June 7, 2021

And the winner is . . .

Every year our high school hosts a fun-loving, silly competition:  Mr. (insert name of our high school). 10 contestants compete for bragging rights and a coveted sash. Tank was nominated by his classmates.

The competition was on March 27th. A few days before homecoming. Tank was also nominated for homecoming court. It was a lot to prepare for simultaneously - a strange occurrence due to homecoming being rescheduled from the fall. 

It was hard to keep track of which event Tank was focusing on. 

Tank:  I have to pick a song.

Also Tank:  I need to come up with a funny blurb for my introduction.

Me (scratching  my head):  Wait, didn't we already pick a song?

Tank:  No, that was for homecoming. I need a song to memorize for the Don't-forget-the-lyrics part of the Mr. HS Contest. 

Around the SAME time, his applications for all of the college scholarships were due. I became Tank's official proofreader, suggestion maker, direction giver when it came to writing essays for these scholarships. He'd decided to apply to SEVERAL . . . so I also became his unpaid secretary. 

Tank came home from school one day and announced that he'd decided to end his   retirement. He was going to Irish dance for the talent component of the Mr. competition. *He danced from the time he was 6 years old till he was in 6th grade. This does not imply that he danced WELL*  And he wanted to wear a kilt. 

Shock or not:  we ARE Irish, but we don't own a kilt. 

Enter Facebook marketplace. I shopped and shopped. Fun fact:  many 2nd hand kilts were once worn by men with a waistline twice the size of Tank's 33 inch waist. He wanted the real deal. It had to look impressive. 

I reached out to a woman in St. Louis selling 3 jackets. I asked about sizing and explained that I was also in need of a kilt. Well, her uncle (who I assume had passed away) had a kilt. She dug it out for me. 

My kids tease me for oversharing/becoming familiar with strangers. This woman's first name is my middle name. Her last name? My grandma's maiden name. I shared this 'connection' with her. I described Tank's mission to Irish dance in the Mr. HS Competition. When I wondered about sizing, she admitted that her uncle was 'not a very big man.' Tank was offended when I said this sounded like Tank. Then I showed him a photo of a kilt made for a BIG man and he understood. She thought the jacket was a 42 and since Coach's sport coat is a 44 and too big for Tank, I thought it would be perfect. It wasn't - but the show must go on.

She sold us the whole outfit for a VERY reduced rate. $65. Plus I paid shipping. She said her uncle would be thrilled. 

Me to my kids:  SEE, it helps to get to know people. (My I'll-talk-to-anyone self-promotion earned me some serious eye-rolls)

I considered paying a place to alter the snug jacket. Instead, I added to the sleeve length and moved the buttons. It worked. 

In all the excitement, I failed to take any photos the night of the competition. This is at home, trying on the outfit before I extended the sleeves. Oh, and he had a terrible cold - his nose is bright red.

Shoes:  Tank wears a size men's 15. Irish dance shoes are not made that big. I ordered men's tap shoes on Amazon. I shopped for other shoes, in case those didn't work. I sent Curly to the studio to dig out Ed's old hard shoes (that are in the for sale bin) just in case they'd work. Um, only if we were going to duct tape them to his feet. When an enormous pair of men's ballet shoes arrived from Amazon, I stopped in my tracks. 

Me to Tank (holding up the ballet shoes):  We've crossed a line here. I don't even remember ordering these. This is out of hand.

Coach wondered if he'd ever come home from work and NOT hear us debating what to include in Tank's witty intro, or hear Tank schedule a time for Curly to teach him an amazing dance. The dancing lessons in the basement were something to behold. I was doubled over. 

Curly (frustrated that Tank still couldn't learn the dance after she 'dumbed' it down):  I already changed it to a slide, whip. Just do it three times in a row. How can you not remember that? It's so easy.

Tank:  You're gonna have to go up on stage with me. I can never remember all of this. 

After much convincing, Tank agreed to perform the St. Patrick's Day Set - a basic dance that every dancer learns at a young age and can never forget, because it is engrained in them. We explained to him that to the audience it wouldn't look like a baby step. 

Every night for weeks when I went to bed, I'd hear Tank in the basement memorizing/practicing the song he chose for don't forget the lyrics. 

Show time:  Curly and I went to the show. Two tickets per competitor. Coach was at work. Mini was selling tickets at the door, since this competition was raising funds for the Global Humanitarian group the kids run. She was able to watch from the doorway of the auditorium. Her BFF who was selling tickets too, commented on Tank's dancing talent. Mini doubled over:  HE'S NOT GOOD, AND HE TOTALLY MESSED UP, BUT THAT'S OK. 

