Having a Field Day

Where winners abound

Where winners abound !

I walked by a huge university athletic complex today where hundreds of school kids were , literally, having a field day. It must have been thrilling for them. They were standing on a professional track..perfectly maintained, meticulously marked..listening to the public address announcer call out the names of the participating schools while their classmates cheered them on from the stands. Who wouldn’t feel great in such an environment? Who wouldn’t feel like a champion?

Contrast this to the ‘field day’ for those of us who grew up in the 1960’s. It wasn’t bad enough that you were just trying to grind out the school year to get to summer vacation…but, at the 11th hour, you were now subjected to humiliation on the unforgiving field of athletic competition. Understand, folks…there were no ribbons for just showing up in those days. These were dark and primitive times when the world…even for children…was actually full of winners and losers. Losers!!! Those lousy Field Days can stick with you for life.

I hated Field Day..or Athletic Day…or Let’s Humiliate the Awkward Kids Day…whatever you wanted to call it. We never competed in some fancy schmancy arena. You walked out to a scrubby piece of the playground where you were always being picked last for a team and , just 24 hours earlier , some bigger kid had given you an atomic wedgie.

I was not an athletic child. Thus, I never collected one ribbon on Field Day. Some of my classmates were festooned like George S. Patton by the time the bell finally rang in the afternoon. I couldn’t even get the Hop, Skip and Jump right. Nobody gives you a thumb’s up for a Hop, Jump and a Skip. You can hurt yourself that way!

No, I kept in shape by being sarcastic with bullies..and then trying to outrun them. There’s an event. I called it the Survival Dash.

Field Day victors often go on to live celebrated high school lives. They excel in sports which places them in a much higher social circle than , say , kids who are in the tropical fish club. But here’s a warning to Field Day aficionados. Mind that you don’t peak too early in life. By the time I had worked in television a couple of decades,  I was contacted by a former Field Day victor..one of those kids who snubbed me as he rose through the ranks…collecting laurel wreaths and dating all the best girls.

He called me up to ask if I remembered him (I did) and I discovered that his post-highschool existence had been beyond banal. Gone were the adoring crowds. His ribbons had faded with time. I think he was selling cemetery plots.

If you give life enough time, it’ll level that damn playing field.


8 Responses to “Having a Field Day”

  1. athlete of the mind though and you have been having a field day on that almost always

  2. Did we lead the same life? I agree with George. Athlete of the mind you are Dave Gerry!

  3. G’Morning Dave – great article, makes me laugh! – I was the chubby girl, no ribbons for me – so last weekend, I volunteered for “Tough Mudder” – I didn’t train to be a volunteer, but I should have – I thought I would hop out of my car from the parking lot, saunter over to some area and hand out water bottles or something similar – when I arrived at Mount St Louis Moonstone, the volunteer parking was about 1 or 2 km’s away from the main event – I was then going to be late, so I had to jog to get there – the trail was at the base of a small Ontario mountain, nothing like what is out where you are, however, to a middle aged out of shape person, well you can guess I was not getting any ribbons this day either – my shift was from 6 to 1 p.m. – I jumped up & down the whole time, ran around, doing my part for this awe inspiring day – the t-shirt that I was given stated: Probably the Toughest Volunteer on the Planet – so, this event will be also happening in Whistler at the end of June – the real participants deserve all the accolades, for sure – they don’t get a ribbon, but they do get a free beer – as for me, I got to nurse my sore muscles for a couple of days – next year, I will be there and hopefully in better condition – next weekend I’ll be learning how to crack an egg, courtesy of the Eat Vancouver festival – they don’t teach you these things in Ontario, I’m not sure how I have managed to get this done up to now! – I’ll be looking out for you Dave, that would be awesome! Part 2 of this course is to boil an egg – sound interesting? You betcha!

  4. Oh yes… I remember “Field Day”, or in our school “Play” Day… I dreaded that day…. just reading that brought that pit back in my tummy…. kind of fitting… as I heard today that it is your last day @ Global and that you are leaving Toronto… same pit….

    Thank you for the time you spent here, I was blessed to have the chance to meet you in person albeit brief….I am sure you don’t remember, but I do… a kiss on the cheek to remember you by.

    Take Care Dave, I hope you will keep blogging… I will miss your video stories… now so few and far between, but so anticipated and appreciated… love your take on things. I am sure you will be glad to get home to your family, just know you are now part of a bigger family and while we may not see or talk to each other I will think about you and remember you fondly.

    take care

    PPinkFFlamingo ❤

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