No, I don’t really mean that. I actually enjoy them. This morning I adjucated at a tiny, very informal speech contest in a rural seaside town, renowned for seafood. The contestants were all elementary school students, all 22 of them. There were only two judges. One was me, and the other was … the Sonbeam (a friend of the organiser). I have to say that I was impressed by the high standard of the recitations, and I was also impressed by the high turnout of parents. Virtually every mother and every other grandmother showed up, and five fathers came along as well. The atmosphere was rather casual, with several toddlers and babies running around during the speeches, but no-one minded a bit. We two judges were in charge of deciding the five winners, who were all handed certificates, but as far as I’m concerned all of the kids were winners for just taking part. There were various other events, and in between them young parent kept bringing their babies to show to me, which I just loved. Sonbeam provided a jazzy musical interlude. At the end of the show, there was a jump-rope contest: parents versus kids. I was in charge of counting the jumps. It was so much fun! I would’ve done it for free.
On the drive back to the station, the organiser said “I’m looking forward to seeing you both next year,” and so am I.