When Tank walked on stage for the 'formal wear' dressed in his kilt ensemble, the place went wild. (another kid wore a Teletubby costume). When he came out to dance in the talent portion, I assume that people expected him to fake dance. When he ACTUALLY danced, well - I was watching one of the three judges (teachers at the school). His hands went up to the top of his head in disbelief. To be a tad over-the-top-ish, I created a slideshow of Tank and his siblings in their Irish dancing endeavors to play in the background. It's a little washed out from the stage lights, but you get the idea.

Bottom line:  It was hilarious and entertaining. It was also great to be at an event and to see all these high school kids show their personalities and act goofy. Another positive to the pandemic limitations, the show was taped and shared in a link. I was able to send the link to anyone who wanted to see Tank in action. *I am providing the link here, but no pressure - this is lengthy and it is high school boys trying to outdo each other's goofy antics. Not for everyone. I 've  included a cheat sheet below the link in case you want to jump to a specific part. And yes, I realize you might hear my name and his name, etc. I trust you all NOT to share with Mary Ann. 

To tune in and watch Tank specifically (the formal wear and talent parts are two best highlights/quick snippets):

    * formal wear is 7:30 minutes into the show. 
    * talent (he dances twice in his kilt) is at 38:30
    * don't forget the lyrics (had to continue to sing a song once they turn off the music) is at 1:14:10
    * announce top 3 finalists 1:36:45 -note:  
    * interview questions is at 1:40:15
    * all 10 contestants perform a choreographed dance is at 1:45:00
    * announcing the winner and Tank's speech where he thanks Curly for teaching/reminding him of his dance moves is at 1:47:00

The envelope please:  The other contestants had told Tank backstage that they all agreed to do the show for fun, but they all knew he'd win. To them there was no question. But of course, one never knows. 

Curly and I went nuts when Tank was announced the winner

It was so awesome. 

The guys chanted:  speech, speech. 

Tank's speech (included):  Is Curly in the house? Stand up, Curly. Everyone clap for my little sister who re-taught me how to Irish dance just for this show. 

My next post only a few paragraphs. I'm seeking your advice about a color for our house. Get ready to weigh in. First I show you my kid's actual face, share our real name, and then I show you my house - look at us just getting all familiar.


Nicole MacPherson said...

Oh, congratulations Tank! This is so wonderful! I love it so much. What a great job - and nice job to you, scoring that outfit! I really love that he included Curly too, what a sweet sibling experience.

ccr in MA said...

Ah, what fun!

Martha said...

Awesome, congrats Tank! What fun and crazy times and it's so nice he included Curly in his speech.

Kathy said...

Congrats Tank! Did you notice that the jacket is buttoned wrong in the picture?

Kari said...

I love the outfit. I was surprised to see his face!
I will have to watch the video later. How fun!

Kara said...

This is so awesome! Congratulations to Tank for winning AND for his scholarships!

Ernie said...

Nicole - Thanks - it was a very busy experience, but so fun. Tank and Curly don't have many things in common, she's super sweet and he's super goofy and flippant. It was fun that they joined forces to make this work.

Ernie said...

ccr - It was fun. At long last, to attend a somewhat normal event was joyous.

Ernie said...

Martha - Tank's made a few comments lately about how he's the first Shenanigan to not make 'all conference' for one of his high school teams. Coach and I feel bad that he's noticing this as a negative. We're like: BUT MOST LIKELY THE ONLY SHENANIGAN TO BE NAMED MR. HS. Huge bragging rights.

Anonymous said...

I’m so glad you shared this! So fun! We promise to keep your secrets!! I used your cheat sheet to fast forward to Tank’s clips, my favorite part was the dance moves that went along with the singing. I’m surprised they made them sing so much of the song without music, that would be tough. His kilt outfit and Irish dance skills were fun too, great entertainment!

Ernie said...

Kathy - Thanks, and no I didn't notice but I'm not surprised. I took the pic back in mid March and I may have noticed then. It was such a chaotic time, even getting him to put the outfit on to see how it fit was a chore.

Ernie said...

Kari - Yes, I decided to leave his face in the photo since HEY, ANYONE WHO TUNES INTO THE VIDEO IS GOING TO SEE HIS FACE AND HEAR HIS NAME ANYWAY. Also, I may of may not be getting lazy in my old age. I quick glimpse of the video will give you the overall gist of the night. I should post the videos of Tank learning from Curly in the basement. Talk about entertaining.

Ernie said...

Kara - Thanks. Some parts of the pandemic felt slow and boring . . . not the month of March. Non-stop.

Ernie said...

AM - He told me afterwards that he saw the other guys go out and just try to remember the words and he felt like he could amp his performance up and get more points. He was bummed because they usually have an improv segment and that would've been right up his alley. Another mom suggested he wear the kilt to prom. He would've been so uncomfortable since it was in the 80s that night. I have a feeling that we will see the kilt again. Thanks for watching.

