The Pony had his first-ever high school academic match last Saturday. It was a tournament involving eight teams. Some of the schools were two and three times as large as Newmentia.
The Pony is the workhorse of his team. Though only a freshman, he is the go-to guy. The one who stays in every round. One of the sophomore girls is also a team staple. But it's The Pony they rely on to guide them. That said, he was disappointed when they lost all three matches Saturday morning. Upset that they did not make it to the afternoon round. He didn't say it in so many words. But I could tell by his demeanor when he arrived home. I know my little Pony.
Monday morning, I was graced by a visit from Mr. Principal. It's a rare occasion when he drops by my classroom, unless it is teacher fake payday. That happens two days a month, when he makes the rounds, dropping off fake paychecks to the faculty. We have direct deposit, so it's merely a formality. The giving of the stubs. Oh, and there was that time when the mothers of a certain Hillbilly boy's ex-girlfriends got into a kerfluffle on social media, a conflict about which I was happily ignorant, taking no part in the social media circus, and one called Newmentia and asked Mr. P if he was going to talk to me about it, and when he asked why, she said, "Well, she's a teacher there, isn't she?" Because obviously, I control the minds of the progenitors of my son's former flames, over a year removed from any sort of companionship with him, as a part of my every-night scheme to try and take over the world.
However, last Monday, Mr. P dropped in to tell me that the academic tournament school had called. The Pony won an individual medal, 6th Place, for his overall average on correct-question-answering. Mr. P caught The Pony in the hall and told him. The medal was in the mail. The Pony was pleased as punch. The next day, he was publicly congratulated via the school announcements that are read out loud at the beginning of 2nd Hour.
The medal arrived on Thursday. Mr. P, who doubles as academic coach, presented it to The Pony at practice. The Pony pranced up the hall to my room, that medal thumping on his chest. He trotted back to the corner where my desk is ensconced in a T with a table bearing a nest of wires that drop from the ceiling, an ersatz control center, one to rival the bridge of the Starship Enterprise.
"See the medal I won at the academic tournament? I wore it all through practice. It's cool." Indeed, it WAS cool. Heavy metal on a wide ribbon. I inspected it closely. Even though it never left The Pony's neck. He hurried out to use the bathroom next door to my classroom before we left for The Devil's Playground. I heard him showing his medal to Cus, who was lurking in the hall.
Upon climbing out of T-Hoe on The Devil's parking lot, The Pony yanked his door open again. "Oops! I guess I'd better not wear my medal in the store!" He was so proud. He knew that once he took off the medal, it wouldn't have quite so much significance when he put it back on. The celebratory mood would have faded.
I wonder if Secretariat felt that way about his garland of carnations, after cruising through the Belmont Stakes to earn the Triple Crown.