com·pe·ti·tion (kŏm’pĭ-tĭsh’ən) – Noun

1. The act of competing, as for profit or a prize; rivalry.
2. A test of skill or ability; a contest: a skating competition.
3. Ecology The simultaneous demand by two or more organisms for limited environmental resources, such as nutrients, living space, or light.

On Friday, Paige was entered in the 100 Meter dash. Thirty nine entries. Six and under. Paige, being three, was one of the youngest but she knows age is not a barrier. The kids prepared. Eye of the Tiger blared over the loud speakers as runners stretched and prepared. Then, it was time. Not a sound as the kids got into their stances. Sweat dripped off noses, eyes focused toward the finish lines.

In their crouch.

The crack of the pistol. The initial surge, the danger zone. Paige could get swept up. I hoped she remembered my teachings (throw those elbows!).

Wait, is she holding hands? WTF? The first wave hits the finish line. Second wave hits the finish line. Third wave. Then the stragglers. Then comes Paige, holding hands with Aidan. She finishes 39th. Out of 39 (though because they were holding hands, I think it actually means she finishes tied for 38.)

So racing isn’t for her.

As a parent, I’m undeterred. She will be victorious, at something. Perhaps she’s just a small fish in a big pond. I’ll go where the pond is smaller.

Ailsa Craig and the The Turtle Races. She’s not a turtle, so she can’t enter that race (they just wouldn’t listen to reason). But they had two competitions that were right up her alley: cookie stacking and ice cream eating.

Genes. This one was all about genes. And Kari and I are all about the ice cream and cookies. She’ll be a natural.

Competing against kids twice her age in the stacking competition, Paige held her own (once again throwing elbows). She cheated well (good for you, girl!) and finished second in her heat to a girl twice her age.

I made sure everyone in the crowd realized how Paige finished second despite the massive handicap (organizers obviously had it out for us).

Ice Cream Eating — she was BORN for this. Sadly, I think the bright lights got to her. She choked. Not literally. Figuratively. She just couldn’t compete against the others eaters. Perhaps it was the pre-game fries, ice cream, or freezie. But she didn’t bring her A game.

The reward for coming in second and then bombing out of the ice cream eating contest? She got to eat the ice cream using the cookies as a spoon.

Yes, the life of a natural athlete — the road less traveled.