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I coach a Battle of the Books team at our high school. This is the second year with my current team--I really wasn't going to coach a team again, but, you see, they are legacies. Several of them have older sisters that I coached years ago.
The original team Fluffy (the name is a whole other story).
As freshmen, they didn't even get all the books read before the online test. They could only name six of the authors. I told them they didn't have a chance to move on (I think my exact words were something about a snowball's chance, but my memory is a little foggy).
They scored 11th of the almost 100 teams that took the test last year. Team Fluffy: The Sequel was the only one of the 16 final teams that had not named and spelled correctly all of the authors' names. The organizers had to remind other teams and coaches that the author test is only a tie breaker. They didn't even need it to qualify for the Grand Battle; they answered enough of the test questions.
I told them the other teams must be really bad. I told them they probably wouldn't do very well at Grand Battle if they didn't finish reading all the books.
They asked if they needed to know the authors at the Grand Battle.
So they read some more.
They laughed and made plans as we drove to the battle. Their goal was to beat their sisters' rank of 9th. I had no faith, but it was a nice spring day away from school.
5th. They placed 5th in the state. The only team we have ever taken to the Grand Battle that has placed so high.
Why am I telling you this story? Because I am headed up to school at 7:30pm so these goofy girls can take the first test to qualify for this year's battle.
I have no faith.
And that might be a good thing...