I woke up at 8:40 this morning: unbelievable! I almost feel like a slacker…but it’s the first day of my summer and I am giving myself a little by before I gear up and tackle my summer to-do list.
It’s a gorgeous 70 degrees and sunny, and I’m thinking of going for a run. I’ll let you know how that goes; it’s been a few weeks since I have gone for a run. Okay, a couple of months. Okay, it was last Autumn. But kindergarteners and the stairs of a five-story school building keep me in pretty good shape, so I should be okay.
This afternoon is the Grand Finale competition for our fifth grade ballroom dance team in New York City. These kids have poured themselves into this effort with warrior-like dedication unheard of in 10 year olds. They want the trophy bad. It is the first time any of them has ever been chosen, judged, criticized; and it has been HARD for them. They are from the generation of certificates and ribbons for everyone no matter how they perform; self-esteem is doled out by the adults around them in the name of loving and caring and supporting them as individuals. In order to even make the team, they had to compete back in March against 50 other kids for a spot. We had to choose 7 boys and 7 girls who demonstrated potential, and who were basically willing to give up all other commitments (and whose parents would support this). We put the original group through try-out after try-out, trying to exhaust them and scare off the ones who couldn’t handle the pressure. When it was time to announce the team, there were tears of rejection from boys and girls who could not believe that they had not been chosen.
The 14 kids who made the team (actually 12 with one extra boy and girl in case something happened) were not allowed to gloat or brag. We expected them immediately to begin to embrace a level of maturity above their earthly years. We went through the competitions…Quarter finals: gold! Semi finals: gold! Finals: GOLD! But no time to celebrate because now we had our sights on the trophy. We practiced after school almost every day; we met on weekends with a professional dancer to give us tips; we performed at senior centers to get used to audiences. And now the day has finally come. It’s up to the kids, and all of the other factors that go into winning the trophy: the judges, the other teams, even the temperature inside the venue. As our team mounts the stairs in escort position, we coaches and parents now watch as the kids leave it all on the stage. I will keep you posted.