Friday, October 3, 2014

Here's a Weird Thing That Almost Always Happens to Me (& that I wish I Would Remember)

So Jack's on the debate team again this year, which requires him to spend his Saturdays going to tournaments around the state. These tournaments are in some ways homegrown affairs, in that all events are judged by parents.

There is an online sign-up sheet on Our Fine School's Debate Team website, and all the good and righteous parents promptly sign up at the beginning of the year for the pleasure of leaving home at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning and listening to teenagers discuss the pros and cons of euthanasia, deliver speeches on the importance of protecting the environment, and give dramatic performances of Kiplings' "If--."

I have never signed up. Not once. Not even.

The Man did, once, thus fulfilling our family's burden for the Debate Year 2013-14. He came home from his one tournament drained and pale, having spent the day locked up in a classroom, the flourescent lights flickering, his stomach grumbling, his whole body transported back to 1983, when the hellish road of high school was still his to traverse.

I swore again then I would never, ever sign up to judge.

First of all, there are all sorts of helicopter parents at Our Fine School who eat this stuff up. There is no place they'd rather be than back in high school, reliving past glories and judging other people's children. Why deprive them of their fun?

Secondly, I can't go back to high school. Cannot. Can't face the flickering lights, the stupor that comes over me the second I enter a classroom. And I'm not that good of a listener. I tune out after five minutes. I'd be a horrible judge!

But duty calls. It knocks on the door. In my case, it knocked three times. First, it knocked on Tuesday when the debate coach sent out an email that he needed two more judges for this week's tournament. Then on Wednesday, when he emailed to say he needed one more judge. Please, oh please, I thought, let somebody else sign up!

But nobody did, and this morning, the coach emailed again. His subject line read "A Plea."

Well, I can't stand to see a grown man plead, but it took me two hours to talk myself into emailing him to say, Okay, maybe. I'm not committing just yet, but I might. Will there be pizza?

The coach emailed back within minutes to say thanks for considering it, but someone else had already signed up.

And that's what always happens. Always. I resist when someone asks me to do something I really don't want to do. I say (to myself) No! I will not do it! You can't make me do it! And then, when I finally talk myself into doing it and say, Yes, okay, if you really need me to do this ... Well, I'm almost always let off the hook.

Now why do you think that is? And why do I keep forgetting?

I just don't know. But I do think my Saturday will seem all the sweeter because I said yes and the universe said, You know what? Why don't you sleep in instead? Thanks, universe. I will!


Pom Pom said...

Wow! I feel so guilt ridden saying no sometimes and it's so much harder when the askers KEEP asking! I'm glad it worked out so well! Yay! Debate. Hmmmm. I wish I knew more about how it works.

Tracy said...

My solution to this particular dilemma is to get comfortable with saying "no". I've had four years of experience now, and while it doesn't necessarily get easier people seem to respect that I know where my boundaries are.

Work within your gifts, dear one. You are a magnificent author. Other people are great listeners and love classrooms. Be content to let others love that stuff. Unless Jack *really* wants you there and then that's a whole other ballgame.

Gumbo Lily said...

I'm so glad someone came to your rescue and the Universe let you sleep in. Funny.

Nancy McCarroll said...

You are one lucky dog. Or maybe you just got credit anyway. Whatever, enjoy your even sweeter Saturday with that obligation checked off.

Jo said...

Oh, I just love it that the world is full of people who WANT to chair meetings and judge things.
I am not one of those people, and very grateful to the universe that I get to mostly avoid those scenarios now that I am old and selfish, as opposed to when I was young and earnest, and felt I owed the universe some angst or something. Probably my Protestant-work-ethic upbringing that I am trying to slough off.

Leslie said...

My two did speech and debate the first semester last year and we got a small taste. One thing we discovered is that my husband LOVED judging. Oh, he has missed his calling in so many ways. I married an introvert, or at least I thought I did, and then over time I woke up to an extrovert. How does that even happen?

GretchenJoanna said...

What an inspiring story!! It's good to know this kind of thing happens, if you just d-r-a-g y-o-u-r f-e-e-t slow enough. You arrive just a tad late. As they say, the early worm gets eaten by the bird.

As a former leader of homeschoolers, I used to get called all the time to judge the homeschool debate team, and I always had to say no no no. The last two years, I got my husband to do it! yay!

This was such a happy post for me.

CJ said...

That would be my idea of hell too. Bless you for cracking in the end. Enjoy the lie-in!