Sophia competed in her first feis (Irish dance competition) as an Advanced Beginner, the first group you have to place out of to move into the next level (Beginners and "first feis" age out of their groups). The last feis she attended, she was in a group of 6 and came in 5th in one dance and 4th in another. This time, she was in a group of 12, and I don't know where she placed--the folks who ran it only listed the top 4 on the results page. Somewhere below the top four, which is what we all expected considering her relative expertise and practice time.
But what was interesting to me was that she was just fine. No disappointment at all. I had told her she was in a group of 12 and that many of the girls had been dancing a full year (or more) longer than she had. I explained that this category, she would stay in until she came in first, second, or third in a given dance. She knew this--the neighbor down the street attends the same school she does, and has been an Advanced Beginner for a whole year already.
The only thing that bothered her was that they only listed the top 4--she wanted to know if she was, say, 7th, or 12th. It might have made a difference to her if so, but somehow I doubt it. I think she just likes putting on the outfit and curling the hair. Showing up and dancing. Which is why we're doing shows this spring (no competition, just dancing as a school).
What strikes me about this laid back (clueless? lackadaisical? dreamy?) response is that not very long ago, this was the girl who would not compete, even in a game of checkers or junior monopoly. "I don't play 'winning' games," she would tell her friends or their moms. She likes cooperative play. A feis is all about "winning" games. Maybe she just tunes it out.
I'm glad of that, let me tell you. I've watched girls throw tantrums or act like beauty pageant winners. Not cool. At age 7, better to be clueless and happy.