Sunday, October 03, 2010

If You Win You Lose

We not only survived the first meet of the season, we came home with 26 ribbons, 7 of which were "Best of Event" (i.e. 1st place). So, whoo!

Happily, the hotel stay/transportation of 8 freshmen away from their parents for the first time ever also went well. Just one phone call from the management about the noise around 9:00. We moved everyone from practicing in the hallway to practicing in the lobby, and all was well. We taped the kids in at 10:00, the Team Mom (who's not me) did a round of the hallway around midnight and the two freshmen rooms were the only ones still awake talking.

The judging was all over the place. The host coach lets seniors judge at this meet (being a novice meet), which tends to create some real wild cards in the results. The students perform their pieces just once in front of three judges (as opposed to performing three times in front of one judge each time). I had one kid who, on his three ballots, received a 1/49, a 1/50, and a 4/42 (the first number is the rank from 1-4, the second is the speaker points ((which go from 31-50))). Like I said, all over the place.

The funniest ballot comment was, of course, from a student judge:

3 words for you:

Last year, I discovered that 1) They had discontinued team points; that is, they no longer tallied what school won each meet and 2) Ruth continued to tally that on her own and announced it to her students as if it were still happening universally.

The students kept asking me how the team did overall, so after two meets I asked Ruth what they were talking about. She showed me how to calculate team points and I spent the awards part of each meet frantically tracking every ribbon for every school so I could do the math on the bus ride home to figure out the overall place.

On one hand, it was nice - my principal, the newspaper, and others all understood "We took first!" a lot more than "We got 26 ribbons overall!"

On the other hand, I hated seeing how disappointed the kids were when they got anything less than first. I'm such a non-jock, but I'm working in a scenario where the idea of performing for the sake of the performance (as opposed to an award from judges who hardly ever know what they're doing) is as foreign to them as the idea of performance-as-competition is to me. Plus, I felt bad knowing that the other coaches had decided to abandon team points, so our continuing to rank each school's totals is rather unfair of me.

So I made a decision for this year, and when the students asked "How did we do overall?" as they got on the bus, I said, "Oh! Actually, they've stopped doing team points. Weird, huh?"

They were disappointed, sure, but no one threw a fit (unlike last year). Within a few meets, it should be forgotten at least until State.

I might miss the bragging point, but I'd chalk this up as a win for artistry over sportsmanship.

Next week: Battle Mountain!

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