After a week of recovery from our county fair, I feel like its time for me to get on my soapbox. So I apologize in advance.
Since we are in the midst of county and state fair season, I feel like this is a pertinent subject.
Winning. It's a big deal, I won't ever deny that. I joked with a few of my 4H kids last week about how I come to win, but is it worth it? What are you willing to give up, or who are you willing to step on to get to your goal? It may sound a little crass but that's how some people think. I can see giving up some things, but never stepping on someone to get to the top. As a 4H leader and a competitor myself it should always be about what did you learn and who did you meet along the way.
Here's an instance from last week~
My niece was finally old enough to compete in the 4H classes this year at our county fair. She's 10 and had been competing in the novice dairy goat classes since she was 5. This year was a little different, she had 2 goats of her own to take care of as well as a pen of pigs. She worked her skinny butt off all week, never asking for help unless she was in dire need. She stayed out there with my parents and did her chores, cleaned her pens everyday, and had something going on nearly every day. Did she win her classes? She ended up in the Grand Champion Drive with her barrow, but didn't make the cut. She was excited to just be in the running!
As for her goats, she took 3rd in showmanship and didn't do too bad in the conformation classes. So was it worth it? To her, yes definitely. She is SUPER excited to show again. As a matter of fact she is going to take some dairy goats (so am I) to a community fair in a couple of weeks. She's going to try for that blue ribbon again.
Even though she didn't win, she still wants to go out and do her best. She doesn't throw a fit because she thought that judge was wrong and should have picked her. She knows that there's always next time. And those friends she's made will be with her longer than any ribbon or trophy.
A Judge's thought~
One thing I heard at least 2 judges talk about last week was being courteous to your fellow 4Her, especially in the show ring. With lambs and goats, they don't always like to lead the pack. So kids are encouraged to help out and push that animal in front of them a little bit if they are needing the help. Don't stand back and watch the struggle. Help, encourage, teach, learn. Be kind.
What's your project goal? Are you willing to put in the work, to learn from others, and to try and meet those goals? OR will you go out spend the long dollar on everything, win and then boast about how it feels so good to be on top above all the "little people." I don't know what 4H program you grew up in, but mine was definitely the first option. We worked hard, learned from our peers, made the best friends and memories I could ever ask for, and yes we won a few times.
SO, the question of is it worth being at the top all alone looking down on those you beat? I sure don't think so. Make those friends. Share your knowledge. Learn to take constructive criticism, especially if coming from a judge. While it may be their opinion on that given day, you still should take it into consideration. Don't believe you know what's best.
It's not all about winning. Ribbons fade or get eaten by the respective species (cows, pigs, goats, and sheep are known to eat them...) .... trophies collect dust, fall and break. However, those memories and friends you make along the way can last forever.
Some might just stick with you through marriage or you may find that sweet someone at a show! Pictured here is Krystal, we met when we were 6 or 7 showing dairy goats. She has stood by me ever since, even on my wedding day!
Know one knows what the future holds so RELAX and enjoy your time.
Parents- let your kids do the work instead of living vicariously through them to try and beat your rival's kid that happens to be in the same age group. I've seen it happen...
ANYWAY! That's my soapbox from now... sorry for being so long. It's just one of those things that needs to be talked about.