I have to be completely honest. I started the day off as excited as I’ve felt since I scored a touchdown at Wake Forest Football’s Womens Clinic last year (Like how I casually slipped that in?) This morning I got an email letting me know that my guest blog for Triad Moms on Main was up. It might as well have been Oprah calling to tell me she wants to feature the blog. I felt completely lit up inside. This opportunity to share with an audience, no matter the size, is an outlet that I haven’t had in a long time. I felt like a million bucks. So I was ready to face the day in all its glory.
I drove the kids to school and sent my oldest daughter off to a Battle of the Books competition and my little guy and I headed out to the field for our school’s Boosterthon Fun Run. If you don’t have an elementary school aged child you might be unfamiliar with Boosterthon. This was the 6th year our school hosted a Fun Run, and I have had the distinct honor of being able to be at all 6th. And I did the math today…I will have a kid in elementary school for the next 8 years. I’m going to be there for 15 consecutive years of Fun Run. I am REAL familiar with Boosterthon.
Let me be honest about something: I am not good at fundraisers. I don’t like asking people for money. I know there is a LOT of work behind the scenes to get the Fun Run up and running (for lack of a better phrase). I’m not crazy about the cheap plastic prizes the kids “earn” by asking for money from their parents, friends, and neighbors (my kids get the one prize from having a single pledge from me most years…and let me tell you…for $1/lap times 4 kids I could have bought them something better than some plastic gears that have already fallen between the seats in the Big Van never to be seen again.) But that’s not the point. The school needs financial support, I believe in public schools, and I will do what I can to help out.
That all being said: I LOVE the Fun Run. I joked to a couple moms today that I missed my calling as a Fun Run Hype Girl. I was only partly joking. Listen, I was a cheerleader and cheer coach for years, I practically live in football stadiums now. I can dance to some Jock Jams with the best of them. I love getting excited about cheesy things. I could cheer for “Sailor Sara” and “Cowgirl Katie” and do the silly chants about holding onto your water cup for refills and checking to make sure your shoes are tied ALL DAY. I’m also uniquely qualified to run a water table. You see, one year in college my dad’s high school football team needed an equipment manager. And I needed a job. And my little brother played so I’d be going home anyway. My dad let me come back and help run the sidelines on Friday nights. I don’t know how helpful I was, but I do know that my water table looked flawless. Those Gatorade cups had never been lined up so nicely before. In my adult life I spend about 50% of each meal pouring new beverages for the kids around my table. By the time I finish filling the first round of milk cups, the first kid has finished hers and needs more. So holding, refilling, and replacing waters is my jam.
During each of the 3 races (and since I have a BUNCH of elementary aged kids I had someone running in each race) the runners had to complete 5 laps before coming to get a glass of water. As soon as they crossed the line after number 5 every single Kinder and first grader was ready for a water. And they pretty much came back for a refill after every 200 yard lap. There would be no dehydration today, my friends. There was FAR more drinking going on than running. For transparency’s sake they should probably call it the Boosterthon FunDrink…but that may cause concern for donors. But the best part was the look of sheer joy in the faces of these sweet kids when they got a water. I heard “thank you” at least 300 times this morning. When I told runners with broken cups to just drop them on the ground and get a new one, they hesitated. I assured them I would pick them up. And one after another kids would crouch down and set the broken cup gently at my feet. They were so conscientious. Little kids would ask me how many laps they had finished. My return-customers would update me on how they were doing. I complimented hairdos and got big grins with missing baby teeth. I watched sweet friends holding hands while they ran. I watched kids dance and be silly along with the Boosterthon-ers. And I got a chance to talk and laugh with the other moms and dads who were volunteering. And I was reminded why I love our elementary school so much.
This day started off on a high note and then was catapulted even higher just by watching the sweet kids and teachers and administrators at our school get excited about something. Working together to make their school a better place. Running out in the sunshine. Drinking tiny cups of water. Giving high fives and big grins and saying thank you. The beauty that I saw today on that field: kids running and moving and working together, a community supporting a school, it just doesn’t get better than that.