that. In fact, it only made me more sure of my outsider status. My only friends that year were the two most rotund girls in the class, one of whom might have lived with her grandma in a studio apartment, or maybe her car, the other with some serious hygiene issues, and the only black girl in the entire school. A band of misfits we were, and we were lumped together in Field Day as just another group of not blond, not skinny, not athletic, not Wheaton little girls. We did not fit and this event did nothing to make us feel part of the group, in fact it did the exact opposite. It showed us that we couldn’t jump, couldn’t run, couldn’t lift, couldn’t do relays. At the end of the day, I was pretty sure I couldn’t do anything.
So no, kids. I did not love Field Day.
Fast forward a few years to the Best Field Day Evah!!
My kids love Field Day with a passion. They look forward to it every single year. As the husband so helpfully pointed out, “It’s because our Field Day requires absolutely no athletic ability whatsoever.”
Maybe. Ok, yes.
But! And it’s a big but! Our Field Day is chock full of games, fun, running, jumping, happy competition, kicking of balls, relays, chicken chucks, and clown outfits. Everyone comes home with at least six ribbons. There are the participation ribbons, of course, but there are 1st, 2nd, 3rd place ribbons and the very coveted Special Award Ribbon. Last year Elia got “Best Form in the Chicken Chuck” Special Award, and this year Josie finally, finally got her first ever Special Award for “Best Pitching in Kickball”.
You may think we are those “everybody wins all the time” kind of people, the kind where nobody ever loses because somebody might cry, but I would beg to differ. I think competition is good. I think in games and in sports and in life in general there are winners and losers. There is most definitely a first, second, and third place in so many things. I think learning to lose, and to lose gracefully is an important skill to have. I think winning gracefully is an important skill to have. But I think you lose way more often than you win. And I think our kids know that. I think kids learn really early on that the world is big, and hard, and that they are not going to be the best at everything all of the time.
And I say, why rub their noses in it? Why not make Field Day the kind of fun that Every Single Kid can enjoy, no matter what their athletic ability? Why not make it fun and friendly rather than ostracizing to the different and awkward kids? There will be plenty of hard things in life, why make this hard too? In conclusion (finally, right!?) I think our Porter County Field Day is the best Field Day ever. A great time was had by all involved. I wish everybody’s Field Day could be as fun as ours.
If you want to see more pictures and hear another homeschooler’s take on it, head on over and see Neville Girl’s pictures.
(some of which I stole, mwa ha ha! Thank you Neville Girl’s Mom for letting me use your pictures without asking!) Neville Girl is the one levitating during kickball (I knew all that Harry Potter reading was good for something…)
Now on to other less preachy things! Like our first all watermelon dinner of the season! I anticipate many more of these as the weather warms and cooking becomes more sticky.
You can’t see them, but in front of the little girl laying in the grass are the chickies. Until we have a coop, we take them out to the garden every time we go out back, which is a lot. There is something so incredibly soothing and peaceful watching chicks peck about in the dirt and listening to them cheep to each other.
This video is a couple days old, they’ve visibly grown since then (man! They grow fast!), but look at their cuteness. It will be a shame to kill the rooster, if we get one.
And today, I had two hunky plumbers show up to fix a problem under the kitchen sink. Don’t tell the husband, but they are some good looking handymen, and can fix things around my house any time.
Happy Weekend to all of you!