On Memorial Day our family got the idea to play a game of Kickball. The full feeling of nostalgia did not come over me until I heard Spencer call this out on the first serve of the game: "Ollie, do you want baby bouncies?" Then, of course, I could not stop laughing the rest of the game. How is it that I once found that phrase so normal and commonplace?!
Apparently kickball has made a comeback with those of us who once enjoyed it so thoroughly on the playground. Check out this great article on kickball and other sports of yore (dodgeball, whiffle ball, four square).
Next I need to Google the bars, because I would like to know if kids are still doing these tricks: Cherry Drop, Lemon Drop, and Dead Man's Drop. I was so good at those. I'll never forget mastering the Dead Man's Drop from the high bar! What a feeling!
I am happy to say that at this point in my life I don't have many regrets. I mean, heck, I do a lot of things wrong, but as far as the major things I've done in my life, I'm pretty happy about it.
Except one thing. I regret being SO SHY in my youth. My shyness held me back from doing a lot of things.
While watching the pilot show "Glee" last week, I got to thinking...and wishing I had done more in high school, specifically in trying to be in plays and/or musicals and other similar types of things. It just seems so fun to me. Thanks to Celia, who talked me into trying out to be in the high school choir, I do have the choir experience and joy under my belt. Did anyone else watch "Glee" and think this too--that you wished you had been in the Glee Club?
How funny that only eight days later my Big Chance came along. My friends, Ed and Norma, gave me some spare tickets to the Off Broadway musical "Putnam County Spelling Bee", and so three friends and I went last night.
Let me say first off that if there was a such a thing as a rating for a musical, this one would have been an 'R'. Just a word to the wise. And boy were there agendas and sub-agendas written into the script of this show! Whoah. But I digress. Back to my fame.
So when we entered in the lobby there was a booth that said something about "Do you like to spell?" and "Be a part of the show!" Well--both applied naturally, so I went and inquired. After talking to the girl I decided it probably wasn't for me.
After our group meandered about a bit, we were heading to our seats when this guy came up to us and asked us if we wouldn't like to be a part of the show, as guest spellers in the spelling bee? We all declined, but I think the guy could read the semi-longingness in my eyes for a bit of spelling and stage time, so he pushed it. He also made it seem like he really needed people. (Later I found out that they had about 20 interested applicants!) In the end, I relented, signed up, and was chosen (and notified, before the show began) to be one of the four guest participants. It's weird how I knew they were going to pick me and wasn't surprised at all when my name was called. My time had come.
They took the four of us to this room and coached us on what was going to happen and what we were supposed to do (go up when they called us, follow the cue of the actors, ask for a definition of the word we were to spell, ask them to use it in a sentence, have fun--basically be an audience member and contestant, but up on the stage).
It was at that point that I began to feel some alarm, wondering what had I done, and how was I going to get through it?? After she flew through the instructions, I asked our acquainter that if we happened to spell our words correctly, then we might possibly be on stage for the entire performance? "Yes. And don't intentionally misspell a simple word like 'dog'. We've seen that and its not funny!" Gulp. Then they sent us to our seats to wait for the show to begin. About five minutes into it they were going to call us up from the audience.
When I walked into the center, I was relieved to see that it was only about half full. But there were still A LOT of people in there. I just Googled it and the Morrison Center has a seating capacity of 2000. So that means I was on stage last night in front of about a thousand people. And let me tell you, I just was not prepared for it at all. Wanting to do something like that while you're watching someone on TV is a whole lot different than the real thing, I learned.
They called our four names from the audience (one of us was an eight year-old girl) and we all went up there and got mixed in with the six actors that were fellow Bee participants. And then we spent some time up there. They called up some of the actors to the microphone to spell, then some of us, and so on. I was placed, of course, on the front row of bleachers between two actors, and sat there wishing I had chosen to shave my legs that morning!
So then they called my name, and my one slip-on shoe sort of fell off my foot as I approached the microphone, due to the fact that even my feet were sweating. Oh geez. I recovered it pretty well though. So then he asked me to spell "jihad". I did my part, spelled it correctly and was sent back to my seat on the bleachers. I just felt so awkward the whole time.
At one point the actors were singing a song and they had the three of us remaining audience-member-contestants hold hands and jump up and down while the actors spun around us in a circle! After that they had us sit back down on the bleachers and whispered to us to hold on because they were going to spin the bleachers around.
I tried to smile, enjoy myself, and look natural the whole time, but I was dying to get off that stage. The next time they called me up to spell the word "zuzu" (I actually don't know the correct spelling--or if that's even a real word), which I intentionally spelled "zoozoo" figuring that HAD to be wrong. They dinged me and sent me off the stage with a juice box in hand, and my time was up. I went back to my seat in the audience.
I still can't believe I did it. My friends said it made the show a whole lot more enjoyable for them, having someone they knew up there, so that was something to feel good about. But the moral of the story is this: I have no desire, interest, or ability to be on stage or perform in front of people in any way. And if I ever get that Bee in my bonnet again (pun intended), I hope and pray that I will remember this post. And that's what my 15 minutes of fame taught me. Thank you very much.