Because really, there’s just no place for her at a 5 year old’s track meet. And let’s face it, by competitors I’m not talking like the kind of fierce competitors at the front of the pack of the marathon at the Olympics or anything.
No, my inner competitor’s more of the average do better than I did the last time and for the love of all that’s holy do NOT let that 80 year old shuffle-run-walking woman wearing nothing but an American flag sports bra & short shorts finish ahead of you no matter how many times she’s run all 50 states. Or the inner competitor that once drove me to chase down and fly by this other mother who on more than one occasion seemed entirely uninterested in correcting her daughter’s exceptionally rude behavior to mine. I caught her in the last 1/2 mile of her race. A 5K. I was running the 10K that started at the same time. I PR’d that day. (Sorry lady, looks like your kid’s gonna be too slow to keep up with mine on the playground anyway. So there.)
That’s the kind of inner competitor we’re talking about here.
But you see, my daughter is just 5 years old. And while she likes to win a ribbon as much as the next kid, she is also just as interested in running through the sprinklers, pulling up a handful of grass and tossing it just to see it fly, and bouncing around on the high jump mats at her track meets. So every week when I go to these meets, I am forced to bite my tongue some. Because that inner competitor in me wants to yell things like this:
“Look straight ahead!”
“Push it all the way to the finish line!”
“Go get that girl in front of you!”
“Do NOT wait for your friends!”
“I know you’re faster than that!”
“Run as hard as you can!”
But I don’t. Instead I just yell, “Good job!” and “Go Little Miss Go!!” And when she finishes, I give her a drink and tell her she did great and that I’m so very proud of her.
Because she is after all, just 5. They’ll be plenty of time to fuel that inner competitor in the future. But for right now, I just want her to have fun, enjoy running, and do her very best. And I believe that IS exactly what she’s doing out there when she stands at the starting line in her new “running ready position” that makes her look like she’s some sort of tiny ninja in pink poised for karate chopping someone’s head off (got to get a picture of this for you all too btw). That’s also what she’s doing when mid-way through the 100 meter dash she spots a white fuzzy floating above her lane so she leaps like a gazelle to catch it before continuing on her way.
It’s what she’s doing when she takes a little rest on the high jump mats she supposed to be crawling over during the obstacle course and what she’s doing when she gets all the other kids to chant the name of the smallest little boy in her age group who nearly always comes in dead last as he gets ready at the starting line. And the same goes for when she slows down to cross the finish at the same time as her newly acquired friends.
So even though, it’s driving me NUTS that this one little girl is winning EVERY race by just a few steps and I can hear her parents a few feet away as I watch gloating (albeit quietly, under their breaths, I’m sure they don’t even know I hear them) when I’m fully aware that if my kid ever actually turned it on their little darling wouldn’t have a prayer (at least, that’s what I like to tell myself), I’m going to continue to bite my tongue with the hopes that this little crush she’s developing on running will turn into some kind of long term relationship.
Now as for me on the other hand, I may actually end up with a hole in my tongue by the end of the season, having bit clear through it. Maybe I can find a stud for it or something. Tongue rings? Those are still cool and all right?
P.S. There’s also big news on Tiger’s running front!!! She ran in her very first race this weekend. I even have it on film. Well, sort of. RunDad had a difficult time separating his jobs of videographer and adoring fan. So needless to say perhaps, but there’s a few confusing moments. It’s only about a minute long though and kind of cute (IMO). As soon as I get around to bringing the video camera all the way upstairs and uploading the exclusive footage, I’ll post it.
P.P.S. Giveaway tomorrow!