Cheering, Waving, Glowing
Disbelief, Joy, Disappointment, Melancholy
Weeping, Ground-kicking, What-iffing
Now, by no means was my Odyssey of the Mind team a group of losers, but it is interesting, the difference in the ones who win and the ones who don't. While we placed a disappointing 8th in the state, they were still the 8th in the state, something of which they can all be proud. We learned an enormous amount, had a good trip, made it through all the events with no major screw-up, humiliation, or forgotten prop. I just felt so badly for my kiddos when the tears came out. Now I'm a grown-up and an observant realist, and I honestly (once I saw the stiff competition) doubted they'd make it to world. It's a team of 6th graders competing in the middle grade competition, definitely the youngest team, against mostly 8th graders. But they held their own in many ways, and I'm proud of them. But my sweet babies were just sweetly naive enough to hope until the last moment, and they were crushed. Plus, we REALLY did expect better than 8th. But no more of that. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for our travels, etc. You guys are awesome. I'll post our team's winning pictures (remember, still 8th IN THE STATE)
On their faces tears
In my heart I pray for them
No more days like this
But I know for sure
Days like this will come again
Let them always try
Together we learned
As a team we ran forward
Held the trophy high
But then together
Scores were heard that squelched our hope
Next year's dreams still live
I have to say that in spite of the disappointment, the entire experience of OM is such a valuable one for everyone involved. I even find myself thinking 'outside the box' more than ever, and if the kids caught even a drop of that problem-solving shift of thinking, then they're lives will always be better for it. Maybe I'm a corny romantic, but I believe this kind of thing plays a big role in shaping the lives of kids. Sitting in that arena at East Carolina University yesterday with a room full of kids silently begging for someone to give them the go ahead to continue striving for a solution to a problem that is higher, better, more advanced than the next guys? Well, it's the stuff dreams are made of for a teacher like me.
And in that same room sits hundreds of adults, coaches like myself, who GET this and want so desperately for the kids to get it, too. There are a couple of coaches from my community, Marv and Mike, and these guys are the real deal. They're the stuff om legends are made of, and they are shaping the lives of these kids, practice by practice, in a way that maybe they don't even realize. While it's great for a team to win, truly, the entire experience has value on such a higher plane that, with any luck at all, trickles down to the entire family. I was truly in the presence of greatness because kids who problem-solve grow to be grown-ups who problem-solve. Problem-solving is fostered early when kids have an environment to experiment and fail, experiment and fail, experiment and fail, until one day, they hit the magic button or find the perfect words or grow the perfect combination that finds the genetic predisposition for pancreatic cancer or something. And maybe, just maybe, it starts in a room full of OM kids, waiting anxiously to hear validation that out of this outlandish trying pays off somewhere sometime which is all the cause they need to keep at it. And maybe that fuels the coaching greats like Mike and Marv, and I pray it continues to do just that.
Long live OM and coaches like those guys.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.