While we're talking Will and sports, I thought I'd recap Will's very first elementary school Field Day.
Field Day included a variety of athletic (short runs, long runs, Frisbee games) and non-athletic (toilet paper relay races, cups of water on heads relay races) events so that every child could participate in at least one, if not two, activities. Will chose the participate in the 50-yard dash and the cross country run, and he told us ahead of time that he thought he'd win one of the races and had a 50% chance of winning the other. Confidence has never been a problem for my boy…
|Warming up with his class.|
|…lots of it.|
Will's heart broke when he didn't advance out of his 50-yard dash heat. He didn't cry or even complain, but I could see on his face the frustration and sadness he felt inside.
|At the 50-yard dash starting line.|
|And they're off!|
|Hanging in there.|
|He didn't win, but he didn't come in last either!|
He did considerably better in the cross country run, placing fourth out of close to 40 first grade boys. I was so proud, but Will felt completely defeated. When he crossed the finish line, my smiling face, Grandma's congratulations, and Lily's cheering weren't enough to keep him from tearing up.
|At the cross country race starting line.|
|Coming toward the finish line.|
Each kindergarten and first grade class had been assigned two fourth-grade helpers, the job of whom was to meet the kids from their assigned class at the finish lines of the races and escort the kids back to their class' "home base". Moments after Will finished his cross country race, one of his class' helpers walked up to him. The student noticed that Will had been crying, but he didn't acknowledge the tears lest he embarrass Will in front of his grade-mates. Instead, the student put his arm around Will's shoulder and started walking them across the field. I followed a few feet behind, listening to their conversation.
"Hey buddy, I saw your run - great job out there!"
Will must have said something about not winning the race, because then the student added, "but you had fun, right? That's what Field Day is about - trying your best and having a great time with your friends. I'm proud of you".
I walked straight to Will's teacher and asked her - with tears rolling down my cheeks - to please thank that student for his kind words and for setting such a positive example for Will to follow.
A second positive arose out of Field Day… On that hot, humid, summer-like day, Will's lungs sounded a bit wheezy when he crossed the cross country race finish line. I had his inhaler with me, but was pleasantly surprised when his lungs "righted" themselves and his breathing returned to normal within a minute of finishing the race. Shortly after Will's asthma diagnosis I read that the best sports for kids with asthma were swimming and running, both because they strengthen the lungs and because they force kids to learn how to control and regulate their own breathing. Running has worked marvelously for Will.
And lastly, a third positive… Field Day took place while Grandma Brenda and Lily were visiting, so both attended the festivities with Tom and me. When he wasn't with his class or participating in an event, he looked out for Lily and made sure she could see (he brought her to his class' spectator spot and then asked his classmates to move back so Lily could move to the front) what was going on.
|Gently ushering Lily through and to|
the front of the crowd of first graders.
|Oh, my heart is melting.|
We're all already looking forward to Field Day 2015!