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Court of Honor
Court of Honor
I’m pretty sure anyone else, anyone else, would be better at this than me. Some people thrive in the spotlight. You think I might be one of those people? Wrong. There I am, repeating names over and over again, just so I can reassure myself I won’t butcher them, standing in the middle of the park, pacing until I get dizzy. One thing that doesn’t help my stress is the fact that I have to host an event soon. Fun.
I get it. Since I’m a Scout (which used to be called a Boy Scout if that helps clear things up), I am supposed to be great at these things. Doing amazing things like becoming the next president, bringing the whole community together, and being the only person you can count on if you get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Pretty easy standards to be compared to, right? But as usual, I’m just a fifteen year old girl, who happens to be in a club that used to be for boys, that will do almost anything to get myself out of awkward situations. Hence the reason why I freak out about running this event.
As a kid who wants to earn my Eagle rank (the highest rank you can get in Boy Scouts of America), I have to earn a required badge called Communications. This means I have to organize a giant event and host it, which is pretty nerve racking when you’ve never done that before.
Today’s the day that I have to host a “Court of Honor”, which is a pretty big deal. Tyler (my brother) and Dakota (a friend of mine), will also be helping out. By the way, a Court of Honor is an event held every six months, where every Scout (and their family) come together to have food and congratulate every Scout on their achievements. For my role, I have to say everyone’s names, and list the badges that they have earned.
“Do you want to practice?” says my mom. She comes up to me holding out a paper. I’m guessing with the opening statements…Great, another thing I have to add onto my piling list of worries. We’re already at Wedgwood park, the pavilion has the picnic tables already set up beneath it. The park is near my old middle school, across a little bridge over a small river. The pavilion seems to have some room, but not a lot. It's a good thing everyone is bringing their own chairs, I think, trying to imagine how many people could even fit in there, since everyone has to social distance. There are even small tables set up near the main ‘stage’ area where I’ll be doing most of my talking. The tables hold the badges and other achievements to be handed off when the time comes. The rest of my family is running around, putting everything in place, making sure everything is right.
“Yes, please!” I practically shout, knowing that my anxiety would be sky high if I don’t at least practice beforehand. Why didn’t Mom give this to me ahead of time like a week, or two? I pace more, muttering the words on the paper to myself.
A few cars pull up, their passengers come out holding their chairs. My heart does a somersault, knowing that this is final, there’s no turning back now. Somehow, I stop freaking out and start focusing, making sure I’m thinking clearly. I know that I have three options at this point. First, I can run away, go home and try to ignore the fact that I will be considered a quiter, evidently looking bad if I ever want to be an Eagle scout. Secondly, I can give up and make a complete fool of myself by choking on my words. Or third, I can suck it up, try my absolute best, and realize that this is the best option, since it doesn’t lead to a long-term consequence.
“Hey! What am I supposed to do?” I look up and Dakota is walking towards me in her uniform. To be honest, she looks bored. How can people be so calm!
“Oh, hi Dakota!,” I say, “So, my mom has a paper with everything you need to read. You can practice that if you want.” I look down at my shoes, not really knowing what else to say.
“OK” she replies after a while, walking over to my mom. The increase in noise brings my attention back to my event. By now, everyone is here, setting up their chairs into rows so there is an aisle in the middle. They are talking to each other, and some are even helping set up some flags that are going to be used as decoration.
After a while, everyone is seated, but still talking. “Everyone, we’ll be starting now!” The crowd stops and stares at me as I shuffle in front of the aisle and bring my paper to my face, already feeling my face burning up behind my mask. I start off weak, but gain more confidence along the way, knowing that my voice didn’t crack trying to talk.
After the opening, we go into handing off the badges everyone earned, which means the difficult task of trying to get everyone’s last names right, which is pretty hard sometimes.
I list off the first few names but of course I had Dakota’s, one of the harder last names to pronounce. “Up next is Dakota Gir- Grig… Girgo-, up next is Dakota.” I feel like I want to scream! I think, How could I be the only person to mess up someone’s name! I continue and after a while, I finally get the hang of it. After I’m done with the last name, I just want to run around and yell, I did it! Instead, I walk proudly over to the tables where the rest of my helpers stand.
An adult starts beginning his presentation, so Mom comes over to me. “You did great,” she says, giving me a reassuring smile.
“Thanks, Mom,” I reply, smiling back and feeling the pressure from today falling off my shoulders. After the event, I look at the crowd as they start to leave in small groups, talking to each other before they go. The weird thing is… that wasn’t so bad.