The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 17, 2014

Mike Pound: A day in the life of a dance dad

Five, six, seven, eight.

Sorry. I’m sitting in a hallway inside Taylor Auditorium at Missouri Southern State University. It’s about 3 p.m. on Sunday, and I am stuck — er — I mean I am happily at one of our 16-year-old daughter’s dance competitions. The hallway I’m sitting in was deserted when I sat down, took out my computer and started writing this column. But before I could get started, one of the 3,495 dance teams at the competition discovered the same deserted hallway and decided to practice its routine.

I don’t know what the dance team’s routine is, but the girls are all wearing old-fashioned female softball uniforms. I know this because the team members are dancing right next to me while their teacher yells: “And five, six, seven, eight. Five, six, seven, eight. This is the greatest day of your lives, and that’s how you will feel when you dance.”

It’s sort of distracting.

But, as distracting as the dance team practicing in front of me was, the whole thing got me thinking. What if I hired the dance teacher to work with me? First of all, the dance teacher was kind of cute, but that’s not the reason I would hire her. OK, maybe it would be one reason I would hire her, but it wouldn’t be the only reason. Nope, I’m thinking I could use someone to put me in a good column-writing mood before I actually start writing. I think it would be helpful if someone (she wouldn’t have to be cute, but it wouldn’t hurt) stood over me while I was getting ready to write and yelled: “Five, six, seven, eight. Five, six, seven, eight. This is the greatest day of your life, and that’s how you will feel when you’re writing your column.”

I’m thinking someone like that could help me win a Pulitzer.

We arrived at the MSSU campus at 7 a.m. Sunday, and, according to my wife, we won’t leave until after 8 p.m.

I think that’s a long time.

The good news is that it’s snowing outside, so I’m not missing out on a warm day that would tempt me to want to spend time outdoors. The bad news is that there are a lot of great college basketball games and a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game on TV. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s unnatural for a male person to spend his Sunday at a dance competition when he could be watching college basketball and major league baseball on TV.

When I’m not sitting in a hallway listening to a dance teacher count, I’m in the auditorium watching girls I don’t know dance until it’s time for daughter Emma, or someone else we know, to dance. When Emma, or someone else we know, finishes a dance, I turn to my wife and say, “OK, when does Emma, or someone else we know, dance next?” And then my wife looks at the dance schedule and answers my question. If my wife’s answer is “in more than 30 minutes,” I say, “I’ll be back,” and I get up and walk out to my spot in the hallway.

To make sure that I don’t miss a minute of seeing Emma, or someone else we know, dancing, my wife sends me texts about every five minutes. The following is a sample of my wife’s texts to me.

“Where R U?”

“R U awake?”

“Why don’t u answer me?”

“They dance in five minutes!”

“They dance in two minutes!”

“Seriously, where R U?”

Eventually, I stop what I’m doing (which means I wake up), go back inside the auditorium and slide into the seat next to my wife just before Emma, or someone else we know, starts dancing.

“There you are,” my wife says. “I tried to text you.”

I then watch Emma, or someone else we know, dance for three minutes and ask my wife when Emma, or someone else we know, dances again, and then I go back out into the hallway.

But it’s really not that bad. You know why it’s not?

Because this is the greatest day of my life.

Five, six, seven, eight.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at mpound@joplinglobe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.

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