For four years in the Oakview Elementary School, I participated in Field Day. This was near the last days of school, after achievement tests, end of year tests and textbooks handed in to the teacher. Our class rooms competed against each other with sack races, relay races and the big tug of war, with a thick twined rope.
The day usually was hot, spent all day outside. I believe we even had a picnic lunch and I know we had the frozen school sundaes that we only got on special occasions. Vanilla ice cream with either strawberry or chocolate syrup in a plastic cup and paper lid proved a hard decision.
Miss Erb's class was the tug of war champion of the school, at least they had been the year before I started in third grade. Everyone gathered to cheer or boo us. The fourth graders who had been in Miss Erb's class the year before yelled right beside us to not lose this tournament. They loomed so big next to us. Would we let them down?
In the heat with sweat, we pulled against the other teams. Feet gained some ground, then lost an inch. Mouths opened that we could do it, "Pull, pull." The grass proved slippery. More skidding. Rope burned my hand, but I couldn't let go, not with those kids believing in us.
Finally, the rope eased and we dragged the other classes to the ground. We kept the title for Miss Erb. Red, stinging hands all around, but smiles overcame the pain. Back slapping from those fourth graders and cheers.
I wonder if they have tug of war anymore? Probably not called that, I'm sure. We bounded that day that followed us through to fourth grade and cheering on the next class.