Saturday was the Oregon Battle of the Books State Tournament. My team didn’t make it, but my former school’s team did.
Three of these five started OBOB with me 2 years ago as 3rd graders and leaving them behind was one of the hardest parts of changing jobs. They had worked hard since the regional tournament, almost a month ago and were ready for today’s challenge, along with 23 other elementary teams.
The first round was the pool play round, just like at the regional meet. Three teams in a room and the 16 teams with the highest point totals would go on to the next round. The William Walker Bookmarks sat out the first round, then played each of the two teams in back to back matches. A perfect game is 80 points, but extra points can be earned by “stealing” questions the other team misses. However, 80 points probably isn’t enough to get you into the next round at this level of play. The Bookmarks won both battles, ending with 90 points altogether, which was good, but was it good enough?
We went back to the auditorium where the Sweet Sixteen Round was to be announced.My stomach was tight as they announce the teams. Our name wasn’t called sand wasn’t called and wasn’t called. Then, finally, the last pari announced was Ashbrook (11th seed) vs William Walker (6th Seed). We were in!
We went to the room where we discovered that our moderator was none other than the librarian who had preceded me at William Walker. Could it be a good omen?
The play was exciting, but, ultimately, William Walker prevailed, putting us into the Elite 8. We stayed in the same room with the same moderator for the next battle. At the halfway point, they were tied. The next half was tougher and they lost, marking the end of the road for the Bookmarks.
Some tears ensued, understandable after so many months of hard work and hours of tension and excitement. Within a short time though, jokes were being made, plans for laser tag and ice-cream discussed and they were back to their funny selves.
I feel like I’ve come full circle with the bookmarks. I’ve left William Walker. Next year the three oldest girls will be off to middle school. They already have a plan for their 6th grade team, but for now, they are loping forward to reading whatever they want.