In eventing, if you’re over 21 you’re considered a senior. Erin Critz has a good laugh over that one.
A few days ago Stephanie and I were doing trot-sets lollygagging around the track at Dragonfire. We were discussing our plans for Camelot this coming weekend and the remainder of the season when she paused abruptly. Shock and utter disbelief crept in to her voice.
“…ohmygod. Erin. We’ll be showing in the SENIOR division. Erin. No. Seriously. We are ADULT AMATEURS.”
I kept as serious of a face as I was able to manage.
“Yes. We are adult amateurs. Showing in the Senior division.”
And then we both absolutely lost it. We probably spent a good five minutes laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Admittedly, I almost fell off from laughing so hard and that caused a secondary laughing jag and a fit of the giggles that continued on for quite a while.
As a teenager in Hunter/Jumper land of the late 90s “aging out” was both something to be excited about and something to dread. There was an undercurrent of pressure to have a successful “junior-career”. You had a very finite amount of time to go hard and chase points before you were not eligible for any of the significant medals. I remember watching friends be not-so-secretly thrilled as it came time for some of the stronger competitors in their divisions to age out. On the flip side, I felt a twinge of jealousy when they did. For me there was an interesting sense of approaching freedom from that pressure. I also remember being particularly excited that I would be able to wear my lovely (and useless) hunt cap. It had no chin strap (or protective qualities) and I was going to look SO COOL. (Oh how times have changed, eh?)
In all honesty, there is a unique experience in checking the box for the Senior division for the first time. From the expression on her face, I know that the realization hit Stephanie in the exact same way it hit me when I went to my first show as an adult. It was a strange moment that had a feeling of liberation, loss and this weird sense of somehow “getting away with something” — kind of like when I was 19 and ordered a virgin strawberry daiquiri and the bartender missed the virgin part or somehow I managed to get in to a club without being carded.
Seeing Stephanie experience that moment has rekindled some of my own amusement at being in the Senior divisions. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to hit the early-bird special down at the diner. If I hurry I should be back just in time for the Murder She Wrote marathon on TBS. Oh, and get off my lawn.
Go Team DF. Go Senior Division. Go Eventing.
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