Monday, July 27, 2009

A Teachable Moment



We had a “teachable moment” in the Mango household on Friday. The back-story is that the kids’ summer camp hosted a talent show on Friday, which culminated its annual “Spirit Week” activities. Both Olivia and Yannick partnered with a couple of kids in their respective groups, worked out some original choreography and auditioned and won a spot in the talent show.

True to form, Olivia worked her butt off. The two other girls in her group live close to us and they got together at least four times in the evenings leading up to the show. This is in addition to their daily rehearsals during their lunch break at camp. They pulled together a great dance routine to the clean version of the Black Eye Peas’ Boom Boom Pow. They decided on black leotard and tights, with denim shorts and black and white bandanas for their costumes.

I can’t really tell you about Yannick’s preparation for the talent show. He’d vaguely mention whom he was working with when asked and on the day of the show he threw a pair of black running pants and black t-shirt into his backpack, explaining he needed the close for his costume.

Olivia’s group opened the talent show and they put it DOWN! They had terrific energy, smooth moves, they hit all their marks. The crowd went wild. The three girls exited that stage knowing they did an awesome job.

Yannick and his crew didn’t hit the stage until well after intermission. By the time to host called them to the stage, I’d had my fill of well intentioned Mariah and Keshia knock-offs. The four boys came on stage with a confident swagger and not in the black-on-black costume Yannick left the house with in the morning. They wore white, sleeveless t-shirts they’d decorated with their names, birthdates and other info, and black workout shorts with a grey stripe down the side. Their fellow campers screamed their names like they were rock stars and when another Black Eye Peas’ song, Showdown, started they surprisingly looked like a real group with “real” choreography. This lasted for about two minutes, and then the piece devolved into a free styling frenzy until the high-energy Showdown breaks into a slow countdown, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-, at which three of the four boys would drop to the floor in a tight ball and the fourth boy would stride around the stage in slow motion. Once the countdown was over, the four boys would return to their chaotic freestyle. The crowd went wild every time the countdown hit and each of the four truly enjoyed their moment in the sun. When the boys were finished they got a standing ovation and as the youngest participants in the talent show, these cats left the stage feeling like kings.

As the talent show came to a close, we were surprised to learn the kids were competing against each other and awards would be given. None of the info sent home mentioned the talent show being a competition. First a few honorable mentions were acknowledged, and then the hosts went on to announce the 3rd place winners and guess what… it was Yannick and his boys! Olivia and I screamed our heads off as the little guys made their way to the stage to accept their prize. We then held our breath to see if Olivia would place. Unfortunately, she didn’t and she wasn’t happy.

Following the announcement of the awardees, the camp director went on and announced the winners for the Spirit Week activities and Yannick went on and was awarded an honorable mention for his Capt. Underpants costume. The charge was to dress as a unique superhero and Yannick wore his jock underwear (sans the protector) over his leotard and we pinned a pair of his boxers on the back of his Spider Man cape. Loverman wasn’t happy with his choice, but it wasn’t a battle I was willing to fight. I figured if he could sell, than good for him. Well… I guess he sold it because it was a big hit and once again the boy was making his way to the stage for more accolades.

It was a great day for Yannick and I was so happy for him, but my dear girl couldn’t understand Yannick’s good fortune. For her, it was as simple as she and her girls put in the hard work and should have at least placed. I tried to explain it isn’t always about hard work and even hard work doesn't always guarantee "a win." More often than not, there are other factors to be considered that are sometimes out of our control. Olivia and her partners in the talent show were at an immediate disadvantage as the opening act, and although they did a great job, they couldn’t trump the younger boys high energy and complete abandonment on stage. Yannick and his boys were the youngest performers in the show and the audience connected with their confidence and passion. There were only 3 or 4 acts following the boys and by the time the show came to a close, they crowd was still hyped by the little guys.

Although Yannick reveled in his glory, I’m happy to report he didn’t rub it in his sister’s face. In fact, he readily told her what a good job she did. He even offered to share his portion of his group’s $10 winnings… a whopping $2.50!

1 comment:

Angella Lister said...

That's a tough one. Congrats to both Olivia and Yannick for jobs well done!