My worst memories of the day are wrapped up in a collection of gold loser ribbons. Now kids are patted on the back and told they're awesome when they get dragged across the field during Tug-of-War because their parents were handed fake satin ribbons at the end of their field days and they know the feeling of being told you're a complete doofus with the rest of the class. I'd trudge home, soaking wet from water games that made my nose run and my hair look like rat tails around my face. I'd squeeze out my sneakers, watching the muddy water pool on the cement sidewalk next to the house in suburban California and compare lacerations with my best friend who also sported a gold ribbon. The athletic children who tossed cabers in their backyards would ride by, their red ribbons flashing from the handlebars of their bikes like a winking Devil's eye. I'd plot revenge then give my ribbon to my hamster to tear up for bedding.
The swings were removed from the playground at one of my daughters' schools last week, yesterday kickball was banned yet field day continues. Pretty soon they'll call that one day a year "recess." Maybe a little flag football wasn't so bad after all.