Posts Tagged ‘Performing Arts’


In life, there are many firsts. Your first kiss. Your first home. Your first best friend. These are the things that, no matter what happens to you, you mostly remember them with fondness. I say ‘mostly’, because I’m not so fond about my first tooth extraction, or my first flat tire for that matter.

Nevertheless, firsts can form lifelong bonds, or great memories, or lead to excellent friendships. Your first steps as a baby leads to millions more in life. Your first breath is an important milestone, to be sure. Other firsts can be embarrassing. Your first fart in front of your girlfriend (it took me all of two dates to get that one out there; as for Anne, it took quite a while longer) The first time you fall off your bike. Your first school dance.

One first, the first time I drove, was almost my last. My poor father nearly had a heart attack. The girl I almost ran over on her bike was left with a lasting impression of my driving skills (or lack thereof). As for driving, I have improved somewhat since then, and luckily I have so far avoided my first accident. That’s a first I’m not looking forward to.

But for me, one of my favourite firsts in life was my first trophy.

You all know by now about my famous velour pants. Well, if you don’t, you should. I was a portly kid in 1975. Well, maybe ‘portly’ is being a little kind to myself. All the same, despite my ‘portliness’, I was fairly active in sports. You also know that I consider myself a good dancer. Or you should know (just watch me shop at the Metro). So, there I was, a portly kid in velour pants, loving sports, and a closet good dancer.

Wouldn’t you know it, up comes a chance to put all these attributes to good use. The CYC youth club I was a member of in Lahr, Germany was hosting a Dance-a-thon, all to raise money to operate. The call went out….raise money, dance for twelve hours straight, and make friends!! How could you lose with such a combination? You can’t!!

Wearing said velour pants, I worked them babies around our building where we lived, hitting everybody up for cash, to sponsor me in the dance-a-thon. I was on FIRE!! It seemed that nobody could say no. I swear, I could’ve sold ice to Eskimos that weekend. It was the first time I had ever attempted to solicit money for anything (ironically, another first), and by golly, I was determined to raise a lot of it. As it turned out, I raised the most. By a country mile!

As we prepared for this dance-a-thon, working out and building up our stamina, I imagined myself as the new Disco King (it was, after all, 1975). If I could have grown a moustache, I would have. Being 11, such was not the case, sadly. Yet, in the mirror, I was pretty sure I could see some hair on my upper lip. Turned out to be sweat, but nevertheless, I think it was hairy sweat.

The stage was set: Saturday night, velour pants (I wore them for the last time that night), bucket full of money, my best joggers, and a gallon of Old Spice, I set out to conquer the world of dance. It was an epic night. The velour helped me dance, although due to the friction, I kept giving people shocks from the static. It was my first dance-a-thon, my first all-nighter, and the first time I asked a girl to dance (upon reflection, a dance-a-thon is as much of a sure thing when it comes to asking someone to dance, as it’s not as if they can say they don’t dance…they’re dancing, that’s the point). There were a lot of firsts.

Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make it to the end. I got phlebitis in my leg from standing too long, and ended up spending a week in the hospital (another first). So, I didn’t qualify for a trophy for the dancing. I was a little disappointed, to say the least. But then, something unexpected happened: I got the call for the awards banquet a couple of weeks later. They said to come, and I was up for an award! They didn’t say what for, just to show up, dressed nicely, to accept it. I went with my father.

And so, on this lovely evening in 1975, dressed in my finest non-velour outfit, sitting with my dad, I was giddy. What kind of award would I receive? There was two tables filled with all shapes and sizes of trophies and medals, yet I couldn’t for the life of me see where mine was. They assured me it was there. And so, I waited, ever so patiently, hopeful that it was a big, honking trophy. One so large that we would need help to carry home.

Well, let’s just say, it wasn’t quite that big. In fact it was so small they nearly missed giving it to me as it was stuck inside some other trophy. But, it finally happened. They called my name. I went and stood in front of all those people, and received my 4-inch high award. They couldn’t give me a trophy for dancing for twelve hours. So they made up an award. It said ‘Bill Gingras: Best Money Maker’

It was my first trophy. And, although it was small, I was bursting with pride.