Everybody Wins.

Yesterday I spent the day at a dance competition. Lipstick, hairspray, pins, bobby pins and eyeliner wings that would make any drag queen envious, are just a few of the staples you can expect at any given competition. Adrenaline and nerves were running high throughout the audience and especially through the backstage area. For the first time, perhaps ever, I felt completely detached from it all. Sure, I did some makeup and attempted to help with a few buns. I cheered for the girls that I've watched grow from the pre-school class to gorgeous competitive dancers but it just seemed to so insignificant. 
This lifestyle of competitions taking over entire weekends and subsequently all thoughts for the weeks leading up to and after, used to be the only one I knew. I would rehearse dances in my head in the middle of classes (sorry Mom,) pack my bags, check and recheck that everything was there daily and then over-analyze my performance after. 
I sat in the audience yesterday and thought about how consuming these competitions were for me. All I wanted in high school was to dance. I really thought that if I put my mind to it I could make it a career. Today, I am still auditioning and trying to make a career of it but I can also see that in high school, grades and my future should have been my priority. Fortunately, I'm not upset and I wouldn't change the experience for anything. Dancing has always been something that I could turn to when I was having a difficult time and god knows I had plenty in high school. 
After dancing comes awards, obviously. For anyone unfamiliar with the dance world a quick rundown- you compete against yourself. Every dance receives an individual score based off costume, choreography and technical execution. Then, based off of that score and in comparison to other scores of other dances in the same age division, high score awards are awarded. 
These days, especially yesterday, EVERYONE and I do mean everyone receives some sort of high score award. Dances which were placed in a category entirely on their own were still announced as "first place in the category!" Tell me what this is teaching kids. Nothing.
I can still remember going into the last competition of the season in fifth grade. We had won just about everything at every other competition we had previously been to and surely, we all had this one in the bag. Wrong. We all got cocky, we didn't perform the way we should and I will never forget walking up to accept that silver prize. Nothing more. You better believe that I never let myself get cocky again and I worked my butt off every year until I graduated. 
These days, that wouldn't happen. That same performance would place in some manner and I would leave thinking that doing the bare minimum was just enough. What bothers me most is that in the real world you don't get a job with a competitive salary by doing the bare minimum. You work your butt off to get what you deserve and unfortunately that may not be enough. So again, what are we teaching these kids?
Moral of the story: I'm getting old and kids are getting soft. 

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