Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Eat to play

I am not athletic. That's no shock. In high school, there were times when I wished that the hand could make the field hockey stick connect with the ball, or the foot to the soccer ball, or even the bat to the softball. It was not to be so. And eventually an eye doctor confirmed what I had known all along: I was absent in Heaven on the day that depth perception was handed out to all the babies waiting to be sent down to earth.

All these years I was led to believe that I missed out by never having a team to call my own. I was ostracized and laughed at because the only gym class I could pass was physical fitness and that was because we set our own goals. I was excellent at setting low goals and reaching them by the end of the quarter.

Until my brother came around, my poor parents were bored because they didn't have anything to do weeknights and Saturdays. After all, it's not much fun watching someone sit in her room and read a book. Not a whole lot of excitement happening there. However, I think that it really could have benefited my self-esteem if they had thanked me for my lack of sports ability because I saved them the years of having to sit through middle and high school sports banquets.

What is it about sports teams that the season always has to end with a banquet? When dance is over for the year, the dancers don't have a banquet. When the last newspaper is distributed for the year, the journalism kids don't have a one either. These are not just small affairs, either. We have to dress up for these things. They come complete with extravagent ballroom meals and boring talks. And the infamous slide show that never works. Until a steady stream of coaches, then fathers, turns the equipment on and off a few times. And then the coach, who is usually not a gifted orator (and why should he be, the only examples he ever had of speeches was at former sports banquets), stands up to make a speech. And then he reads off the names of all of the athletes and they come up front to shake his hand and get a piece of paper. For whose benefit is this list read? Do our athletes have such short attention spans that they cannot remember they just played soccer? Or been running around a track? After all, the only athletes invited to the soccer banquet are the soccer players, as is also true for the cross country banquet being exclusively attended by cross country runners. Maybe the list is for the parents? So we remember why we were driving to and from school every evening?

And just why do the parents have to attend? When I was in a school production and we had an after-show party, it was always students only. So why do the athletic kids need their parents to accompany them? It's not because they need us to cut their food; they always ditch us at the door anyway. And it's definitely not so they can thank us for all of the athletic ability we bestowed upon them. I couldn't figure this one out and the answer eluded me until this year. Now that I am an experienced sports banquet attendee, I have figured out that the only reason the parents are invited is so that we can hold and carry home the beautiful "Participation Award" certificate that is handed out to each player. And I paid money to socialize with strangers, while my son sat with his friends and made strange bodily noises, just so I could carry home a piece of paper stating that my son participated in the sport of varsity soccer?

Thankfully the middle school soccer folks got smart this year. Rather than combine with the high school and make us pay outlandish prices for a 5-course meal, they decided to have a pizza party at the middle school. I'm liking this. For just $7/person Jesse and I could get a pizza and subs meal, complete with homemade desserts and a donated cake. Not only that, but just for showing up, we were sent home with a free left-over pizza. The sports banquet that pays for itself. After all that, I carried that Participation Award certificate home with pride. That's one for the fridge. Way to participate, Jesse! And next week is the cross country banquet. They got smart, too and are having a potluck. If I plan this one right, and put our food at the end of the line, fewer people will take from it and we can bring that home, too. Maybe sports banquets aren't so bad after all. They do seem to know how to multiply the food.

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