The Dispute

I could not make it to the jump rope contest. Thad to go to a wedding. Buc told Jo and Kit I would speak to them after it was over to see how the Jumping Stars did.

But that is not what happened. They rang me.
“Mark?” Kit said. “Hey, it’s Kit Winter.” “Hey, Kit! How did it go?”
“Well, not quite as well as we had hoped,” said Kit.

“We made it to the last round, but when we did the flip, we sort of muffed it when my foot got caught in the rope.”

‘Aw, I said, “that’s too bad. What place did you get?”

“Fifth? Fifth is good, Kit! That’s two spots better than last time!”

“Well,” Kit said, “don't tell Jo that fifth place is cool. She’s here, and she wants to tell you something.”
Jo got on the line.

“Fifth is no good!” she said. “We need to keep practicing. We need to do better tricks. I need to land the flip!”

This is classic Jo. She is intense and hard on herself. She always wants to be better.

Jo went on. “It’s a bummer. But I felt like we had to tell you that we can't be in Kids Excel after all.”
“Why not?”

“Fifth place is not bad—but not bad is not the same as excelling,” said Jo.

“I think fifth place is good. I think you told me there were a hundred jumping squads in the contest.”

“One hundred and ten,” said Jo. “But still, fifth stinks. We can do better! And when we do, then you can run something on us in Kids Excel. But not until then.”
I had to smile.

“Hey, Jo,” I said, “you are not the boss of me! Kids Excel is my mag. I get to say who gets to be in it. I happen to think that you and Kit and the rest of the Jumping Stars do excel.”

“Please don’t run a profile of us yet!” Jo said. “Wait until we excel!”

“I'll think it over,” I said.
Jo hung up.

I did think things over. I think that Jo and Kit and the Jumping Stars are cool. I don’t care that they came in fifth place. Jo is awesome, and they all train so hard, that I bet they will not be in fifth place the next time they enter a contest.

So here they are—the Jumping Stars!
(Jo Palmer, if you are looking at this, don't be upset at me. I can tell when kids excel. It’s my job!)