The newbies whine about the early bus time
The vets just smile and know
7:30 is NOT early on
Computer and projector?
It's rainy and foggy as we head an hour and a half away to our Individual Events State Speech Contest. The murmur of voices provide the music in my head as I try to sleep a bit more before we get there. I'm going to need all the energy I can muster on this very long day. It's be a good 12 hours before I get back home.
Kids keep asking me where this school is. There is no town by that name. Fountain told them "It goes like this. Corn field, corn field, corn field, school, corn field, corn field, corn field." She's right. That's exactly where this K-12 school is.
The middle of nowhere.
But they run a great contest site.
Kids find a spot on the gym floor to dump their essentials (pillow, computers, hair supplies, dress clothes, books) and head off to find their performance rooms and check on times. Although we arrive at 9:15, contest has been in full swing since 8:00am. I check us in and we are ready to rock and roll.
I never try and see all the performances at individual contests. As the only coach, it's impossible. At districts, I don't see any of them. We had 43 events at districts this year and many of them went at the same time. Kids buddy up and make sure those that want an audience have one. Those that don't want an audience have someone waiting for them when it's finished. State works the same way, although I do get into a few rooms to see kids.
My job on contest day is to
fire up the complacent
get ballots to those who forgot to take them,
handle technology issues (yes, the bulb burnt out in the projector before speeches at districts),
hold the kleenex box,
give hugs and high fives
keep track of everyone
make sure we don't leave anything in the gym when we leave
and, oh yea....make treats.
The kids settle in and make camp. Girls are doing hair. Others are practicing quietly in a corner, a friend listening in and making suggestions. There are groups just chatting and laughing, hiding the nerves I know are there.
And, I can't forget Andrew, my ukelele player. He's the social butterfly of the group. He didn't qualify for state, but asked to come along anyway. He says he wants to watch the others. I think he's there for the girls. They flock to him. It must be the uke!
In and out of the gym they go all day.
"When do you go?"
"I think that middle judge hated/loved me."
"Wanna go eat?"
"Are your ratings up yet?"
Squeals of joy, "I got a ONE!"
Brave disappointment, "I got a two. But I'm OK with that."
There's a constant checking on center times as most centers are running ahead (thank heavens).
And then, we are done.
It doesn't seem possible, but all have performed. 18 Division 1 ratings. 7 Division 2's. I'm good with that.
It's rainy and foggy as we head an hour and a half back home. The murmur of voices provide the music in my head as I try to sleep a bit before we get there.
It's been a good 12 hours.