Friday, February 28, 2014

The Odyssey

So, I coached another Odyssey of the Mind team even though every volunteer position I have ever taken on has ended up being a total nightmare.

This was a good reminder of that.

I love the kids. I always love the kids. I rock with kids even if they sometimes drive me crazy.

But the janitor threw away all of their materials, set pieces, and props. I had to chase a bunch of people around to get the team officially registered. Many of the meetings were extremely frustrating and felt unproductive because working with kids, on a tight schedule, in a program where they have to do everything without help is some frustrating and unproductive shit some days.

But we persevered. There was talk of forfeit when their stuff got tossed, but as a team, they voted to rally. There were thoughts of just...not chasing people around to get the team registered and to go ahead and let the blame of not being able to compete fall on those who needed chasing. There were (brief) moments of thinking maybe just letting them fail might be a lesson in itself--a lesson on the benefits of productive behavior and team work.

But, man, I love them. Frustrating and all. They're so clever and funny and determined and creative.We kept going. Sometimes I drank after the meetings but we kept going.

Our last two practices were this week. The first one, I was convinced they were doomed. It just didn't go well. The odds had been stacked against them and despite their best effort, they just seemed unlikely to experience any great success and barely seemed like they even cared. The second meeting, they pulled it together. In a remarkable way. I felt so much relief. I knew they could do it.

little kid is on another team coached by a friend and we have commiserated about the trials and tribulations of this labor of love. little kid's skit is hilarious and he has a big part in it. Big Kid is also a huge part of his team, both in performance and in leadership.

The competition is all day tomorrow, in a city about an hour away.

Big Kid started barfing tonight.

As I held a bucket for him to puke into, mind racing with how my team was going to come back from this, little kid woke up and started puking.

Mr. Ashley rushed to his side with another bucket and we looked at each other over the hunched backs of our vomiting children and shook our heads and then, inexplicably, because what the hell else could we do, we laughed.

I feel like I might barf, but I don't know if that is because I feel like I've done all of this for nothing or because I'm next. I have all of their props and paperwork and I absolutely have to be there, regardless of what happens. Even if I have to bring a barf bag.

What are the statistical odds? Really, I'm asking, I don't math.

My poor kids. All 14 of them.

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