Tuesday, November 30, 2010

May the force be with all of us

Last Thursday, I took the opportunity to thank Carrie and Katie Goldman for reminding us how important it is to be an individual after first grader Katie was teased about her Star Wars water bottle, which the teasers told her was just for boys.

Hearing Katie's story got me thinking about my own grade school experiences with Star Wars, and since Katie asked to hear stories about other girls women who love all things Han Solo and Princess Leia, I thought I'd share one of those experiences here . . .

When I was in second grade, we had a talent show at my grade school, St. Ann's, a tiny Catholic school that was tucked away in a quiet corner of Raritan, New Jersey, only a few miles away from where I grew up.

Not knowing that talent shows usually feature people with significant talent, I immediately signed up to perform the baton twirling routine I was learning in my first-ever baton class that year.

Unfortunately, another twirler performed right before me: Edwina Schwinn. Edwina was my best friend and part of the reason I had taken up twirling. She was also a champion twirler.

During the talent show, Edwina wore a gorgeous sequined costume and a glittering tiara. She threw two batons in the air at the same time, spun around three times, and still caught both of them.

In contrast, I wore a standard-issue black leotard with white tights and could only throw one baton from one hand to the other without dropping it.

As soon as Edwina began to perform, I realized my mistake. I was not talent-show material. Despite this, I got up when my name was called and soldiered through my amateur routine in front of a cafeteria full of my classmates.

As soon as the whole thing was over, I ran to the bathroom and cried.

Thirty minutes later, on the bus ride home, I was still teary-eyed, but the other boys in my grade comforted me by saying that they liked my performance better than Edwina's because of the song that went with my routine.

That song was none other than the theme to the original Star Wars, proving that sometimes liking things boys usually like more than girls isn't always a bad thing.

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