Caitlin's school had a fundraiser today in the form of a jog-a-thon.
Whaaaat?! You say. They expect mere children to run around for hours on end to earn filthy lucre for a public school?
Indeed, they do!
The Child, as you know, has an aversion to exercise and perceived competition. This made the jog-a-thon just ripe for breaking down into a sobbing heap! But wait! Let me set the stage:
Mid-morning on a nice, warm, cloudless day. Temperatures breaking into the 80s again, after acting like Seattle for a week. It was lovely! Caitlin and her classmates are all gathered in a pile on the grass getting the low down on how jog-a-thons work. Dozens of proud parents, some dressed to jog, are lined up on the sides ready to cheer their little athletes on. The track is 220 yards in length and is an oval shape lined with half dome shaped cones. The kids are expected to run, jog or walk around the outside of the cones for 20 minutes. Friends, neighbors and family members are expected to cough up dough for the kids who run. The kids all have white index cards which will receive one hole punch for each lap they make around the track.
Eight laps equal a mile.
Never having done this before, I line up with the parents and Caitlin with the kids. They set off running! Caitlin is in the pack, running/jogging around with them. She makes it through the first lap and gets her card punched. I cheer for her like the proud suburban mom I am (Don't call me a soccer mom! Them's fightin' words!). She heads off for her second lap.
This time, it seems to take longer before I see her coming. There are a pile of kids and she's small compared to the 3rd graders out there, so it's hard to tell where she is in the pack. I look some more and find her - the one moving slowest of all on the outside looking like she's about to cry any second. Her whole body is in the dejected pose and she barely hanging on to her card. I get closer and call out to her, thinking she was just missing me cheering her on. Nope. Once she sees me she drops to the ground and starts crying.
She's hot, she's tired, she doesn't want to run anymore! I explain to her, very nicely mind you, that she's not in a race and that she doesn't have to keep up with anyone else. There's no "winning" this jog-a-thon. It's all the kids, working together, to earn money for the school and that she isn't trying to beat anyone or win anything. This helps some, but she's still distraught. I then offer (as I'd planned to originally) to run or walk with her. She immediately grabs my hand and is willing to walk on to claim her second punch. She was 40' away from it when she stopped.
After receiving the punch I asked her if she was ready for a 3rd lap. After the 3rd lap, they are allowed to drink water, so I thought that surely she could make it that far.
She made it five more times around the track. One mile.
Never once did I badger her, either. I asked her each time if she wanted to try one more or stop for water and each time, after a little water, she was ready to keep on going. She was even disappointed when they called time and we had to stop! She received a 9th punch for good sportsmanship, along with everyone else that hadn't completed the final lap when the whistle sounded.
So there you have it: Caitlin's first fundraiser ended better than it started and I was very, very proud of her for finishing so well.
Friends and family members:
Consider yourselves hit up for cash. If you're willing to give, keep in mind that it will go to Caitlin's school and you will have a direct impact on helping her get ed-u-ma-cated. Any amount you feel comfortable giving would be gratefully accepted. We have until October 13th to send in the money. Let me know if you're interested! Caitlin would be psyched and if the school makes their target, all the kids get a congratulatory root beer float.
Here are a few gratuitously cute Caitlin pics from July to encourage you.