Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life Lessons

The girls competed in the Grand Canyon State Feis this past weekend in Phoenix. The Grand Canyon feis is sponsored by their dance school, Tir Conail, so the girls were very excited. Here they are with their excited little selves.

For the uninitiated, a feis (pronounced fesh) is an Irish step dancing competition. I would try to explain how one of these things works, but quite frankly, I think it might be easier to tie up the loose ends of Lost. All I know for sure is that the girls compete in a bunch of dances, and if they do well, they can win shiny medals. If the shiny medal is a first, or sometimes even a second, they move up to the next level of competition, and that's a good thing.

Scout started out strong in the morning, with two 1sts and two 2nds. I'm always happy when the girls place, but this was big. Scout was shut out at the last feis, and she took it pretty hard. The judges said she wasn't crossing her feet enough, so she worked on that in practice. I think this experience taught her a valuable lesson. When things don't go your way, you can pout, give up, or you can go back to work and try to get better. As parents, we preach this all the time, but this is concrete proof, and now Scout has something to draw on when things don't go as she hopes. Which, of course, happened a lot sooner than any of us expected.

Quinn danced in the afternoon, and she was wonderful. At the last feis, Quinn wasn't her usual energetic self; she just kind of shuffled her way through. We talked a lot about picking up her energy level, and this time around she was bouncing all over the place, big ol' smile on her face. She moved up to Novice in one of her dances, and placed in 4 others. Quinn has a good time no matter what happens with the judges, but again, it was good to have concrete results.

Scout had to wait all afternoon for her last dance, it was a very long day for her. It's the only dance she has left in Beginner II, and she's been stuck there for a while. She needs to place 1st or 2nd to move on to Novice, and it didn't happen. As a parent, I felt powerless. I want to be able to tell her what she can do to get over the hump, but the truth is, all I can tell her is to keep working, and sometimes that sounds hollow even to me. I know it stings when you fall short of a goal, and I was proud of how Scout handled her disappointment. It wasn't long before she was talking about moving up at the next feis in August.

The girls love Irish dancing, and they love competing. What I love is watching the girls improve from feis to feis, as dancers, and as people.

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