Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shiny medals and participation ribbons

When I was young it was found that a 60 year old Swede was in better shape than a 30 year old Canadian and the powers that be decided to take that out on the kids. As a young, pudgy, unathletic, un-coordinated and very much uninterested girl this was a horror to me. Generally I wanted to live in the woods somewhere, adult free and subsisting on bologna sandwiches and Pop Shoppe black cherry pop when I wasn't trapping my own food and foraging for things to round out the meal. I really just wanted everyone, adults and children, to just go away so I could figure the world out on my own. But I digress...

So, standardized fitness testing came to my small town. I failed. Unless you are dead and buried you really shouldn't fail a fitness test. There is something you can do if only to wash yourself with a rag on a stick; that should rate somewhere on the scale, but, clearly they were up for higher standards. Our very sweet teacher had made ribbons for all the kids who didn't get a bronze, silver or gold level reward. I hated those ribbons. I know she was just trying to have something for us but to me, those were loser ribbons. Given the choice between being a loser with a keepsake or without a keepsake I wanted to remain ribbon free. I didn't think my mediocrity was anything to celebrate.

So, begs the question - what about all those medals now piling up in our third floor "workout room" - what do they mean to me. I had to get to the half iron level to get a triathlon medal. It was smaller than the medal I got for my first 10k. That half iron medal meant the world to me; the 10k I took to be polite.

In the end, I suppose, if civilization as we know it falls apart, Alex and I have a pretty good supply of weapons. Those Sporting Life 10k medals would really hurt.


  1. When I went off to college, we had to take a series of fitness tests that determined if we could bypass all physical education classes (best case) or be required to take up to 3 classses to graduate (worst case). All my new friends laughed and said these were very easy tests and anyone ought to be able to pass them all.

    Swim test: Fail.
    Flexibility test: Fail.
    Running laps: Mediocre.

    I had to take 2 classes before graduation and one of them had to be swimming (I took tennis as the other). I waited till my last year to take swimming, as did most of us awkward unathletic nerds, and I was just lucky to be one of the few who didn't struggle as much with putting my face in the water.

    Believe me, I'm laughing pretty hard now about being an Ironman :)

  2. Good stuff. Now, I am loving my first race medal (though I finished middle of the pack). I am guessing that future medals will have less of an effect.

    To your closing thought (if civilization is breaking down), think of how fast (and FAR) you'll be able to run!