Archive | 6:26 am

The team to beat

11 Mar

Despite the beautiful Spring-like day outside, four students, their families and I spent the better part of the day inside. It was the Regional Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) tournament.

Last year, this same team were the Middle School State Champs!

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This year, we were the team to beat. Maybe you remember that old Avis advertising line, “We try harder”, when they were consistently #2 behind Hertz. Well, we were Hertz. Everybody else was Avis – just a little hungrier than these four.

Our practices the two weeks leading up to the tournament were spotty. One book (Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swendson) seemed to be their nemesis. It was such a weak point that I kept making a joke out of it as I quizzed them, calling it their favorite book.

They started off a little rocky in their first battle, winning the match, but not with a brilliant score. Fortunately, they had boned up on Rebel Mechanics and got every question about that book.  By the end of the 4 battles of pool play, their mojo had kicked in and we were tied for 5th place and assured a spot on the next “Sweet Sixteen” round. Only Sixteen of the 40+ teams got to continue on.

Their “Sweet Sixteen” battle was probably the hardest fought – a come from behind victory that moved them into the “Elite Eight”. That battle was quick and they were a well-oiled machine again, easily defeating their opponents and jumping into the “Final Four” pool. A nice place to be, but only the top three teams get to go to the State OBOB tournament.

By now, six battles in, they were humming. They took an early lead in their “Final Four”  battle and never really looked back (except for that one answer…).

Their final battle for the day was to determine who got first place and who got second. The pressure was off for both teams. Both would go to State. Across the hall, the two teams battling for the third spot were, perhaps, a little more stressed. Despite the certainty of their place at State, my students did a superb job and triumphed.

The end was almost anticlimactic. Some hurried photos, alone and with the top three teams. Two of my students had also qualified for the next level at tour school Science Fair and had to rush off to take make their presentations.

I’ll give them a break next week. We have parent teacher conferences and only three days of school anyway. But, the following week, we will be back to practicing. There are a few new candidates for nemesis book, I have a brilliant idea on how to comb through each book for details,  and we have a title to defend.

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