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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Am Wearing A Mouth Guard Just In Case

I have always been uncomfortable with competitions. Probably because I have never been good enough at anything to win.

I had one trophy I got when I was a kid for a bowling competition. But every single kid there got one just for showing up. And it was for bowling, so not like I was all that thrilled with the meaningless trophy anyway.

I remember years of Field Day at school, which I felt would be more accurately called Day of Torture and Humiliation. We were required to enter at least five events. There were some kids who would enter every single event, and win many of them.

Then there were kids like me who searched the list for the events requiring the least amount of physical exertion and only finding two or three acceptable events would grudgingly sign up for the 50 yard dash, or the wheelbarrow race, where I would have my face mashed into the grass when my arms could not keep up with partner who was running behind me and then inevitably I would not be able to hold up my partners legs with my scrawny arms. We would finish a sad and pathetic last place. Everyone else in the race would already be done, drinking their gatorade, relaxing with a good book, looking up momentarily to point and laugh at the sheer absurdity of me engaging in any sport like activity. (I may be exaggerating slightly, but this is truly the essence of how it felt.)

And then no one would want to be my partner for any other event and I would end up being partnered with Marie, a girl who would pick her nose and eat it, and smelled as though she hadn't taken a shower since kindergarten. I would end up having my leg tied to hers in the three legged race, my face in her armpit, feeling that I was forever doomed to this lot in life.

Then I would get to the events I signed up for thinking I might have a chance at doing well in, like jump rope contest where the object was to jump as many times as you could without tripping over the rope in a minute. Once you became tangled in the rope it was over. The pressure was too much, I would trip after two or three jumps and everyone would laugh.

Or the ball distance throw where you would stand on homeplate and throw the ball as far as you could into the outfield and the longest distance would win. My ball usually fell just short of the pitcher's mound.

At the end of the day there were girls, I went to an all girl prep school so there weren't any boys, who would have ribbon after ribbon hanging from their necks. I would have nothing. I would pretend that I didn't care, but secretly I wanted to have some ribbons too. I wanted to be good at something. I wanted to be like my friend Pam who had an entire wall of big ribbons she won in horseback riding competitions, instead I had the bowling trophy cavorting with the dust bunnies under my bed.

I never won any academic awards either. There was ALWAYS someone who scored higher on the test or wrote a better essay.

Anyway, this is a long winded way of saying that the BoB thing is killing me. killing me softly with his song , which if that scene from About A Boy didn't make you laugh until you cried then you have no sense of humor and we can't be friends, so go away.

If it only lasted a day or two I could deal with it and laugh and shrug it all off. But it is going on forever.* And the voting more than once? I'm not sure I quite understand it.

I love writing for my blog and I am sure all the other people who have blogs do as well, otherwise what would be the point. And I am not sure how much a subjective award really says about a blog anyway.**

And before anyone decides to say anything, this isn't a post in which I am seeking validation by pretending I feel insecure. I have felt this way from the beginning but refrained from writing about it lest my intentions be misconstrued. But everyday I have had a pit in my stomach and writer's block just thinking about it.

I can't get over the feeling that even though I am in the lead for my category that eventually my legs are going to get tangled up and I am going to end up on the ground with my face in someone's armpit and astroturf in my braces.

*or January 30, same difference

** this has absolutely nothing to do with the awards and the gracious people who put them on, and everything to do with me.


Blogger Effortlessly Average said...

This is so much like me it could have been written on my blog; but for the being nominated on BoB, which, with a readership of only 3 (wait, 4), isn't likely to happen soon.

Think of it this way: you have your revenge - even if they don't all know it - by having seven kids and still looking the way you do.

12:44 PM  
Blogger The McCords' said...


I do not know exactly what a bob is...
I just want you to know that I am a faithful follower of your blog...I have not posted (I think? maybe I have??) because you usually have ga-jillions of people posting and I cant stand getting lost in the crowd. So to see that I am poster #2 frees my posting abilities!!

Basically, enough about me...
YOU are a blogging genius.
YOU make me laugh multiple times...on every post.
YOU even make my husband laugh.
i go back and re-read your posts and get still more laughs.
i search the archives to see if I missed anything.
(btw...when you did the post recently and linked to other posts...absolutely much more bang for the buck!!)
you are my blogging mentor.
i grow in the glow shining off of your prowess.

ribbons, smibbons...
you ARE the BOB!!

12:59 PM  
Blogger MamaGeph said...

Well, even if you don't get the ribbon, at least you qualified for the race to begin with - unlike the majority of us. If you end up with the face in the pit and astroturf post-race, what does that say about us, who weren't even nominated for that much?

1:16 PM  
Blogger B.E.C.K. said...

