Sometimes that big, beautiful, rockstar plan you’ve been working on for a couple months falls apart due to a mini-snowstorm and protective social institutions desperately trying to do good for the kids they are growing. This is a lesson I dislike being reminded of and wish I could protect my students from, but alas, together we’re part of this communal educational experiment called school and this is, most definitely, part of my job.
Winter storm Nemo (forever ruining clownfish for those of us who did have a soft spot for them) did indeed leave feet of snow at the doorsteps of my friends down in Boston and up in Portland, but my backyard of Springfield, VT received about half a foot. This was enough to make school districts rightfully nervous about sending their precious cargo around the state to compete in winter sports events, especially during a winter that has been fairly lackluster in the Northeast so far. Unfortunately for my peppy Varsity dance team in Springfield, it meant that their first opportunity to host one the few season’s dance competitions was denied. And since States is next weekend, there will be no opportunity to make it up. I usually remain steadfast in my positivity regarding disappointment, but as I mulled over the screen-printed t-shirts the kids had made, the letter they wrote up and delivered themselves to business asking for donations and food, the gift bags they made for teams, and their relentless advertising to get the community and their peers out to this event, I couldn’t help but feel, well, bummed.
Those who know me well know that I don’t rest easy in my somewhat melodramatic states of despair so I quickly gathered the troops for an impromptu snow day you-can-cancel-our-competition-but-you-can’t-take-away-our-fun party. We met up at the dance studio with our baked goods never-to-be-sold and our sillk-screened t-shirts ready to rock. We quickly gorged ourselves (as any serious dancer should) and proceeded by having the seniors and foreign exchange student duke it out in a mad limbo competition for the trophies that we were unable to pass out today (and that earlier that morning were indulging in tea thanks to Aurora). This was followed by some particularly robust dancing, creative dance exercises moving across the floor, and mini re-choreographed versions of the team’s two dances highlighting the team’s creative range... or should we say shimmy, booty-shaking, and claw-hand techniques. The rest of the afternoon we shall keep cloaked in secrecy for my job security and the social clout of these ladies.
I am grateful to be reminded why we work so hard to be good people on this little team. It’s easy to get bogged down with the challenges of life and relating to others, but in this brief dance disco of an afternoon, I felt at ease and grateful for the kindness and joy these women could bring to me and each other. I am still bummed that the teams who were supposed to spend their day in Springfield today didn’t benefit from the competence and positivity radiating from that room, but I’m confident that we made the best of today and will fully enjoy our last week of the season - in style, not “lonely,” and with far fewer marshmallows in our mouths than were in some today.