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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Who Needs FIFA?

So 715 million people are watching the World Cup. Yawn.

If you want real sport, you need to find adolescents in your local 4-H Club getting ready for the fair.

They're out this time of year, training show hogs to walk with minimal guidance from a cane. They're in barns giving haircuts to calves, taming and brushing rabbits. They're canning fruits, drying vegetables and arranging flowers They're in kitchens decorating cakes and making perfectly stacking cookies. They're out taking photographs, making scrapbooks and posters, and pulling together craft projects.

Walking show hogs is one of my favorite 4-H sports to watch. There's something both athletic and humorous about watching a 12 year-old trailing his pig and she belches her way around a field. The hogs have a look of contempt, unaware of what awaits them after the fair auction sale is over. The kids have a look of anticipation, mentally spending the money their hog will bring.

Karen was in 4-H for nine years. (This is to the chagrin of her sisters who were all Ten Year members.) In those years she learned to sew, show animals, make a tea ring, and was involved with 4-H Junior Leaders.

She knew the sport of 4-H from the inside and has carried it on in the form of life-skills she still enjoys. (I once joked with friends that when Karen gets the itch to walk a hog, she has me strip down and chases me around the house with a cane.)

FIFA and the World Cup are important in their own right, but I wouldn't give a vuvuzuela for the opportunities these kids gain on their way to a blue ribbon at the county fair. :-)