I’m working on it: Goodness gracious


By Amanda Lee, Web columnist

In a recent turn of events at the 2011 ‘Aha Mele, I think everyone got a bit of a shock.  I’m pretty sure I’m caught on camera with my mouth hanging open as I look at the freshman class with an expression of utter disbelief.

But, even though they won, and we were all still sitting there with our fingers crossed hoping that we would win, and we ended up losing is no reason to be sour. Think of how happy they are…if that helps you….

Perhaps the hardest thing anyone can do in her life is admit she’s wrong, to step down and give whoever won or beat her (like the freshmen) kudos for their efforts. I think it is because we are just naturally competitive. No one likes to lose.

‘Aha Mele may be a competition, but there is more to it than just beating the other classes and winning the ihe. It’s really about perpetuating the Hawaiian culture. It’s about singing your heart out for everyone to hear!

Everyone gets so wrapped up in the competitive aspect; they forget that they’re singing a song about their culture to their princess, Pauahi.

I positively, absolutely tremendously love ‘Aha Mele. Perhaps a little less when I lose, but eventually I come to terms with it, and I find that I did enjoy the event-ihe or no ihe.

My favorite part is watching the audience’s reaction as I sing. I like to see the way their faces change as my class moves through the notes and the words. The sign that I did well is when I can make them cry or get chicken skin (if you’re on the mainland and reading this- goose-pimples).

If you can make them cry and shiver then that means you did a fine job and that you should give yourself a pat on the back.

Fast forward some, and there I am waiting to hear the results. I watch as they horrifically remove that red ribbon from the spear. As the ribbon is untied and falls away, my heart drops, my spirits plummet, and my so-sure-we’re-going-to-win-because-we-rocked mentality crumples.

And then the worst part is when the other class jumps up in their glory to celebrate. Gosh that’s just the worst.

But, you have to remember (I have to remember ,too), it’s not just a competition. Everyone in that room got a chance in the spotlight at some point in time. Maybe it wasn’t at ‘Aha Mele (although I think everyone that sang got a few minutes of fame), but perhaps at sporting events, perhaps at a club, perhaps with your friends. Everyone in that room got to be special at some point in time. And when you were having your little taste of the limelight, there were people there cheering you on and giving you props for your spectacularly amazing superb moment.

Think about that, and then, when you see a freshman, don’t be sour. Give them a high five or a pat on the back. They earned it, they worked for it, and as much as it may sting for you to hear, they deserved it.

Graciousness isn’t my best suit either. I don’t like stepping down and saying, “You know what, you did well, I’m happy for you,” even when at the moment I’m not quite at my hey-I’m-happy-for-you-even-though-I-lost mood yet.

Still, it’s important to give credit where credit is due. Don’t forget that-it’s one of my little life lessons. You’ve got to pay it forward sometimes, even when you’re broken-hearted.