Thursday, September 21, 2006

JOURNAL: September 21, 2006

Yesterday at school, we held our annual Field Day, and I loved all of it. Yes, it was tiring, and yes, there were some glitches, some unexpected problems, some uncertainty as the games proceeded along – but the big picture was one of happiness and a job-well-done. I saw little else but smiles on the faces of the children and adults. The kids raced in sacks, balanced balls on spoons, and ran around cones holding hands in lone lines, and, from where I was observing, everyone seemed glad to be participating. I heard very few complaints and a great amount of laughter. I recall a few special scenes: a 7th-grade boy patiently helping a teary six-year-old feel more at ease; a small round-faced boy, poised at the starting line with a ball balanced on a spoon, breaking into a big smile as soon as I said “Go!”; and a 9th grade girl approaching my race area while carrying a first-grader in her arms. I saw scenes like that continuously for nearly two hours. To me, it was an afternoon of remarkable camaraderie and kindness. At the end, as the crowd was dispersing, some heading home and others moving down to the area set aside for the evening picnic, I talked with some 9th graders who had earlier expressed concern about having Field Day after school on a day of heavy homework assignments. Now, though, they were smiling and relaxed as they hung around outside the library. Several of them said it was one of the best Field Days they could remember. When I asked about the concerns about homework, they smiled and looked perplexed, as if they weren’t sure what I was talking about. I, too, smiled as I watched them walk with some third-graders toward the picnic area under the spectacular late-summer sky.

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