Track and Field Day

Warning: This post doesn’t have anything at all to do with writing. I have Danica’s permission to share this story about her.

This is Danica. This isn’t the most flattering photograph I have of her, but she looks angry in it, and that makes it the most appropriate photograph for this post.

Thursday was Dani’s track and field day. This is ungood for a few reasons

– Like her mother, Danica isn’t much into sports. That includes track and field.
– Dani’s birthday is in October, which means she has to compete against kids a grade higher than her
– We, as a family, haven’t really had a very active lifestyle until recently which means we’re all somewhat out of shape.

So, Dani was not looking forward to track and field day, but, like a champ, she sucked it up and was going to make the best of it. Still, she did call me from the track and field day to complain about the weather, and then again in the afternoon to tell me that the event had been canceled on account of snow (gotta love springtime in Edmonton, right?) and would be continued on Friday.

Then she came home and wanted to talk to me. There were tears in her eyes.

She cried as she told me about how the people who were measuring and raking for the triple jump event had made fun of her performance.


I was furious. Mean people suck. And people being mean to my kid, well, they suck even more than most.***

One of the worst parts of the whole situation was that she would have to go back to school the next day (Friday) and compete in two more events.

Could I force her to do that? Turns out the answer is no.

I know we can’t shelter her from everything, but I asked myself, what would she learn from going to the track meet that would make it worth the anxiety she’d feel and the potential for having to deal with insensitive people. In the end I couldn’t see any valuable lesson to be learned other than ‘sometimes you have to do stuff that sucks’. I decided she’d done that when she’d participated in the track meet on Thursday, I couldn’t force her to go back on Friday.

Jo and I discussed it and we agreed. We decided that if Danica asked to stay home on Friday we’d let her. She did, and we did.

My point?

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

It’s something I sometimes struggle with** and maybe this was life’s way of reminding me, so I thought I might help spread the word, in case I’m not the only one who could use it.


On a sideways-related note*, Danica has decided to get into better shape and so she and I have commited to doing the Couch to 5k program starting today. Monday, Wednesday and Friday will be our running days. We know it’s really going to suck at the start, but we’re determined to stick to it.

That’s one reason why I’m making this blog post, actually. This is going to be hard. Super hard. I would have a difficult enough time keeping myself motivated to do this. Now, not only am I going to have to push myself to do this, I’m also going to have to push Danica.

Did I mention that it’s going to be tough?

Yeah. So I’m hoping by sharing this it will not only provide a little accountability, it will also give me a whole bunch of people who will be able to remind me that I’m doing the right thing. The right thing for myself and for my daughter.

Yeah. I’m definitely going to need that.

*The kids at the track meet were just the proverbial final straw, not the sole motivation for this. It had been a long time in the making.

**As evidenced, I suppose, by the fact that when I originally wrote this post I referred to the children who mocked Danica as jerks. Not very kind there, Rhonda, not very kind at all.

***It could be that those kids are actually good people who are usually very nice. It could be that they didn’t know she could hear them. But what they said was mean, and she could hear them so whether they know it or not, they really hurt her feelings. I grant you that there is a huge difference between intentional and unintentional meanness, but when I’m in ‘protective mother’ mode I don’t clearly see subtleties like that.

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6 thoughts on “Track and Field Day”

  1. Kids can be so cruel. I work at a middle school and am constantly surprised by their cruelty. Good luck with the couch to 5K challenge.

    1. I think junior high is the hardest too, because no one really knows who they are or want to be yet. It’s all about trying on identities, making mistakes and learning.

  2. It makes my blood boil when schools force kids into doing something like this and activities like art fairs, reading challenges, or performing arts take a back seat to sports. In my community there seems to be an unhealthy preoccupation with kids and sports achievement. There should be opportunities for ALL kids to shine at school and they should have the power of choice to pick their forum.

    1. Danica’s school is actually really awesome that way. She goes to an art school ( and the school seems to have far fewer problems with bullying and the like than I remember from my own school days (*touch wood* I don’t want to jinx them).

      I agree that it would be nice to have the track meet be optional, but, alas…

      I felt bad for her going on the first day, but I would have made her go even if she’d asked to stay home. When it stretched over to a second day, and with the extenuating circumstances being what they were, I couldn’t do it.

  3. Today in my class, a 15-years-old boy made a girl cry because he made fun of the girl’s father’s name. Worse, he didn’t see what was wrong with it and he continued laughing. When I asked him to apologize, he refused to. I was so disappointed with him. I sent him to the school counselor.

    Kids can be so cruel and they are not aware that they are hurting people’s feeling. Maybe it’s the upbringing. How they are raised and treated at home influence how they behave at school. This thought saves me from being depressed all day long when the kids at school do not behave well 🙂

    Good luck with the C25 challenge!

    1. Thank you for the well wishes. Dani and I did day one of the C25k challenge yesterday and it wasn’t easy, but I’m confident we can do it.

      I feel bad for the girl in your class, that’s sad 🙁

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