When I was in grade school, our P.E. coach made us do timed sit-ups for a grade once. A certain number of sit-ups equaled an A, a certain number equaled a B, etc. I think I may have gotten a C...and a gut cramp. The rest of the time, we had to play sports *without ever being taught the rules*. There I was, stuck in the outfield with the glove my parents had to buy, and not knowing a single damn thing about what I was supposed to do. But I'm not bitter. ;^)

My point is that I can relate. And I personally think blog awards are a little, um, something. Not useful? Too subjective? Another chance for people to compete with highly personal writing? And to what end?

You are great just as you are, and your blog is one of my favorites. I admire you for even being able to write frequent entries, much less care for and plan projects for those wonderful kids of yours. You rock, lady. And don't you forget it. :-)

1:17 PM  
Blogger Huffs said...

I can totally empathize with the whole field day set up. You would think I could've won a ribbon after all those years in the three-legged race. Nope. Not a single one.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Dittos on the previous comments. If for some crazy reason you don't end up winning, rest assured that you've won in all of the important ways. Not that that really helps, of course! Anyway, I look forward to reading your blog as I would look forward to reading a great novel. I think you should consider submitting to a publisher, magazine, or even a newspaper. Good luck to you, and may God continue to bless you and your family.

1:54 PM  
Anonymous another field day loser said...

Oh it's almost too painful to read. Why do they make us do field day, anyway? I was always the fat kid who couldn't run fast (come to think of it, I still am--darn), and I always tried to get my mom to let me stay home on field day. Ugh. I have to stop thinking about it and maybe go and get a cookie

1:55 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Mostly I'm having so much fun meeting other bloggers because of the BoBs but I have to say, I feel like this as well.

I never have been competitive and this is weird for me.

I keep thinking they made a mistake and meant to include someone else!

Chris, you are sheer blogging genius though, whether you set out to be that way or not. You're funny immeasureably and I must read to get my giggle for the day-and to remind myself that I was smart enough to quit at 6 :oD

2:24 PM  
Blogger Gem'smom said...

Field Day- I've been informed at my sons' school that the parents are participating in Field Day. Same thing with homeschool gymnastics- they used to have an annual day where the parents take the class along with kids. Yes, that's what people need to see- my giant arse rolling around a gym floor. Good luck with the award! I can't even remember how I first came across your blog- probably homeschooling which I no longer do. Glad I found it- always funny!

2:30 PM  
Blogger JeepGirl said...

I never liked field day either. I'm a sports nut too but still didn't like it. Too many went home with a neck full.
I guess now a days the school calls it playday and there isn't any ribbons. Too many crying kids I guess.
But I do think you have an awesome blog and I try to visit it daily. And I did vote for you on the BOB's site too.
Just to be nominated is extremely a win. Chin up, great site!

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Sleeping Mommy said...

It's easier said than done, I know, but don't worry about where you end up in the long run in this whole thing. It is no reflection whether or not you or your blog are winners or not. I'd say by the numbers of votes in your favor and your loyal readership that you can be very assured of exactly what you and your blog mean to those of us out here.

Your blog is not a measure of your worth--anymore than those ribbons were a measure of your classmates worth. ;)

3:31 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Totally understand. I NEVER win anything - until today! I won a free semester of fitness classes in a drawing. I'm so unlucky usually - I'm rubbing my monitor right now in a nonsexual way in an attempt to give you some of my unexpected lucky.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Annalise said...

If I wasn't already rooting for you, knowing that you also found that scene from About a Boy painfully funny would have pushed me onto your team :-)

And, how come everyone I know as an adult hated Field Day? What's become of all the sporty kids?

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started reading your blog because of BoB. Love your writing. Keep it up!

4:17 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

If I only had a dime for everytime I heard "Second place goes to..." And here I thought you were one of the elite. You rock, as stated more eloquently by others. I did like field day though.

4:36 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Whether you end up first or last, those of us who come back for a daily "fix" of BYH think you are THE Mommy blog. Shoot, I have never even paid any attention to BoB until I heard you were nominated!

5:41 PM  
Blogger "D" said...

Hi my name is Maria... KIDDING! No but seriously, if you want to feel better, come by my blog and see how many lame posts I have and how many people DONT comment... then you'll feel like you are the Ribbon Queen and you won't be able to hear me singing in the background "killing me softly..." BoB SNOB I say... (but I hope you win anyway!)

5:59 PM  
Anonymous mummy V said...

it's a writer's nature to be insecure about their work... but won't be... woman, you're the shiznits!

love your blog and think you should consider putting it in book form - i hate that i can't reference it or enjoy it unless i'm plugged in online.

keep it up!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

You shine like no others Chris! You have definately raised the bar for other bloggers who attempt to write as well as you do. You make me laugh every day. I know you have left me with my face glued to my computer screen reading your blog and cookies in my teeth while reading! You go girl! lol

8:58 PM  
Blogger eko said...


