I have been M.I.A. at the state speech tournament for the past three days. After a whirlwind of competition laughs, and tears (and 10 blessed hours of recovery sleep) we are home and getting back in the swing of things. The cover photo for this post was the team. We are sitting at Fairview Farms Restaurant enjoying a delicious meal of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn fritters. We had just gotten through an 8 hour day of rounds, but you couldn’t tell from this picture. You can’t tell that they are stressed, tired, and worried about Saturday finals because it wasn’t about that for them. All they wanted to do was be together- to laugh, celebrate, and rejoice in how far they had come.
This group brings tears to my eyes. When you talk about a team becoming a family, you picture these kids. Every round, every competitor had supporters from the team their watching them. Every contestant was cheered and congratulated, and every one of them felt good walking out of their rooms
Emma, Isaac, and Hailey before they started competing
Our Performance in the Round team made State finals. Our Individual Events competitors did not. There were not hard feelings- just love for one another. These kids truly embody what it means to love what you do. Sure, they wanted the shiny hardware just like everyone else too, but they were just so grateful to be there as their primary focus.
We may not have gone home champions, and we may have had all the worst of circumstances go wrong during our PIR’s performance (including a metal semi-truck loading door opening and closing and two balloons being intentionally popped by other audience members) but we didn’t let that stop us. We let that fuel us for next year. We love what we do; we love the kids we work with. We are spreading the good work and the hope for a better speech community with each passing day. This activity isn’t about winning and losing. It is about improving and growing- learning how to interact with people and present yourself (even in the face of adversity). I am so proud of this team- for how they handled themselves, how they interacted with each other, and how they presented themselves to the state. I am so excited to see what the 17-18 season has to offer.