The Boy’s first obstacle course (and first eating contest)

Today was the Second Annual Boot Camp Barbecue at The Boy’s school. He wasn’t enrolled last year, so we weren’t there for the inaugural event, but this year’s was a lot of fun.

The Boy has been looking forward to it since they announced it in February. It’s a school fundraiser, and the students families parents are expected to, well, solicit funds for the school to use. I didn’t have time to do my usual fundraising (last fall, I baked brownies and cakes and all kinds of goodies to sell at work, with the proceeds going to The Boy’s school), so I just wrote a check for $30 and was done with it. (That was the minimum to get a T-shirt, which is all I really cared about.)

The Boy (in his Boot Camp shirt!) waiting for his classroom's turn on the obstacle course.

Now, because we weren’t around for last year’s Boot Camp Barbecue, I really had no idea what to expect. Sure, I saw a few pictures, but I really didn’t know what, specifically, would happen this year. All I knew was that I promised The Boy I would go through Boot Camp with him, whatever that meant.

Last night, The Boy, in all his excitement, put himself to bed without any fuss, and, even more miraculously, he got up without incident this morning and was so excited about starting his day. (I wish we all greeted each day like that.) This morning was otherwise business as usual: I took him to school, walked him to his classroom (because it’s Friday), and went to work (but only for half a day).

When I returned to The Boy’s school to help out before the event actually began, I saw a rather large obstacle course at the bottom of the hill by the parking lot. The school had sent home a map last night (which I studied carefully), but it still didn’t properly prepare me for what I actually saw.

The Boot Camp obstacle course

The first obstacle was a wall (actually two large boards leaning together in the shape of an upside-down V) with ropes attached that students would scale. (There was a smaller version of this wall under the larger one.) From there, they would crawl under a web of orange ribbon, go through a misting “tunnel” (really, a tent), balance on two separate teeter-totters, run through a series of tires, jump over a series of hurdles, race through agility poles (the kind you see dogs using in those dog shows), cross an open “bridge” over a small pool of water, attack a kick-boxing bag, and skip down a short path before climbing up the hill to where tents were set up waiting for them.

This was the little kids’ version, by the way. And if you’re exhausted reading it, imagine how spent The Boy was after running it. Repeatedly.

The Boy loved the entire course. The whole class ran through the obstacles together twice, and I eagerly joined in the first round. I was all set to run with him and his classmates a second time, but The Boy looked up at me from his place in line and said, “Um, Mommy, I don’t need you to go with me again.”

Oh, well. Since I wasn’t running the obstacles, it meant I could take pictures, right?

Kickboxing. Sport of the future.

Interestingly enough, one of his favorite obstacles was the teeter-totter.

The bridge was another favorite, though he didn’t trust himself to climb onto it by himself. (The bridge was the only obstacle I didn’t attempt because I didn’t trust it to hold my weight.)

The Boy on the bridge. He was nervous about falling into the water below because he didn't want to get his shoes wet.

One of the highlights of the day, though, was being selected to participate in the watermelon contest! I agreed to let him sign up to participate in it (making him sign the form and everything), and of all the entries, his was one of five selected.

Sizing up the competition at the start of the competition.

Cute Husband and I were a little unsure how he would do. After all, he had just finished a hot dog for dinner and wasn’t exactly starving, and though The Boy doesn’t exactly eat slowly, he’s been told from the time he could eat solids to take small bites and carefully chew his food.

Almost through the first slice. Look at all the watermelon juice dripping down the table from just his corner.

He was a little slow to start, but once he got started, he did very well. He polished off one slice…

He's down to the bottom of the first slice, but that slow start means he's got a lot of ground to cover.

…and quickly got started on a second.

Onto the second piece!

I will admit I was a bit uneasy watching the competition munch on the watermelon. It looked like it was going to be a close race.

The Boy doesn't seem to realize you're not supposed to worry about seeds when it's a contest.

Ultimately, The Boy came in a very close second place. The judges were torn for a moment, but I could see straight away that one of his opponents ate a bit more of the third slice than he did.

Well, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. He had fun; that’s what really mattered. And he didn’t seem at all disappointed about the loss, so that was awesome for me.

But, of course, the watermelon contest wasn’t the end of the day. Even with a very full belly, he insisted on returning to the obstacle course to run around. And after (what I felt was) a reasonable resting period, he joined some of his classmates on the field where they all tested out some of the obstacles designed for the bigger kids. One of his friends scaled the taller wall (both with and without the footholds!), and The Boy found joy in rolling a tire up the hill.

It may be a shell of a tire, but its diameter is almost his height and it still weighs a whole lot when you're pushing it up a hill!

When we finally left, he was exhausted, and once he showered and brushed his teeth, it wasn’t long before he went right to sleep. And after a day like this, I can’t exactly blame him!


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