I feel the need to offer this public service announcement to the children of today, well and their parents too, listen closely:
NOT EVERYONE IS A WINNER!
Somewhere over the past two decades we changed from a society of winners and losers to a society where everyone is a winner which ultimately leaves us all losers. Not everyone can win. It doesn't work that way and it shouldn't. There is a hierarchy to life and if you work really hard for something you should get something different than the moron next to you who just cruised by.
Today I was fortunate to experience two shining examples of the insanity of our times. The first was when I had the stupid idea to check my work e-mail. It's Saturday, I was certainly asking for it by looking. What did I find? A scathing e-mail about an upset child because he did not receive a lollipop yesterday in Reading group. The letter demanded to know the details of said lollipop and a plan for how I was going to make up for the damage done to this poor child. I composed a lovely letter stating that the lollipop was a reward for 100% on the spelling test. All the children who scored a 100% received one. Since said child missed 6 out of 10 spelling words, he did not fall into the 100% category. I reminded the reader that the list goes home on Monday and we practice in class EVERY day. The children who scored practiced until they knew their words 100% and had earned their reward. I reminded said reader that the child would have another opportunity to study his words next week and try again. I would not be providing a reward for 4 correct words.
Seriously, I should give your child a reward for 40%? Everyone is not a winner, best learn it now.
The second shining example of what society has come to was witnessed tonight when I went and saw the local production of "The Nutcracker". I am a HUGE ballet fan. I was in ballet for 8 years with the local school who put on the production. I loved it, and worked really hard. I was not gifted at it and was never an exceptional ballerina. I did not work hard enough to be one. When I took ballet the original owner was an old man who had been in a professional touring company in Europe. He was the real deal. We had to extend our arms all the way to the tips of our fingers. Bent wrists meant a slap on the hand. His cane he taped to the beat of the piano music would leave a sting on any leg not extended and toe not pointed. Our lines were to extend past the end of our appendages. We knew it, we learned it and we practiced.
I was put into toe shoes at the age of 12 and still have the crooked, mangled toes to show for it. I will never get these wretched toes on my feet into peep toe Mary Janes or vibram 5 fingers. 3 years of toe shoes have taken care of that. Try as I might, dream as I did, I was never selected to TRY OUT for the Nutcracker when the Eugene Ballet came to town doing casting calls for the local show. The Nutcracker was something special.
Now it is 25 years letter. Apparently the Ballet school now subscribes to the "everyone is a winner" theory of ballet. Clearly everyone was in the Nutcracker. What I saw tonight was poor technique on over weight ballerinas. There was no extension and half the girls couldn't maintain their balance in an arabesque. There were only 3 dancers on toe in the whole performance. After a dance across the stage their chests were visibly heaving from exhaustion. It took all my restraint not to stand up and scream "For God's sake girls, point your toes, extend your arms, your shoulder's are not an accessory for your ears, drop them down!"
Apparently I am a ballet snob. I'll admit it and I think it is ok. I came home and danced for Sean. I said to him, this is the ballet school of the 70s and 80s. His comment to me was "you are really good at that." This is 25 years or more after the fact. I then demonstrated what I saw tonight. His response "wow."
I'm not sure when the images of the evening will actually fade of my retina's. Hopefully soon because I want to remember the Nutcracker as beautiful, graceful, and something to be earned, not given.
Maybe next year I'll have to sign up for a ballet class around the time the performance practice starts. It appears they let everyone in and maybe I can get my chance on stage. Clearly I don't have to worry about embarrassing myself.
Am I a harsh bitch? Maybe, but I prefer to see myself as a realist. I don't go crying and throwing a fit every times someone beats me in a 5k or 10k.I don't demand a ribbon when I don't get one. I know that there are others out there better than me. It's life, it's real. We are all unique special snowflakes, but we are not all winners. Deal with it folks and move on!