I had no expectations as I signed T. Puzzle out from school. His nervous energy permeated the air as we made our way to the car. Soon he would be facing the other school winners in a spelling showdown for the district title.
T.Puzzle was not new to this level of competion. Both boys had competed at district when they were fifth graders. Let’s just say nightingale and futon are words you may never want to speak out loud around them.
Full Speed made it to the final two (check out his cool trophy below) and T.Puzzle placed ninth out of the thirty-six district-wide competitors.
Our new district is smaller with only eleven competitors total. I wasn’t fooled by their (mostly) diminutive size. After all, my boys weren’t exactly giants when they competed before.
Last year’s victor was competing again and he oozed confidence. His ease suggested he was well- studied. I imagined if T. Puzzle made the final two with this kid, victory may not be his.
As the practice round concluded I found myself to be relatively calm. I had a dash more adrenaline pumping through me than normal, but overall, I was okay. My biggest concern was T.Puzzle would be the first one out.
No one wants to be that kid.
Once it was clear he was safe for a few rounds, I sat back and let it all unfold feeling proud to be in this moment.
The selected words made quick work of the competitors. By round seven it was already down to T. Puzzle and the previous champ.
As the former champ sauntered to the mike I thought we were set for a battle. As quickly as this thought formed a word was given and you could see the kid freeze. Panic washed over his face and his shoulders slumped.
He didn’t know it.
He didn’t know it!
He struggled through it, piecing it together as best he could and just like that, the bell dinged.
Then, it was T. Puzzle’s turn. He had to spell the next word correctly to win.
Inexorably he did.
Inexorably he won.
Inexorably is his new favorite word.
We were lucky to have us all together to celebrate this awesome achievement. My heart was happy to see his joy.
Yes, moms, teenage boys do have souls. However, his happiness was soon replaced by dismay at the realization he will have to continue to study for the regionals set in March.
You can’t win them all but it helps to prepare to increase your odds.
Inexorably, this is the way of the world.
Congrats, T. Puzzle!