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Chapter 3~ Contests, contests, contests.

My dad and I circa 1980

...and then there were the contests.  I am not necessarily anti-contest, I think kids can benefit from some types of competitions if they are taught healthy acceptance when they don't win.  Commradery, sportsmanship...

What I remember most about contests isn't the joy of placing 1st regionally, or even of placing in the top 3 nationally, but the resentment of fellow competitors' parents, toward their kids, or toward other kids and other parents.  It seemed like for so many of us kids, the contests were about our parents more than they were about us. That said, I appreciate the discipline contest fiddling taught me.  One would learned a piece of music and learn it like one knows the back of their own hand.  You learned it inside out, upside down and backards until it was perfect.  That was also a lesson I took with me throughout the rest of my life.  However, at age 14 I vowed to never enter another contest again after seeing so many falling outs and kids whose parents were diappointed in them for placing second... kids mad at other kids for winning first place.  Parents fighting and asking for recounts of score sheets, ad nauseum, and I suppose my heart was broken too.  There were kids I knew at those contests that I loved.   I considered them family and we all wanted to know each other forever.  But since our parents could not help but to come somewhat unglued over our placements, even though at the end of the day we were all much of a muchness, I could not move away quickly enough in search for something more positive...

June 1981 Weiser Idaho holding John Francis' trophy while he was interviewed by the local paper

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