I’m not an athlete. Everybody knows that.
Sure, I can throw a football okay, yeah I can run pretty fast. But I’ve got some really competitive, athletic girls in my class, too. Anna can probably throw a football better, Jori is almost always spending recess playing soccer, and Jayda is usually practicing volleyball.
Sports are their thing.
So I was confused when I was the only girl to get the P.E. award in 6A.
Wednesday was the last day of school and the Awards Ceremony for 5th and 6th grade. There were tons of awards being given out. I was happy to get a certificate for writing (and a journal to go along with it!) and another for A Honor Roll.
Then my P.E. teacher stood up to give out an award for Outstanding Effort In Physical Education.
I was guessing Mr. Wynn would give it to Jayda, Jori or Anna. Someone who was really athletic.
But I sat there, waiting as Mr. Wynn talked about this “young lady.” She had come to P.E. behind, he explained, not familiar with the sports. Even though she started at the bottom, soon she caught on quickly, at times even getting better than some of her peers. This girl wasn’t the best athlete, he said, but she always participated.
And that’s when I wondered if he was talking about me.
Mr. Wynn finally announced the name of the student awarded the certificate: Allison Segalini. I was more embarrassed than honored, but I stood up and shook Mr. Wynn’s hand as he gave me the award anyway. Hugging my homeroom teacher, I whispered, “I was not expecting that!”
When I got home from school, my dad called me. He had been there, but never had time to talk to me afterward. Now he was asking me how it felt to get all of my awards.
So I explained about my embarrassment, and my excitement about getting the other awards. When I said all of that though, my dad felt the exact opposite way: that the P.E. one was the most exciting- surprising, yes- but also great.
I was being awarded for something that did not come naturally, and my dad thought that it showed good character. And thinking about it more, I realized that he was right. My perspective shifted. There was no reason for me to feel embarrassed at all. Instead, I began to feel proud.