Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 758: Dumb prizes?

junk mail &  citrasolv paper collage

Really?  I am accepting requests for blog topics?
Roy Center, Instructor at Costa Mesa Dojo wrote ... 
"why don't you do a blog about the history of Jr. Marathon?"

So I will try ...


Costa Mesa Dojo

28 years ago, my fourth year as Instructor for Costa Mesa Dojo
I looked out at the 10 acre park adjacent to our dojo ...
and I suddenly got this wild idea, use the field!

Balearic Park, Costa Mesa

Several adults had come early to help with kids class, 
so I had built-in helpers, cohorts ... "coaches"!

I tore up scraps of colored construction paper and ...
gave one color to each coach, with a skill 
that they would ask kids to perform.
Coaches were scattered at different locations within the 10 acres.

Juniors were to run (walk when needed) to each coach, 

perform the skill required, get a colored paper scrap
and bring back, initialed, to be tallied.  
Then on to the next coach, do a different skill, and bring back a different color which was added to their individual stack.
If they went to two or more coaches in a row,
their scraps were torn up and they had to start over.
That didn't happen!
Restroom & water stops were allowed, 
but the interior dojo was off limits until done with all stations.
 I gave students their directions and told them they were ...
 going to work really hard for dumb prizes!
I told them anyone would work hard for a tv or a trip to Hawaii ...
but only special, strong, dedicated kids would work hard for ...
"dumb prizes"!
At that time I didn't know what the dumb prizes would be.
As I remember, I scrounged my cupboard and found just enough ...
"dumb prizes"!

The dumb prizes were spread out on the dojo floor.
First student done would get first choice of all the ...
"dumb prizes"!
Second got second choice and so on, with enough ...
"dumb prizes" for all.
By the end of this first Jr. Marathon each competitor ...
had accumulated a stack of colored scraps, which were stapled together and given back to the competitor.
A sorry-looking little stack of worthless paper, right?
But, the next year a Mom told me that she had ...
come across it in her son's room, wanting to throw it out as trash.
Her son rescued it as if it were gold, saying ... 
"No, Mom, do you know how hard I worked for that?"
And so we knew we had something special!
As the number of competitors grew, we had to get organized.
The first year had 21 competitors, now some years have 50+!
By the second year, we had added "suika" afterwards...  
( suika = watermelon in Japanese) for all competitors and coaches! 

Grandpa and Grandma Nomura (and now their grandchildren) 
were our kind benefactors, every year, to this day!
A sticker system, grids and tallies were implemented.
And better dumb prizes evolved.

Roy Center

Competitors are now allowed to wear tennis shoes if they choose.
In later years we added  #'s for the competitor's back.

pinned on the back of each competitor's gi

And some years, Demura Sensei made tsuru
(Japanese cranes for good luck) for all students and coaches.

all hand made by Demura Sensei

The marathon has improved, but stays basically the same. 
I helped yesterday, as one of 20 coaches ...
33 competitors + helpers, at the ...

 28th Annual Costa Mesa Dojo Jr. Marathon.  
There was a big parent turn-out and I saw my first easy-up tent!
It's a nice August tradition.

A smile for Saturday ...

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