Boredom affects different people in different ways.
Many area students are bored out of their minds as they are unable to hook up with their friends, practice everything from track and field to the clarinet and maintain some kind of sanity in their lives.
That’s where Grain Valley High School associate principal and former activities director Mike Tarrants is trying to lighten the load, bring a little levity and normalcy back to Eastern Jackson County through a variety of fun and unique challenges.
“Well, I guess you could say it all started out of boredom,” Tarrants admitted. “I’d just finished a video chat with the high school’s administration team and we’re all trying to come up with some ideas to connect students and their friends, teachers and coaches.”
So he came up with Tarrants’ Daily Challenge, a light-hearted series of challenges that made him a viral sensation locally on Twitter (@Tarrants_GVHS).
“I look forward to Mr. Tarrants’ challenges every day,” said three-sport senior standout Seth Dankenbring, who has participated in each challenge. “They’re fun. And they help you connect with other people because Mr. Tarrants will challenge someone, then you do the challenge and you someone and before long, everyone at the high school is challenged.”
Tarrants has even challenged former students and coaches, who are now part of this challenging series that has taken on a life unto itself.
“It’s become a lot bigger than I ever thought it would be,” Tarrants said. “We started with the Soft Shell Taco Smash and went on from there. Everyone seems to be having a good time with it, and that’s what I was hoping for.”
The Soft Shell Taco Smash was followed by:
• Mud Hole Madness (a favorite of everyone who dove through a mud hole)
• Pickle Juice Chug
• Thankful Thursday (in which you thank those who are special in your life)
• Saltine cracker speech
• Bat spin challenge
• Pet appreciation day
• Syrup guzzle
• Workout challenge
• Drive/block challenge (in which linemen have to push a vehicle down the street or parking lot)
• Powdered doughnut challenge
• Make a bowl of cereal in your mouth challenge
• Chubby Bunny Marshmallow Stuff
“Not surprised Mike would have powdered doughnuts at his home,” quipped assistant football coach Erik Stone, who has accepted every challenge along with the members of his family.”
Stone’s son Parker, a member of the Eagles football team, adds, “I think the Tarrants Challenges have been really fun to do. They definitely help keep your head off of the bad stuff going on and it gives you something to look forward to every day.
“My favorite one was probably the spin the bat challenge. It was really funny watching everyone hit the ball when they were dizzy. I think it was a really good idea to do these challenges because it really gives everyone a reason to smile every day and something to do everyday when there’s really not much to do.”
Senior Seth Dankenbring agrees, adding, “It just gives you something to look forward to every day. I think I’ve done most of them, and we’ll all talk and see which one is your favorite or which one was really challenging. It’s just fun.”
Tarrants is happy that his daily challenge is spreading outside of Grain Valley.
“I like it that my former players, like Zach Dudley, who is now a teacher and football coach at Fort Osage, are taking part in the challenges,” Tarrants said. “Everyone seems to be getting connected and having fun, and that’s why I started it in the first place. And I’m going to keep going as long as I can come up with a new challenge.
“My wife is helping me with a few, and if anyone has some suggestions, let me know.”