Friday, September 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Real life is nothing like T-ball — not everybody gets to win

DebraDeAngeloW

By
From page B4 | May 25, 2014 |

On the heels of last week’s discussion on the value of teaching girls to toughen up rather than coddling them and cushioning them from life’s various insults and inequities, I went over to the high school on Monday to take a photo of this year’s valedictorians.

Yes, plural. I can’t remember the last time Winters High School had only one valedictorian. There are always two or three. One year there were even five. This year, however, there were seven.

Seven.

Another oddity — they were all girls. So, on the one hand, kudos to girls with brains. Kudos to girls who excel at math and science, as well as social sciences and the arts. But still … seven?

I asked one of them why so many, and she explained that everyone with a grade point average above 4.0 gets to be a valedictorian. I just nodded, “Oh,” and started lining them up. You know there are too many valedictorians when you have to stage them for a photo like you would a sports team — in rows.

Now, no offense to any of these bright young ladies. They were all completely lovely and cooperative, beautiful and bouncy, and something near and dear to my photographer’s heart — punctual. I wish them all the best and hope that life heaps nothing but bounty and blessings on each one.

But.

They shouldn’t all be valedictorians.

And, at least one of them knew it, I think. After I took the photo, one girl quietly slipped to my side and asked if the actual grade point rankings would be printed. No, I told her, we just group all the valedictorians together and leave it at that. Just as quietly, she nodded, looking at the ground, and walked away, clearly disappointed with my response.

Who else would this matter to except the one who studied her butt off for four years, got the highest grade point average, and was then robbed of the reward of being declared the valedictorian? Sure, the scores may have been close, like a photo finish in horse racing. A seven-way dead heat would be a rare thing indeed. In horse racing, the officials have to step in, examine the facts and declare a winner, and only a dead heat when it truly exists. Winters High School could take a lesson from the Sport of Kings and do likewise. But, that’s uncomfortable, isn’t it. Kids today were raised on “Everybody gets a ribbon!”

I saw this trend starting when my own kids were growing up. Allowing children to experience losing, failing even, disappointment, crying a little if necessary, and then learning to shake it off and try again — oh heavens no! It might damage their self-esteem! It’s child abuse!

“It’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get back up.” ~ author unknown

Amen, author unknown.

So, while the seven valedictorians surely excelled in academics, they were denied a valuable life lesson: No matter how hard you try, how excellent you are, you don’t always win. Life isn’t like T-ball. Everybody doesn’t win all the time. In fact, everybody (with the exception of the rare lucky and gifted few) doesn’t win most of the time.

Everybody doesn’t get the gold medal. Everybody doesn’t get the guy or the girl, and the ring on his/her finger. Everybody doesn’t have the winning lottery numbers. Everybody doesn’t get the blue ribbon. Everybody doesn’t get the job, or the promotion. Everybody doesn’t get the crown, or the satin sash, or even accepted into the contest at all.

And yet, life marches on, and so must we — without dissolving into a pool of despair and self-loathing. Learning to accept failure, to dust yourself off and try again may be the single most important skill for navigating life without crashing on the rocks of self-defeat. Frank Sinatra even sang about it: “When I find myself lyin’ flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race — that’s life!”

Just once, I’d like to hear them play “That’s Life” at a graduation ceremony, and instead of mortarboards, everyone gets a snappy derby hat. That would be the coolest graduation ceremony ever. Particularly if the grads all sang along.

So, this year, fine, everybody’s a valedictorian at Winters High School. Too late to do anything about it now. I propose that the high school abandon this practice going forward, because it’s neither realistic or fair. Moreover, it doesn’t prepare students for the real world. Just wait until all these students whose self-esteem is pinned on winning all the time get into universities, right along side a sea of students from other high schools who also believe that they can only win, and watch how fast reality yanks them up short. Everybody will NOT get an A. In fact, not everyone will even pass.

And that’s life, kids.

If Winters High School wants to honor students with above 4.0 grade point averages, give them a special tassel or sash, or a special scholarship. Honor academic excellence, absolutely. But allow the true valedictorian to claim her or his spot at The Top of the Class, and only in the case of a true tie should there be more than one. The consolation prize goes to the next highest GPA — the salutatorian. I can’t remember the last time Winters High School even had a salutatorian because they have so many valedictorians.

All that said, being No. 1 isn’t everything. There are surely C-average kids in the Class of 2014 who worked their tails off to get those grades, and overcame all sorts of difficulties and setbacks to do so. Ironically, they — not the gaggle of valedictorians — may have learned the most valuable lesson of all: hard work and determination will carry you forward. No, it wasn’t easy. But you got there. Now keep going. Every time you don’t give up, you win.

Comments

comments

Debra DeAngelo

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    School district may redevelop downtown site

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

     
    Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

    Scots vote to stay in UK

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    DUI suspected in crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Storyteller will draw on music, dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

    Project Linus seeks donations

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Register to vote by Oct. 20

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Free workout class set at library

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis maps available at Chamber office

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Reception benefits endangered gorillas

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Downtown history tour planned in October

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Davis hosts its own climate change rally

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Qigong classes available for heart health

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    .

    Forum

    Sick of being the bad guy

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

    By Our View | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Return to previous plan

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Save the ‘pine cone place’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Affirm our community values

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Project has safety risks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Learn more about Paso Fino

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Educate homeless with dogs

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Sports

    Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Take Zona and Bama this week

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

    Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Carol L. Walsh

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Taylor Morrison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Norcal Land

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Robin Garland

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Dana Hawkins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Marcelo Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Bob Bockwinkel

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Juan Ramirez

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    James Hanna

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Raul Zamora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

    First Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24