Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hot Potato

I've always been a competitive person.  Maybe it's because I watched, and participated in, multitudes of sports from a young age.  Whatever the reason, I really enjoy the drama and the suspense that naturally comes along with the buildup and conclusion to almost any competition. 

Of course, I suspect most people are wired this way to some extent, but for me this competitive nature can sometimes manifest itself from even the most mundane of situations.

Including pre-school playtime.

Such was the case Tuesday when I entered Lukas' classroom to pick him up and head for home.  As I usually do, I entered and peered over the wall of cubby's that separates that area from the stage where many of the organized activities take place, such as story time.  But on Tuesday another activity was on the agenda.  A game of Hot Potato.

The game was just getting started when I entered and Lukas was one of approximately 22 kids gathered around in a circle while a small boom box played kid tunes.  I quickly noticed that the kids were passing around a pillow sized, inflated Mylar potato.  And whoever was left holding it when the music stopped, was OUT of the game.

I sat and watched as the game went on, and on, and ON some more.  But with each halting of the music, Lukas would once again be safe and I could feel my excitement rising.  Then, when they were down to approximately 8 kids left and the circle was tightened together I started to think that he might just have a shot a winning the whole thing.

About the same time I started to get extremely nervous every time the 'potato' ended up in his hands, especially when the music had been playing for a lengthy amount of time.  I might have even verbally implored him to 'Get rid of it quick, Buddy!" but I'm not sure, because in the excitement things were happening fast.

Then, another dad pulled up beside me, and quickly realized what he was witnessing.  I'm fairly certain he too could feel the excitement in the air.  "He's got game" he offered with a grin.  It was during his next turn with the sizzling starch that Lukas went to pass it to the next kid and it slipped out of his hands darting out of the circle. "Ooooooh" the other dad and I gasped, as another 3 year old boy, one who I had long since assessed as the biggest threat, went to grab it.  When he did, the music stopped. 

"Yes!" we mouthed to each other.

That left only 3 kids still in the game, including Lukas.  Once again the music started, and the potato was passed.  Lukas survived yet another near miss.  From behind the wall, his cheering section hooted as it was now down to the final two in a truly thrilling match-up.

Back and forth went the potato.  On went the music.  The tension in the air was palpable as I held my breath despite my racing heart.  Then, when I thought I couldn't take it anymore and might have to avert my eyes, the music stopped for the last time!!

And Lukas was left holding the potato!

"Ahhhhhh!" We groaned from the bleachers.  The other dad turned to me and joked. "I guess that means no dinner for him".  I just smiled as I walked over to Lukas to congratulate him on a good clean game.  As it turned out, they couldn't really hear us over the music.  And neither actually seemed to care who won. 

Lukas just looked at me, grabbed a book and asked "Can you read this to me Daddy?"  "You need to go to the bathroom first" I responded.

Then I added, "I'll race you there".


Dad's off the Couch said...

Then again, maybe he lost because you weren't yelling at him like a crazy person from the sidelines... or at least that's what I've learned from the little league parents around here.

Or, maybe 3rd out of 22 is pretty darn good. I vote he gets dinner.

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Dads Off the Couch - 2nd. He finished 2nd! We were actually not animated in a way that the kids could tell or care. I will never be that parent who verbally assalts the referee because he made a bad call on my kid. I like competition and enjoy the excitement, but am not that type of person.

Thanks for stopping by, and for the comment.

Barbara L said...

Good story to start my day off with! :) And I am sure you gave him his supper.

Barbara L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. M said...

What a great story - I hope all the kiddos had fun, even the ones who were sitting out the longest! :)

Homemaker Man said...

Awww! I was right there with you guys the whole time. Obviously, this sh*t was fixed. The teacher's name isn't Tim Donaghy, by any chance?

Whit said...

Get him working with a real hot potato at home and he'll own that school.

Captain Dumbass said...

So who won the race to the bathroom?

Diplo_Daddy said...

Yeah, who made it to the toilet first?

My heart was running wild just reading the story. He played fair and square and that's what counts the most in my eyes.

Anonymous said...

Get him an agent now.

heidi said...

This post is a whole lot of awesome. Looks like YOU were actually the one left holding the potato, eh? Better than egg on your face, I imagine.


Otter Thomas said...

I would like to say you are too competitive, but I know I would have been right there with you if it was my kid. Good story. I was getting a bit anxious myself.

Jack said...

I will never be that parent who verbally assalts the referee because he made a bad call on my kid.

That is what they all say. ;)

AnOrdinaryDad said...

Great story, great writing. This is exactly why I love reading your blog. I'm just as competitive as you, heck I might have even asked to join just so I could prove once and for all that I was better than all those three year olds...

James (SeattleDad) said...

@Barbara - Thanks for stopping by.

@Mighty M - Some of the others stuck around to see the drama, but most went off to play something else.

@Homemaker Man - It's definitely run by the NBA.

@Whit - Good idea. I need to calous up his hands with the real thing. :o0

@Captain - He did, of course. You should know that by now with 3 boys!

@Dipplo - Yes, he was. I need to teach him more tricks I guess.

@DC - You looking to sign a hot young prospect? He's a blue chipper.

@Hiedi - Yes, definitely. Thanks for stopping by.

@Otter - You will be ready for March Madness now.

@Jack - I will try to refrain just to prove myself right.

@Ordinary Dad - Good point. I actually wanted to sit behind him and help him out a bit, but he was doing just fine himself!

Anonymous said...

I had those same feelings watching my son play "tag" at school the other day.