Thursday, June 7, 2007

Field Day

I had learned to dread this time of year, the last few weeks of school. There is an event almost every day for 2 weeks, field trips, parties, 1/2 days, and field day. The last couple of years I attempted to "get through" the summer without full time child-care by alternating between camps, relatives and friends, and as many vacation days as possible. But then I wouldn't want to use any up on all this end-of-the year not learning revelry. So this time I'm doing it all.

Today was field day at the upper elementary school. A blistering 89 degrees, no clouds, and winds gusting up to 35 mph. I had signed up to help, and reported to the young new gym teacher to receive my assignment. He put me on "Frisbee toss" and showed me where he had painted the ground with a starting line, and measured out and painted lines at 25, 30 and 35 feet. And he had dragged out 2 gym mats, and told me to stand them up for the frisbees to go over, and explained how the 3rd graders would have to get to the 25 line, 4th graders 30 and 5th graders 35 in order to "master" the challenge and get a mark on the cards they carried around. Then he went away.

Well I tried to get those mats to stand up, but they kept blowing over. And let me tell you all the fresh air in Michigan is not enough to get the stink of decades of sweaty kid feet off of those things. P.U! Suddenly, a woman came bustling up and introduced herself as Judy. She announced that she has run the frisbee toss for the past two years. And then she informed me how it was to be done. Except that her way was in direct conflict with the lines that had been painted on the grass, and then there were those blasted mats. Much discussion, especially considering that I didn't really care all that much how it was done, and I was already starting to sunburn and there were 2 1/2 hours to go. We finally settled on a system of laying the mats down on the grass and if a frisbee landed on the correct one, then it was "mastered" at each grade level. Judy went on the establish rules for if the frisbee bounced or touched the sides of those stinky mats. I picked up the clipboard and took the job of recording the results on the kid's cards, and Judy could deal with explaining her complex system of rules to 300 spastic overheated children as they darted up to our station.

So the first kids arrived just as the principal of the school settled down on a bench to watch the action. A frisbee went flying high into the air, caught a blast of air, and flew directly into the principal's head. (I swear I am not making this up!) The frisbees were zooming willy-nilly all over the place, none coming anywhere near the measured lines or the putrid mats. Judy was getting hoarse from shouting her directions out into the blowing air. I developed a system of making the kids scramble around fetching their wayward frisbees before I would mark their cards. (I certainly wasn't going to get them) Judy got all excited when some kid finally rolled a frisbee that smacked into the side of a mat. I made a big deal of congratulating that one, although I had been marking almost every card with "skill mastered" all along anyways. Judy will never know.


Mom Tu-Tu said...

Sounds like quite a day!

Aunt Kathy said...

This story made me laugh out loud! Have you considered a career as a comedy writer?

Mindy said...

I consider everything. But there's a difference between writing the actual things that happen to me that come out funny, and fiction that I get to make up myself. If I had to come up with a fantasy field day story it would go like this:
Once upon a time the lovely Melinda went to the school to help with Field Day. She sat under a shady tree with the buff young gym teacher handing out tofu ice cream to grateful children whenever they took a break from their orderly self-directed activities such as tossing frisbees back and forth to each other happily ever after the end.

See not funny at all.

Anonymous said...

Good one! Who won the bread?
Mary Beth