Things are catawampus today at Capitol View Elementary School.

You know, “not lined up or not arranged correctly; askew, awry.”

It’s Field Day, and boy, did they hit the jackpot weather-wise, but that’s not unusual. Schools all over town have already had their annual Field Day, or soon will.

It’s the catawampusness that gives Capitol View’s eventful day a unique twist.

Staff are encouraged to park any which way in the lot at the west edge of the campus. As in straddling the yellow lines. Or up on the sidewalk. Or on the grass. Encouraged? Put it this way – you get a “parking ticket” if you insist on staying between the lines.

The few cars that did on Thursday morning had oversized “tickets” plastered on their windshields within minutes, notifying their drivers they would have to pay the “fine” of five extra minutes of recess duty.

“We have had awards in past years for such things as most spots taken or most wheels off the ground,” according to CV office manager MaryLee Martz. “We have had vintage military vehicles, horse trailers, emergency vehicles and RVs.”

No one in the front office seems to know how far back the tradition goes. “I know nothing,” said principal Marsha Kerper before quickly ducking back into her office. The consensus among current staff is that Catawampus Day preceded any of them.

First grade teacher Rachel Riley made sure the beat went on this year.

“All it really takes is the nudge of a staff e-mail reminder,” she said. “Catawampus Day is just a fun way to share a laugh with our neighborhood.”

But it can cause some confusion among the uninitiated.

“We did have a substitute teacher show up this morning who wondered what is going on,” Riley laughed.

Really, when you think about it, out of 180 school days, if only one is catawampus and that one is by design, it’s been an excellent year.

Break out the hula-hoops and crank up the boombox!

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