05/10/10 — Outwitted ... at field day

View Archive

Outwitted ... at field day

By Laura Collins
Published in News on May 10, 2010 1:46 PM

Full Size

Troy Herring

Reporter Laura Collins joins in on the water balloon toss Friday at Eastern Wayne Elementary School's annual Fun Day. Her partner Luke Creech and other first-graders throw out the first toss.

The Job: Field Day helper

Where: Eastern Wayne Elementary

The Location: Goldsboro

A child's honesty is so adorable. At first.

"I think you're too old to hula hoop."

That was the initial reaction from a first-grade boy at Eastern Wayne Elementary School when I joined his game at the school's Fun Day.

"Do you even know how?" he asked.

"You're 7, you didn't invent hula hooping," I said, perhaps a little too soon.

When the game started, my hula hoop made about two spins before falling to the ground. It was a lackluster performance.

"See," he said. I didn't have a witty comeback. I was outwitted by a 7-year-old.

Physical education teacher Terry Butler moved me to another station. Mrs. Butler is the mastermind behind the school's Fun Day, which runs for two days at the end of every school year. The students move from station to station and play about 14 different games including tug of war, sack race, egg and spoon race and water balloon toss, among others. The games are capped off with a snow cone for each child. To a student, it's pretty much the best day ever.

I worked at the school Friday, supervising about 380 kindergarten, first and second graders. Initially I was planning on working a station, but that soon turned into me playing the games along with the students. I think that might have been Mrs. Butler's plan all along, but she let me think I came up with it on my own.

"If you want to play the games, you should probably go do the water balloon toss," she said.

Luckily the next group coming through had an uneven number of students, so I jumped in and was 5-year-old Noah Tingen's partner. The way the game goes, the two players toss a water balloon back and forth, if the balloon gets dropped, the team's out. This was a game I definitely wanted to win.

"I think we need a game plan," I said to Noah.

"Yeah," he said.

"OK, what is it?" I asked him. He deliberated.


"How does that apply?" I said.

"Do you have babies?" He responded.

I was having trouble following this conversation.

"No, do you have babies?" I asked.

"Yes," he said.

At that point the game started. Noah and I tried our hardest, and while we didn't win, we got pretty close. He was a great sport and even shook my hand afterwards. I wished him luck with his babies.

Next up was Luke Creech, 7, and his group of first-graders. This is when I saw the coup start to form. I felt like Caesar. It started with Casey Shearin, an Eastern Wayne Middle School student who, along with other members of the Beta Club, were helping with the games.

"Actually, we have a different balloon for you," she said.

She exchanged my tiny orange-sized water balloon for a much larger cantaloupe-sized water balloon. Next, Mrs. Butler decided that instead of me tossing the balloon to Luke first, it would be best for him to have the first toss. This raised some red flags because the last several games I played, my row always tossed first.

"This won't be good," I said.

The game started. With a grin on his face, Luke looked me right in the eye. All the while he was gearing up to throw the giant balloon right at my feet. He never blinked.

"Et tu, Luke?"

From the knees down I was soaked. So much so that my socks and shoes made that nice sloshing sound with every step I took. The kids got a kick out of it though.

Principal Beverly Smith explained that is what the day is all about. It's a chance for the teachers, parents and students to spend time together outside of the classroom, having fun and playing games.

"You should see them together, they get competitive, they're happy, they're healthy," she said. "The teachers really get into because the students want to see the other side of us."