Just in case things haven’t been busy enough at Spackle Manor, the Spawn has spent the past week trying out for Mondoville High’s Color Guard. She’s a complete neophyte at this, but decided she wanted to give it a go, and we were just happy to see that she was interested in life beyond her room and the internet, so we’ve encouraged it.
At the same time, there was a certain degree of trepidation, both on the Spawn’s part and mine. The word “tryout” implies that not everyone will pass the audition, and given the Spawn’s prior disinterest in physical activity, we wondered if she’d be able to do the various spins, twirls, and other moves that the gig entails. I, meanwhile, was haunted by flashbacks to third grade, when I was cut from a Little League team after a week. That was compounded by the fact that I didn’t know what being cut meant, much less that it could be done on a little league team, and even less that it could be done to me. I didn’t even try organized baseball again for four years, but at least I had football. My inner nerd still cringes when I’m in Nashville and drive past Rotary Park, where the Little Leaguers played, and I think still do. That place just makes me think of failure and the girls I was too dorky to impress in junior high.
Not that I’m bitter.
But I was worried, because this was the first time that the Spawn has expressed an interest in a group activity, and I’m her dad, and, well, you know. On the first day of tryouts, it was about 85 degrees, and about midway through, she called and told me she thought she was going to be ill from the heat. I told her to take some sips of water, and try to tough out the second half. She did, and told me proudly later that she had made it all the way through. Then she said, “Thanks for not offering to come get me… because I would have let you.”
“I know,” I said.
On the subsequent nights, she came home cooler, but with muscles sore from unaccustomed use. I suggested to her that she could take a Tylenol, but she said, “I kind of like it — it reminds me that I did something to get sore.” That, I think she gets from her mom. Thursday night, at the the last session of the week, she came home disheartened, having finished last when the girls ran some laps and sprints. (And that’s where the Mondo genes come in.) She was sure she’d get cut on Monday night.
As it turns out, our concerns were unfounded. I’m proud to report that the Spawn is the newest member of Mondoville’s Color Guard, which I guess means that Mrs. M and I have to learn to be whatever the flagbearers’ equivalent of a band parent is. Doubtless it’ll be a nuisance at times, but on the other hand, it’ll remind us that she’s doing something that we can be annoyed by, which is cool. And 38 years from now, she won’t have to cringe when she passes the high school.