Field Day is the new Hunger Games

As an elementary kid, I was never too excited about field day.  According to my dad, I was a bit of a girly girl (still am!).

I’d rather be hanging with the daisies.

If there was an event in daisy chain necklace making, I would have won the gold.  If there was an event in skipping while singing, I would have been given a trophy.  If there was an event in twirling in circles until falling down dizzy, I would have received a first place ribbon.  Sadly, none of these options were available when I was in school.

We did have sack potato races, balloon tosses, one-legged races and egg/spoon races.  Those were fun.

At Squishy and String Bean’s school, their field day was much different.  Gone were the sack potatoes.  Vanished were the balloon tosses.  Abandoned were the eggs and spoons.  All were replaced by Olympic style battles fit for Odysseus and a slew of Titans. Or Katniss, her faithful Peeta and all of the psycho warriors from District 1.

Kid’s organized sports have nothing on Field Day.

As for preparing for the exclusive Field Day, there has been extensive training in gym class.  For the last month (I am not kidding) there have been time trials, practice races, and even qualifying heats.  With all of the suspense surrounding the day, both dudes were anxious and a little concerned about their events.  Who can blame them?  Training for the summer Olympics sounds vaguely similar to the festivities known as Field Day.

“Mom, you have to pack us water bottles for field day tomorrow.  It is going to be hot and we may get dehydrated,” he stated as if he was a pediatrician.

“OK.  Gotcha.  Anything else you need to get through these mighty games?” I asked, without a hint of sarcasm.

“We need to bring our best to the field,” he said.  I wondered if I let him watch Percy Jackson too often.

Field Day is serious business.

Next year’s Field Day dress code.

Prior to the start of the extreme games fun, as all of the students are gathered outside gripping their water bottles, an announcement came on the PA informing the students of the intricate procedures.  Maybe all of the important items were scattered around the cornucopia or something.

The static voice resembled something like, “Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.” Oops – not really.  More like, “Off to the races we go!”

And, with that, String Bean and Squishy were both sacrificed for the games.

The lone ribbon.

After school, there were long faces.  There was only one ribbon given to my dudes.  It was the magical Participation ribbon that only first and second graders receive.  Wise fourth grade String Bean, tired from the exhausting day and discouraged from being ribbonless, dismissed himself to the basement to play on the iPad.  His parting words as he melted down the steps were of the final PA announcement that said, “Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next year to everyone else.”

Squishy lagged behind and, in his first grade humor, regaled tales of his success in the tug-of-war.

“Did you get a ribbon for tug-of-war?” I asked him.

“Nope.  But we were the champs!” he exclaimed, “And I was the reason we won because I was in the back of the line and used my massive muscles to pull the other side down.”


“Why didn’t you get a ribbon?” I inquired.

“Hmmm,” he pondered, “We really didn’t need a ribbon.  Our teacher told us we were awesome and gave us a hug.  That was better than a stupid ribbon,” he said with a big smile on his face.

“I agree, Squishy, I agree.”

Until next year when the games resume again.

True triumph.  Almost better than a daisy chain necklace.  May the odds ever be in your favor.

17 thoughts on “Field Day is the new Hunger Games

  1. As I read your post, I tried to remember my kids’ field days and couldn’t. But I sure remembered the ones I had to monitor/supervise/participate in, etc. when I taught.. out in the sun, watching that kids didn’t run off the school grounds, trying to remember how many had left for the bathrooms, etc. Not fun!!

  2. I still remember field days (that were a long, long time ago). We had the Olympic-style stuff like your kids–running, long jump, etc. The only contest I really liked was the running, and I LOVED it. I could run the sprints like nobody’s business. Now that I have kids I tell them that the only thing that matters is that they have fun. If no ribbons come home, so be it. It’s only grade school and even their teachers just want them to have fun and run off some energy. They seem to be good with that.

  3. Our school has gotten so crazy, the elementary kids were walked over to the high school football field, where they sang a few songs for the parents in their field day T’shirts, and then there was an announcement that the campus would be closed to all visitors the rest of the day. So who knows if they had tug-o-war or a flower picking (aka weed pulling) marathon!

  4. I hear ya! I HATED field day as a kid. Mine love them now. However I was infomed a few days ago it has been changed to UNITY DAY… ??! What? That sounds like some holiday they invent in the future. Today is supposed to be unity day, but because of the thunderclouds it will probably fall apart. From my own experience it was definitley only sligtly less harrowing than The Hunger Games. except for the ‘to the death’ part…..

  5. Seems to me there should still be a spinning until dizzy competition. Our middle schoolers still do an egg/salmonella toss… they love it! I think it’s good that they’re out there and doing something, and while I think “politically correct” has gone too far sometimes, it would be nice if all the focus wasn’t on physical prowess… for those daisy chain folk! 😉

  6. We just had our Field Day for the elementary school last week — no ribbons because there are no rankings. It’s more like a giant party — kids throwing yarn balls into buckets, a “put water in the bucket with spoons” relay race, bowling… that sort of thing. There’s one big moon jump that they rent and the kids love it. They all eat popsicles afterward as a school-wide treat.

    That said, we have that very same shield as your son, too. Comes in handy for the Hunger Games-like Nerf-wars in our family room.

  7. My son always enjoys his field day. Except for last year. When he landed in the pink shirt team. It was as if just because he had to wear a pink shirt, he was destined for defeat. I explained this was sexist. I explained it was just a color. Do you think that mattered? No. I’d like to say his team kicked butt. Unfortunately, they took second-to-last place. No ribbons. No hugs. I’m praying for team red shirt or blue shirt this year…

  8. Oh, field day… I can distinctly remember clearing the high jump bar, rolling onto the mat and rolling, rolling, rolling until I fell off onto the asphalt. Apparently, no one told me that the mat is not an infinite source of cushiony goodness. I walked around with a huge abrasion on my face for over a week. Yeah, tell your kids that there are a lot of us out there that have no love for field day.

  9. Why give out ribbons when the day should be fun doing your best. I dislike competition in elementary school.
    I still remember my Field Day (a hundred or so years ago). I wasn’t good for much. I’m with you; daisy chain-making would have put me in the winners circle.

    • I don’t like elementary school competition either. I think it makes the kids who don’t win feel inadequate. I would like a field day fun day where there are fun activities and everyone feels happy at the end of the day!

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