It's been said a multitude of times - YOU ROCK! And to know of your struggles in school endear you even more - because that generates the hope for those of us who struggled too. I FLUNKED gym - m'kay...

I despised having to get naked with the other girls, and then having everyone mocking each others' prepubescent bodies. I hated my friends becoming enemies during intramural basketball. I hated tennis - where you could just TELL those who had parents that belonged to a country club and played it ALL summer. I hated the health teacher/gym teacher who mocked my CPR technique in front of the entire class (co-ed) and told me I would NEVER be able to birth a baby...

BoB or no Bob - you have our hearts ;-) (and the BOB - I am sure...but it was disconcerting to read someone say it was good to be able to call upon all the cousins to vote... WTH?)

I bawled/laughed through the "killing me softly" scene - and also because that was SO my song when I was a pre-teen, that and MArry Me Bill (which totally dates me :P)

9:12 PM  
Blogger bogus said...

Holy Crap! The voting lasts until January 30th? I hate these kinds of things...can't they just get it over with? Last I checked, however, you were putting the competition's eyes out from the gravel kicked up by your dust.

If it's killing you that much, though, I'd be happy to take the nomination off your hands. Speaking as someone who not only never won anything, but at any point when there was a gift exchange at school, would always and without fail get the grimy "present" wrapped in brown paper and masking tape, concealing a used doll with no eyes and one arm, I could sure use the boost.

9:54 PM  
Blogger TBG said...

Good luck. I only voted once! You will win!

10:28 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I must admit - I voted for someone else, but I felt intrigued to come and visit the blog who was beating that person so soundly, and I will visit again in the future!

I wish everyone all the best for actually getting noticed and nominated.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

Forget about the BoB, you've got it locked up. I hear they multiply the final result by the number of children you have.

Now about the movie, About A Boy. I could watch the a million times. It cracks me up.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

You are absolutely right. It's clear to me, anyway, that the only way you will feel better about kicking ass is to bow out of the BoBs entirely. Muah ha ha ha haaaa!

Just kidding. The voting is all in fun and I'd rather you kick my ass because I bet you'll make sure it won't hurt too much.

And I'm sorry I said you have stripper sized boobs. And I'm sorry I said you were secretly an old asthmatic guy in a torn robe pretending to be a perky mother of seven. And I'm sorry I said your big yellow house was actually in an iffy neighborhood. I really regret those things now.

Just kidding. I didn't really say those things. Well. I said the first thing, but I meant well.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I voted twice. Once for myself and once for dh who has no time for things like reading blogs but will not miss ONE SINGLE ENTRY of The Big Yellow House and who has been known to spend an hour catching up in the archives when he's been away from the computer for too long (like when we moved last fall). So, I think that's pretty fair. ;-)

T in Heidelberg

4:58 AM  
Blogger Chris said...


I took it as a compliment. It is most definitely that only time someone has said I have stripper sized boobs.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

I can totally relate to the "Field Day"!!! When I was a kid, we also had this thing called the "Turkey Trot", and it was basically a mile long run the day before Thanksgiving. Well, it's pretty darn cold then, so not only is it a mile, but a mile in the cold!! Of course, a mile isn't a big deal to me now, but when I was in grade school, a mile seemed like 100.
BTW, I voted for you!! :)

9:24 AM  
Blogger Fieldfleur said...

Loved the way you described your field day memories. Poignant, pathetic, funny.

Hopefully, the voting will be over soon and you can have something sparkly on your wall to confirm that You're The Best!

About a Boy is awesome!

10:00 AM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

I know how you feel. In 10th grade a guy in my homeroom had a crush on me and nominated me for Homecoming Princess. At first, I was flattered. Then, the reality of having my name on a ballot along with all the popular girls was simply more than I could take. I knew I wouldn't win...or even come close. So I had my name removed from the ballot. The time in between killed me, though. I knew that I would never again see my name on a ballot like that and that this was my only chance. But the humiliation that was sure to follow if I stayed on that ballot would be more than I could endure.

You...are doing well in the poll, but I understand how you feel.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Nana said...

"I can't get over the feeling that even though I am in the lead for my category that eventually my legs are going to get tangled up and I am going to end up on the ground with my face in someone's armpit and astroturf in my braces."
If that should happen (extremely unlikely), we will all be here to read your take on the experience, and loving you all the more for it.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Like others I feel grateful that I found your site through the Bob nominations. Your reading has enriched my life. Thank you!

7:05 AM  

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