Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cheaper by the dozen-and-a-half

Superintendent Luna would be proud of the deal scored with two Blaine County School District teachers today! Lynnet and I managed two bus loads of 18 students from Kindergarten to 12th grade with no compensation excepting the satisfaction of teaching kids how to behave, interact with one another, manage their money and memories ("Put your wallet in your pocket!"  "Who's wallet is this?"), cooperate and develop consensus, look after one another, and to not drown each other in hotel pools.  It certainly was an earned day, though well below baby-sitting wages!

We arrived at the Marriott Courtyard with hungry high schoolers and pool-eager elementary/middle schoolers and decided to let the high schoolers go to the Mongolian BBQ, nearly ten blocks away.  Meanwhile, the hotel pool had the Wood River children flooding the room with their energy and bodies.  It was as if the scene was a pixelated YouTube video that the pre-teens were starring in.  With the ruckus in the pool room, I snuck  away to set up a chess board and arrange to feed the roiling masses of kids.  I ordered Pie-Hole Pizza - to be delivered.

By nine o'clock the high schoolers were back and as lethargic as a herd of cows meandering through the lobby - full and wanting to go to bed though not wanting to admit it.  The middle schoolers ravaged a pizza and a half, and the elementary kids tiredly forced the nutrients in.

Max sat down at my chess board to play while Dylan pointed out better moves.  Both were eager to analyze the game with me guiding and questioning them about the proposed moves.  Pizza in hands they tried to find what the next move should be, obfuscated by such obviousness, they chose every possible square except the one that would have netted a knight and a rook and allowed for a check to move the king and prevent castling.  "Qe4+? Bd6? Qxf7? Qd6?"  What is white's next move?  "Ohh!" Dylan suddenly says.  She gots it.
What is white's next move?


Victor and Colten engaged in chess a` la Ghostbusters in the lobby booth next to me.  Under the watchful eyes of the maitre d',  Victor proceeded to become distracted as a ghost was slimming Dan Akaroyd and provided Colten with some valuable checkmate practice.  Colten is a highly competitive chess player and looks like a lion ready to pounce when he plays chess.  I hope he sticks with it through his high school years as he really will be a beast!

Miles and his family showed up to use one of the team rooms before their trip and gain some camaraderie that he will be missing in the morning at the tournament.  I gave him a chess board to take to Hawaii so he could get some bikini chess-playing pictures for his albums.

Nick busts into the lobby, rubs his belly and exclaims, "umm, steak!"  He ate at Perkins instead of the BBQ.  Quietly he sauntered off to his room and placed the "do not disturb" sign on the door handle.  He definitely is ruminating about the tournament.
Riley and Real, our two middle school girls, are determined to provoke the middle school boys into action.  The boys were in bed before anyone else. After the Greco-Roman wrestling in the pool, who wouldn't be tired?  As the door maintained its closed position, Riley and Real planted themselves right in the doorway to the boys room and played an innocent game of chess.  "What? Us? We're just playing a game of chess?"

By 10:00, everyone was tucked in and seemingly quiet.  Victor and Colten began a laugh attack just before they fell asleep at 11:00.  Though there was little talk of or practice for tomorrow, I know that they are thinking about the tournament.  I am happy that they are having fun and becoming a large family of chess players.

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