You all know what sport ball is. Someone you know plays basketball, baseball, football, soccer (which is really the real FOOTball), lacrosse, etc. But do you know anything about NERDball? Okay okay so that is not what it is called but I love jokingly calling my kiddo’s STEM competitions NERDball – makes me chuckle and makes them embarrassed.
My youngest girl is active in middle school Science Olympiad. Last year there was no competition because duh COVID pandemic. This year we were dipping our toes into the meetings person concept. As science oriented people we are of course very good with our masks and everyone is vaccinated. We had in person meetings but when it came for competition, most of them were done virtually.
We met in PERSON at the school but each event was held in a different room via Google Meet or Zoom. NCSU (North Carolina State University) was sponsoring it and they had their hands full. For one event, which I was assisting with, there were 85 kids waiting to get into the right breakout rooms and the facilitator was having to do it one at a time so it of course put us behind schedule.
In the end, I think the kids enjoyed themselves if for no reason other than they got to hang out with human friends in real life from 7:30 am – 3:00 pm. There was some disappointment as their builds which worked perfectly in practice suddenly malfunctioned. There was elation as someone realized they knew WAY MORE about rocks and minerals than they ever thought. There was confusion as parents who volunteered tried to be involved but there was very little to “watch”.
It is a Brave New World for sure. It will take a ton of patience and MORE for everyone to understand that we are all doing the best we can with what we have and we just can’t do anything about certain things. Do you know who was the most resilient during all this? The kids of course.
I have SO MUCH respect for kids especially during this crisis. They just stretch, mold, mutate and bounce back from things. They might be upset for a little bit but they are much better at shaking it off than us adults. We could learn a lot from them. They just want to have friends to talk to about their favorite song, anime, food or video game. They just want time to sleep in and maybe eat some good food. They want a hug when they need a little reassurance.
I am glad my kiddo got to participate in Science Olympiad this year. I have no idea if anyone on her team placed or will go on to State Finals but all that matters is that they had an adventure and a little fun along the way.