Mr Furlong and I have never seen a duck race. I presumed you threw a whole pile of numbered ducks into a river – say off a bridge – and then caught the winner as it passed under the next bridge. All would be fair. The winning duck is the first at the winning post.
But the recent duck race was very peculiar. It wasn’t really anything I imagined.
It was held in a tiny, winding, rocky stream in a local farmer’s field. Some adults dumped three hundred or so yellow numbered ducks into a small pool. There was an immediate duck-jam. The kids got sticks and thwacked ducks through the small trickle into the next pool where the next lot of excited kids thwacked them further downriver. So the duck that was closest to the outlet of the first pool, got thwacked first at every duck-jam that continued on and on for the length of the field.
All the also-ran ducks got thwacked as soon as they got stuck anywhere and eventually all of them passed the finishing line
The duck race was mostly duck-jams and thwacking. But it was a lovely sunny day and the kids had fun. And a good deal of money was raised.
No kid learned that a real race, doesn’t allow for cheating. And that some ducks in a duck race SHOULD get stuck somewhere as a matter of bad luck. And that the winner of a race is the one that, despite all odds, comes first.