I'm blessed to have folks who take us all on a week-long family vacation every summer. Odd-numbered years we visit the ocean. Even-numbered years we trek deep into the wilds of Appalachia. The Bluegrass State is the setting for this next story...
The name of the competition was simply entitled "The Squeeze Box."
A device vaguely resembling a Middle Ages torture chamber was waiting in the center of the concrete slab. And, as the park ranger calmly explained, it was designed to test out how tight of a spot you could squeeze through. It is often employed in caving training, used to gauge just how thin of a passage you can reasonably expect to pass through once you actually are in action.
|Waiting for the competition to begin.|
|Dos was chomping at the bit to have her shot.|
The contest worked this way: Each child would make an attempt to navigate the 8-foot long passageway at a specific height. Those who succeeded would proceed to the next round, when the height would be lowered again slightly and everyone would go through again.
Think: limbo for the non-claustrophobic!
|Uno attempts to pass Round 1.|
|Dos works the small space in an effort to pass Round 2.|
|Success for Dos in Round 2!|
|Tres had to be evacuated from the chamber in Round 2.|
As each round came and went, the number of contestants shrank until only a handful remained. Uno and Dos were among the finalists. At the 6" mark, Uno had to bow out along with several others. She received a round of applause, and sat down satisfied that she had made her best effort.
Dos and one other adventurous (and thin!) girl were the only ones left standing for the 5 1/2" inch round.
The buzz around the picnic area was palpable as the finalists prepared to enter the Squeeze Box at a seemingly impossible height. The park ranger announced that this dimension would be the lowest ever recorded at the park. It was hard to imagine how a human skull could even pass through a spot that tight. And, that was indeed the case for the first of the two finalists. She gracefully retired from the competition after only a few seconds.
When the moment of truth arrived, Dos passed from one end of the chamber to the other like a greased pig. The outcome was never in doubt, and as she triumphantly emerged with a huge grin on her face, she was presented with a prize shirt, congratulations from the park staff and a rousing applause from all the observers!