Wednesday, May 28, 2008
It's that time of the school year at my alma mater, aka Hedgie's school, aka Summerhill: Mile Run Month. Beginning in first grade, the students run a few times a week around the local park's track, earning special buttons for each mile they complete. When I was in lower school, we had Mile Run, but it was the Mile Run of the 1970s, before folks seemed to know much about cruelty-free phys ed. Seven laps to a mile, and we weren't allowed to stop running and walk or get a drink of water, or they would discount the laps we'd completed up to that point, and we'd have to start over again. So there were the hardass kids who earned four and five mile buttons with regularity, and then there was me--a worrywart, terrified of getting heat stroke, pacing myself to a fault, I was so proud the day I came home, against all odds, with a two mile button. I'm telling you, it was a death march. And the gym teachers were the guards looking on dispassionately.
Fast forward 33 years to May 2008. A kinder Summerhill, a Summerhill for the new millenium, where children can stop for water or walk as needed. The teachers encourage rather than penalize. Still, I can see the intensity of Mile Run even now. The kids wear their buttons every day to school and eye each other's insignia for signs of battle bravery and kill numbers. Hedgehog came home the first two days with one mile buttons, then twos, then threes, and finally, a four mile button. Impressed isn't the word for what I felt when I saw these. I know we're not supposed to live our dreams through our children, and I'm not--I never dreamed of such things, it didn't seem part of who I was as a kid. But it is who Hedgehog is, and once again, I marvel.