Flying Pigs by  Brad Smith    Creative Commons   flickr.com

Flying Pigs by Brad Smith   Creative Commons   flickr.com

Going to gym class twice a week was not enough for a hyperactive child like me. I made up for it on snow and rainy days during recess. On Tuesday and Thursday I wore my gym suit under my dress. Mr. Climber, gave us an unwanted lecture on health before gym. Ug!


When we were dismissed we ran to the changing room where our dresses flew off our heads. I needed to improve my gymnastic skills if I was going to compete in the athletic event at Withrow High School!


 When our teacher blew his whistle we ran to our stations. The bars were my favorite. I planted my hands eighteen inches apart on the bar. I blew out a deep breath and swung my legs up over my head unto the bar. I worked to straighten my pudgy body for visual effect.


 I slowly came forward and my body cleared the bar. My hands took on my full body weight as I pulled my knees close to my chest. I eased my pointed toes down to tip the mat. My stomach quivered as I lifted my knees through my shaky arms. Quickly, I hooked my legs over the bar. Whew!


Swinging back and forth I flew off the bar and landed on my feet twice.  My hands rested on the small of my back. I took a bow and strutted off the mat. I think I did okay.


The whisle blew and I ran to the next station. I watched with envy as my comrades shot up the twenty-five foot metal pole to ring the bell and slide back down. It was my turn. The great, enemy gravity pulled as I lifted my body. My sweaty legs kept sticking to the metal pole. I never made it to the top. I did terrible.


I loved taking turns on the extra-long tumbling mat. My cart wheels, somersaults, hand stands and back bends weren't perfect but fun. This was my element.


Mr. Climber lifted the shorter kids up to the wooden rings.  I felt embarrassed when he had to lift me up each time I fell off.


It was a beautiful Friday afternoon in spring when eighty of us children from Oakley Elementary School walked the mile to Withrow High School. We laughed and sang songs along the way.

  The Ants Go Marching One by One...

Green Ants Silhouette  by  Kasi Metcalfe        Creative Commons   www.flickr.com

Green Ants Silhouette  by Kasi Metcalfe     Creative Commons   www.flickr.com

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah! 

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah!

The ants go marching one by one, the little one stopped to suck his thumb.

And, they all go marching down, to the ground, to get out, of the rain!

Boom, boom, boom!

* * *


Later, that afternoon I competed with the Broad Jump. Mr. Climber was impressed a few weeks ago I could jump over six feet. I stepped on the slightly elevated wooden box and make sure my toes didn’t hang over the front edge. I didn’t want to be disqualified over something stupid.



With every ounce of gusto I could muster I jumped. My body barely lifted through the air. I felt like a 500 pound pig in slow motion. When my feet hit the pavement my butt hit my heels and I fell backwards. The wagging heads and pitiful moans of the onlookers shared my humiliation.The day I become a gymnast will be, "When pigs fly!"

Blank Airport Flying Pig  by  Ian Burt     Creative Commoms   www.flickr.com

Blank Airport Flying Pig  by Ian Burt    Creative Commoms   www.flickr.com


When pigs fly” is a sarcastic comment used in Cincinnati, Ohio where pig farmers used to export millions of pigs down the Ohio River to be slaughtered. The comment probably started when someone asked, “When are you going to stop shipping  pigs?”

The pig farmer probably said, “When pigs fly!”




Take Aways

Some things kids are good at are just for fun, not a future career/job. 

God can use our failures to help us move on and find our way.

Telling a child they can be anything they want to be is a lie.