Growing up, our yard was big. As a kid from a small town, having a yard meant having a playground. I suppose that feeling and this fact has stood the test of time. From a baseball diamond to a fort and tree house building paradise, one memory jumps out at this time as I’m thinking about the many children and families tucked away at home.
I hope to share this story and provoke family creativity resulting in fun and memorable times.
I was in fifth grade when I designed and produced my first track meet. It started with drawings; where would the high-jump pit be, where would the audience sit, what will substitute for a pit of long jump sand, where would the finish line be, and most importantly, where would the actual track lanes be, oh and how can I get a crowd there!
The next step, branding. The flyer must be placed on all doors before our neighbors woke up. The artist needed support, I needed coloring skills and runners. I needed a flower placed on each flyer. Runners, who have bikes, to get these flyers on the doors and get neighbors in the stands (blankets spread out in the grass).
From morning to late afternoon leaves were raked (the soft high jump pit), rocks were collected and acted as markers for the shot put pit. The shot puts (the old croquet balls from a partial garage sale set) were in place, the softball throw was complete with the one old dog-chewed softball in place, and the track lanes were clearly marked by the old pile of bricks that set next to the house. It was show time! Oh wait – the starter’s gun! Two pieces of wood, 2×4’s to be exact, perfectly replicated the crisp pop of the gun simply by slamming them together. Now, we were ready to go!
Honestly, I don’t remember who showed up. A few of our count-on-for-everything neighbors and of course, all of the sandlot pals from Cherokee Avenue. I do remember landing on my back in those pile of high jump leaves and getting the wind knocked out of me. Nothing that our on-site trainer, my grandmother, couldn’t fix with a glass of lemonade – I was breathing normally in no time. Dark-thirty came around and it was all about putting everything back, cleaning the yard while carrying on about the day’s events.
The memory is one that links me back to those still rewarding feelings of organizing, creating, and involving others.
Keys from a Fifth-Grade Kid (who grew up to teach):
The Entrepreneur: brainstorm ideas, create a task force, consider former fun experiences or ideas from a book, TV, or online
The Project Manager – All ideas need a strong foreman-type (not going to say “bossy” but….) must work well with & completely support the entrepreneur
The Engineer / Artist: Sit down and put it all on paper – draw with great detail. Consider in-house rooms, yard, garage, sidewalks, and factor in weather.
The Equipment Manager – must be creative! What do we have to work with and what can replace and substitute. Skills must include equipment placement.
The Marketing Guru – this social butterfly must be savvy with social media, printing, distributing, and he/she must work well with the Engineer/Artist.
The News Reporter & Photographer – although we only have our memories, today is a bit different! Must work well with the project & equipment managers.
We’d love to see what you come up with! Please send pics or post using #coachemup_llc so others may run with your ideas and share in the fun!
Deborah Newkirk, Founder | COACH ‘EM UP