The following tale is based on actual events which occurred a number of years ago. This is the second part of a trilogy of stories about the Teacher. You can read part one here…
I don’t just set out to find things to add to the Murtaugh List. Sometimes, these things just present themselves to me and they become unavoidable.
For the first time in about 20 years, I experienced Field Day at school. It was a day filled with moving from activity to breath-stealing activity. These fun times included relay races involving hula hoops and water balloons, kickball on the recently rained upon baseball field, hunger games, arts and crafts, and finally, the ever impressive inflatable activities.
Children asked their teachers
dozens hundreds of times throughout the day when they would finally get to visit the bouncy house. These over inflated attractions were arguably the hit of the day. And it was fairly obvious that these things got all the attention year after year.
So I thought it would be fun to embrace my inner child. I saw the size of the inflated obstacle course and was a little taken aback. The thing was enormous. I had been under the impression that things like this tended to appear smaller as I got older. But that just wasn’t the case with that year’s model. I wanted to play along, but I knew it would be a challenge.
And then the opportunity presented itself to run the obstacle course with the Teacher. I strategically placed myself at the inflatable area at the same time as the Teacher and her class. She was challenged to an obstacle course run by one of the volunteer parents at the event. I claimed that I would take on the winner.
Of course, I made that claim hoping against hope that the Teacher would emerge victorious against the slightly older volunteer parent. I played the odds and, in this case, won.
Winning would not be an option when I acted as challenger in the inflatable obstacle course. It wasn’t that I didn’t try to win. In fact, when the Teacher finally took me up on the challenge of taking on the winner, I started out doing pretty well. Then I took a tumble over the first wall. Somehow, I fell off the course and landed on the ground. I didn’t think it was possible, but I actually felt the grass beneath me.
Have you ever been cruel enough to flip a beetle over on its back? Have you laughed as its tiny insect legs flailed about as it attempted to right itself? On that Field Day, I learned how that beetle feels. Lying on my back, my legs were straight up in the air. I was disoriented. I nearly panicked when I discovered which way was up and realized that there was no easy hand hold to help me get back on course. I knew the race was already lost.
By the time I pulled myself back into my proper place, it was too late. I looked ahead and saw the Teacher was already at the top of the final wall, ready to take the final plunge down the long slide at the end. I knew I had lost. But I was okay with that. My key loss led to some well placed self-deprecating humor which led to more than a few laughs on the Teacher’s part.
I might be willing to add inflatable obstacle courses to my Murtaugh List. But I’m also willing to try anything on that list all over again. For the right reason. It was a good day.