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I moved to South Carolina seven years ago, and my parents have since moved from the house that I spent the majority of my childhood in. Doing so, they had about 15 years worth of junk to sort through and deem “trash” or “worthy of saving”. Now that I’m a mom myself I realize just how much stuff little kids accumulate, never mind teenage girls who find sentiment and therefore a reason for keeping, every shred of paper or newspaper article that has a reference to friends/crushes/inside jokes/etc. You get the idea.
This Christmas, while at mom and dad’s new house, mom broke out a small box full of photos and papers for my sisters and I to look through. It was a trip down memory lane to say the least! Among the pictures of me at my first dance recital, Varsity letters, elementary school diplomas, I found this:
I laughed out loud. Remember when your parents used to tell you “some day you will laugh about this?” Well this is the perfect example.
It was the day before Thanksgiving break, 1995, and I was a painfully shy 8th grader. Every year, the middle school put on a one mile “turkey trot” that went around the ball fields, and up and over the little cross country path/hill, then back to the start. The winner got a turkey (ready to cook, not still walking around with feathers, beak and feet …I know this is Vermont and all so I thought I should clarify) . And the ENTIRE 8th grade, and a good portion of the faculty, came out to watch on the bleachers at the football field (right at the start line).
There was a boys race, and a girls race, and it was completely voluntary. I wasn’t a runner, but I did play soccer, softball, and basketball (well, if bench warming counts in basketball). Since most all of the popular girls were some sort of super fast amazing athletes, I figured if I lined up with the likes of them at the race it might give me just give my shy, awkward self a couple of cool points by association. You know how middle school goes. These are the types of things you worried about.
I’d guess about 25-30 girls lined up at the start. On wet grass. Right in front of the cheering crowd (probably only cheering because this got them out of class). . The girl I was standing next to at the start was notorious for being a brute in sports (which I would later learn to LOVE when she was on MY team in soccer a few years later). When the gym teacher yelled “go” , this rough girl’s arms and legs started flailing and clawing forward. I don’t remember if I was pushed, or tripped, but I know it was her, and I know I hit the ground and slid.
And then in the most embarrassing moment of my middle school years (more so then when I passed out in shop class) my shorts AND underwear slid down, exposing my butt to the entire spectating 8th grade class.
So much for those cool points. I was MORTIFIED.
And I didn’t know what to do, other than stand up and run away. Thank goodness this was a race and running away was exactly what I was supposed to do. I was now, obviously, in last place. I ran about 20 yards to make a 90 degree turn at the corner of the football field, still within sight of the bleachers full of kids.
It was there, that I slipped on the wet grass, all by myself, and wiped out once again. My shorts stayed put (I think), but really, did it even matter at this time?
I don’t remember much about the rest of the race, other than being mortified and enraged. I picked off the girls one by one and ended up coming in 5th place, winning a pretty little maroon ribbon. And spent the rest of the day receiving comments in the hallway from well wishers thanking me for the show. I managed to survive 8th grade regardless, as I’m sure my little show was forgotten as soon as the next awkward pre-teen did something equally as embarrassing (pretty sure it happened on a daily basis). Middle school is rough!
So there you have it, folks, the story of my very first running award. And mom was right: NOW, I think it’s hysterical!