Remember the cereal commercials where the older brother says, Let Mikey, try it - he'll eat anything! And he does! Well, teenagers, especially freshmen high school students may be too young to have ever seen the commercial, but they certainly can act like Mikey.
This is soil judging season. People dig pits with backhoes and students all over Indiana evaluate the soil. You might be surprised what they find sometimes- from old lakebeds to sandboxes, all in Indiana.
To evaluate a soil, you need a pit about 3 feet wide and four feet deep, often dug 15 to 20 feet long for contests or practices. I am a volunteer and I help coach two soils judging teams. Most of the members are junior high students or freshmen. The other night at practice, I couldn't believe what I saw. One of the girls, for who knows why, other than because she could, had her hands on one side of he pit, her feet on the other side, and was walking like an inchworm, her back in the air, from one end of the pit to the other.
There was incentive for her not to fall. The pit had about a foot of water in it. Fortunately, she's an athlete, and she made it to her destination. Even more fortunate was the fact that no one else tried it. Leave it to freshmen!
Probably the funniest incident in soil pits happened during practice for the state contest many years ago,. My son, Daniel, now Indiana FFA state treasurer and soon to be a Purdue freshman in 2010, was a sixth grader. We were judging in the rain near Terre Haute. We had a couple pits left, and it was nearing dark time. Daniel stepped out into one pit and it was an absolute quagmire. He sank faster than an old cowboy in quicksand in the old Westerns.
Tow of our bigger senior members grabbed him from the bank- one on one side, one on the other. It was all they could do to lift him out. There was this sucking sound, and he came free, up and out. But his boots stayed behind!
It took another member 10 minutes to pry his boots loose with a shovel form the bank without getting tangled up in the mire himself.
One of the contest officials assigned to watch practice holes just stood and shook his head. I'm sure it was a sight he'll never forget.
Let's hope rainy spells are over for this fall. May judging be dry at the state contest on Halloween Day. And let's hope for no black cats wondering around near the holes, either.
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