Do you remember doing fundraisers in school, like selling chocolate bars at football games? Yeah, I don’t like them anymore, either. I mean, my younger antisocial self didn’t like them in the first place, but one incident really set the bar for my dislike of them and completely stripped the fun out of fundraisers.
Back in high school, I used to play volleyball. Like most of the teams, we only got so much through school funding and had to earn the rest on our own, which we chose to do by selling chocolates at the football games. Creative, right? Well, everything was fine outside the gate. With the comfort of my teammates, I was able to overcome some my social anxiety, and we sold a good bit to incoming guests. Yay! Once the guests got settled in, our coach suggested that we go sell chocolates in the bleachers.
This might be a good time to mention that I don’t exactly fear heights… I fear what’s holding me at heights. Ferris wheels? We’re good. Football bleachers rising into the heavens with just a single rail to save my life against a downwards tumble? Not so good. I’m slightly panicking now; but hey, I can just stay at the bottom rows… right?
My coach noticed that I was favoring the first ten rows and was completely ignoring the rest of the guests with no remorse whatsoever. She kindly suggested that I tried selling chocolates up higher, to which I glanced frantically around wondering, one, where the heck are my other teammates, and two, why can’t you tell them to climb this deathtrap!?
I was not good with confrontation, so I just pouted my lip and began climbing with a vice grip on the climbing rail. If I don’t look down, I should be alright… right!?
I climbed without much consciousness as to how high I was going. I’m sheepishly peeping to my left and right asking if anyone wanted some chocolate, to which I either got a kind head shake with the subtle hand shoo gesture or the complete avoidance of eye contact.
Once I made it so far up, a young girl came rushing out of her lane with absolutely no concern for the consequences of physics and gravity. She accidentally bumped into my shoulder during her rush down the stairs. It wasn’t a harsh bump, but it was enough to push me back a little, causing my body to turn as I catch my balance, and to witness a very steep hill beneath me… I had climbed a lot higher than I wanted to, and my brain went into full-throttle panic mode!
In the middle of a crowded football stadium, I dropped to my knees and began wailing uncontrollably as if I had just been Spartan-kicked out of a flying plane with no parachute! I was praying and screaming and crying and hugging a cold metal railing for my dear life!
I sold all of my chocolate that night.
Everyone within a good five-meter radius was helping to pass dollars and chocolates back and forth to each other just to get me to stop crying and to get me back to the ground.
Once I gained my sanity back, I went straight to my coach to give her my money pouch. Before I could gain my voice to tell what happened, she glanced into the pouch and exclaimed, “Whoa! This is amazing! Whatever you’ve been doing, keep it up!”
Um… no. I’m going home.
Looking back, despite how embarrassed I was that night, I do have to appreciate the outcome. I still sold the most chocolate, despite the how-to of doing so, and we were able to get better equipment for practice and matches. Although things may not go the way we planned, if we still make it to the goal, then we should learn to appreciate how we managed to get there in the first place.