Charlie said...

Awww this is great! Thanks for sharing & well done Tank! He seemed totally at ease during his acceptance speech in that stage, natural born performer!

Pat Birnie said...

Well done Tank! And well done mom for pulling it all together. I tried to watch bits and pieces of the video but seems you’ve had too many views or playbacks. How popular are you guys anyway?! Hoping no one blows your cover - all your readers are just too darn sweet to do that.

Mellie said...

I watched some of the video - how fun! Memories to last a lifetime... Congrats to Tank on the win. He is quite the dancer!

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh my goodness. I love him. I love you for supporting him in every way. What a charismatic character he is!! This was so darn fun and congratulations to your future world leader. or future world comedian!!
Of course I love that you found the kilt/jacket and made a connection---you never cease to amaze.

Ernie said...

Charlie - Thanks. He is a natural performer, which is so funny considering that he was so hesitant about trying something new or being the center of attention as a little kid. He's come a long way. Believe it or not, he still gets a little anxious when he meets new people. So hard to believe for people who know him.

Ernie said...

Pat - Oh shoot - sorry you couldn't see this kid in action. I might have to post the videos of Curly giving him instructions on dancing in our basement. Those are so dang funny. She dumbed it down so much for him and he was like, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS? I was cracking up.

When Tank said he wanted to do Mr. HS, I was like YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO IRISH DANCE TO WIN? He just nodded, like YEP. I was sort of surprised.

Ernie said...

Mellie - Thanks and so true about the memories. I hosted his volleyball team for a pasta dinner tonight and they started telling the coaches (who don't work at the school) about the competition. So funny. He messed up the dance, but no one would know unless they were really into Irish dancing. It was a very forgiving crowd.

Ernie said...

Suz - Thanks - it was quite the exciting event. He could go by Tank the entertainer. Always cracking people up. You would love him. Everyone does.

I need to write a post about the enjoyment I get out of buying used/weird items. I was once a garage sale guru. I sent the woman who I bought the kilt from a few clips of Tank dancing. She loved it and seemed genuinely thrilled that the outfit got another use.

Ally Bean said...

I'm smiling here. What a great story! The outfit is perfect as was Tank's genius in deciding to do this. Glad it worked out for the best, but how could it not with the luck of the Irish on your side! Winning was just the cherry on top of the hot fudge sundae.

Gigi said...

I'm late to the party - but I LOVED the video! Thank you so much for sharing! Congratulations, Tank! He really does know how to play up to an audience.

Ernie said...

Ally - The luck of the Irish indeed. I would've thought that the dancing alone was enough - maybe with a ripped open shirt Lord of the Dance style, but Tank's idea was awesome. Always willing to take it to the next level. The preparations were a hoot. Many nights spent howling in the kitchen as we all weighed in on what he should attempt or choosing the wording to accompany his entrance.

Ernie said...

Gigi - Never too late to get a chuckle at my goofball of a kid. You are so right - he knows how to play to the audience. Funny that as a very young dancer he would tend to get weepy prior to getting on stage. He hated it when I walked away from his stage to line up another sibling on another stage. I'd turn around and he'd be surrounded by perky girl dancers, as he was rubbing his eye trying to avoid tears. He was something else.

Bibliomama said...

Oh, this is fantastic! What a fun way to end the year, and how awesome that Tank got so into it (and thanked Curly properly). The picture was smallish on my computer and I was doubly shocked at the fact that his face was visible and that when you see the stuff on the front of the kilt from a distance it looks like the kilt is cut out in a sort of obscene way. I was confident that it was not, but I was extremely confused for a moment.
It's less bad for high school, but when the kids were in elementary and both played spring baseball I ended up doing a lot of their useless homework at the end of the year because we all agreed it was stupid and their time was better served being outside and active. The end of the school year is such a weird time. Ack, and this is my last one.

Ernie said...

Ali- Yes- you can now spot Tank in a crowd. Guessing if your pic on your screen was small that still won't happen. The front of his kilt had some horse hair thing on it. Not even sure of the official name of it because we've never gone the kilt route before. Nothing obscene - the school requires a full dress rehearsal in advance probably to eliminate this as a possibility. It was so fun and he was all in and motivated. Nicely timed because his commitment to school work was non existent by this time.

I was about to say I never did their schoolwork but then I remembered Tank had to do something dumb on the computer. Called no red ink. He didn't bother for ages and I ended up sitting at the computer making him do it (all grammar rules he was hopeless at). Lots of me getting frustrated till I finally just answered the questions myself.