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30 September 2006

Brain Drain

Today was our school's turn to compete on Brain Game , the academic quiz show tournament for freshmen and sophomores put on by our local CBS affiliate in Raleigh, WRAL. It was also my first time as the solo "coach", though I've been a sort of co-coach the last two years. If this were college football, I'd already be on the hot seat - we came in third out of three, with a whoppin' -20 in point totals. Ah, well.

My three starters, plus an alternate, were all doing this for the first time, so perhaps they will fare better in the spring after this experience, as did last year's squad. They actually answered more questions correctly than our team last fall, but they also missed more questions, for which they were penalized. But even though they felt slightly humiliated, I think everyone had a great time.

Some more than others, however. You see, one of the teams had these two guys as coaches who saw themselves as Coaches, capital "C". Let's just say that the cup of testosterone overflowethed. Nice guys, but insanely intense about this stuff. After we met they asked how often we practiced, and I truthfully told them that we had not really practiced at all (my team members are all in band, or cheerleading, or volleyball, or two out of the three, so I'm lucky to get them, period). Well, they informed me, they practiced at least twice a week, and traveled throughout the year, from their home near Charlotte, to different competitions. That's great guys, really. Did I mention mention hog-farming is the top industry in our county?

Before we started, they kept calling huddles to discuss strategy, and in between segments they would storm up to the podium and speak with their kids. Pep talks, or halftime adjustments? You make the call. As they sat directly on my my left, I could see via peripheral vision that both of them were wildly fist-pumping after each right answer their kids got. And things really reached critical mass when one of them stormed the judges table during a time-out to successfully get points deducted from another team.

No matter. Their kids, and my kids, got squashed by that other team, a trio of private school preps from Rocky Mount. Their coach was laid back as could be, but the kids themselves were hyper-achiever types, and one of their girls, who annoyed the snot out of my team, was named (I'll alter it slightly) Emma V. That is her first name: Emma V. One assumes she goes on to have a middle and last name; then again, why would you need them when you are the stylish, the fashionable, the brilliant Emma V ? Oh, and my wife was totally irritated with the moms from this team, because she said they would do those prim little mom claps, and pat each other rapidly on the knee, whenever one of their children got an answer.

What's the lesson here, students? There are two: 1) There is no better way to salvage something from a last place, negative point loss than to viciously mock the two teams (and their entourages) that beat you , and 2) I'll take my salt-of-the-earth crowd over the fist-pumpers and knee-patters any day.

So nyyyahhh.

1 comment:

middleagedhousewife said...

Winston Salem has the only H(igh)
A(cademic) G(ifted) school component. Two of my sons were on the opposing team. I don't know if the mothers did the knee pat thing -something obviously picked up during a mall trip or tag along with mom's junior league group - well, their were no mothers there for the other team. Their coaches (plural)did storm the judges' table tho and often. Many questions were 'vague' and open to interpretation and/or more than one answer. Points were adjusted. We came in second out of 2 teams, lost by 3 pts. ugh. Not only did our coach NOT storm the table even once but it is still a topic of conversation if she actually slept thru the whole thing. Tactics and a game plan? 'never entered her mind.
It was, like you said, a good experience and the kiddos had a reasonably good time, considering. And yes, we trash talked for days about the 'elites.' They correctly answered loads of difficult questions but the ones they missed, well, the answers they came up with were hilarious. When they were wrong, they were BADLY wrong and it was funny as s***!

Sister Better-Than-You, over and out