April 20

DI

This post is going to be a very long one so you might want to take a bathroom break or something before you start reading it. Just a warning.

For those of you who don’t know, DI stands for Destination ImagiNation, which, in my best explanation, is basically a creative thinking competition.

I have never done DI before, but this year my friend Nora invited me to be on a team with her and my other friends Sophie, Natalie, Ingrid and Leah. My other friend Martina would have done it with us, but she is a very amazing dancer and didn’t have time ☹️.

Whithin our first few meetings, we had decided on a team name: the Rainbow SNNAILs. If that confuses you, SNNAIL is all of our initials. Why did we choose to put rainbow in front of that? I don’t know. We just did. Don’t ask me why.

DI has several different challenges, but the challenge we picked for our team was the scientific challenge (aka “Top Secret”), and we had to make a skit and also come up with two codes and make a gadget that is is disguised as something else but performs a “secret task”. Our skit is about animals in a zoo that go missing, and one character has to dress up as an animal to find out where the animals are being taken. That’s the short version. I would explain everything else a little bit more, but that would take way too long and this post is already going to be long enough.

We worked so hard and for so long, and the day finally came when we had to present our skit to a panel of judges. In order for us to go to the next level of competition, which is called state, we had to achieve first place in regions, which was the level we were in at that time.

After we did our performance, we had to do a thing called an Instant Challenge. This is how our Instant Challenge went: we had no idea what we had to do, but we’d been practicing old Instant Challenges for weeks. We had to sign a piece of paper saying we wouldn’t tell anyone what out challenge was, so I can’t reveal that information just yet, but it was a building challge (as opposed to an acting challenge). It went okay–or so we thought–but we would just have to wait until that night at the award ceremony.

We finally went to the award ceremony and……… drumroll please………
WE GOT FIRST PLACE!!!!! It was an amazing feeling, and now we got to go to the state competition in Lubbock!

Weeks later, after more practicing and perfecting our performance, Leah, Ingrid, Natalie and I piled into a car and drove the six hours to Lubbock. It was a long ride, but it was still fun. We stopped at a really good place for lunch, and we wore pajamas for the whole trip.

We stayed in a hotel in Lubbock that was pretty cool, but their pool was closed, so that was sad.

When we competed in Lubbock, there was a different Instant Challenge than from regions–but I still can’t tell you what it is–and it went pretty well, we ended up getting the second highest Instant Challenge score out of 25 teams. Then we had to perform our skit for what might be the final time.

We were so nervous, but we were also super prepared. This was our moment, and we couldn’t blow it. And we didn’t. The judges laughed at all of our jokes, everybody remembered all of their lines, and we had to code and decode a message during the performance and we got it right!

After that was all over, we went out for lunch and then dessert. Then we hung around the hotel for a while and received our scores.
They were AWFUL. At regions our skit had recieved 204 points, and we thought that wasn’t very good. This time we only scored about 150 points. We were doomed. We all thought so. There was next to no way we would be among the five teams that went to globals in Tennessee.

We went out to dinner after a while, and then went to the award ceremony. It was SO LONG. We sat in the bleachers, waiting for three hours to see if we were announced. And we were. The Rainbow SNNAILs had taken 5th place, and were advancing to globals!

WHAT???!!! This was amazing! We screamed, jumped out of our seats, and ran across the stadium to receive our medals and trophy. It was the best night ever.

So now we get to go to Tennessee for globals, and I’m sure it is going to be tons of fun. DI has been an amazing experience, and I am hoping to continue it in years to come.

 

April 7

Road Trips

The car is hot. And you’re tired of sitting for so long. And you can’t sleep because of the ride is so bumpy. And there’s no WiFi. Road trips are AWESOME.

I am aware that some people aren’t a fan of sitting in a car for long periods of time, but for me, road trips are an amazing experience, even if you go on the same one multiple times.

Going on a road trip feels like a cool adventure. A loooooong adventure, sure, but and adventure none the less.  You wake up early, pack up the car, start up Google Maps, and then head for the nearest gas station because you forgot to fill up yesterday. Most of the time my family leaves around noon, after we eat lunch, because, honestly, some of the restaurants you find on road trips have food that is less than desirable.

When you go on a road trip you have to stop at many different gas stations to go to the bathroom or fill up the tank, and this has led my family to some interesting places. Some gas station are really bad. They smell horrible, the bathrooms are disgusting, and the best food the convenience store has is powdered donuts–not that powdered donuts are bad or anything– but they could do a lot better than that. Other gas stations are amazing, especially one: Buc ee’s. Buc ee’s is more than just a regular gas station, though. (Aside from having an awesome name and a beaver as a logo.) Buc ee’s is HUGE! It’s about the size of a grocery store, there are free samples, and there is never a line for gas pumps or bathroom stalls. They have amazing fudge and jerky, too. Buc ee’s is every road-tripper’s best friend.

Another great thing about road trips is the anticipation of the destination. We drive to Oklahoma a couple times every year, and we are always excited to see my grandparents when we get there. Last summer, we drove to Colorado, and even though the trip was very long, it was still fun because we got to stay in a really cool place in Colorado. Even thought the journey is half the adventure, you can still be excited about your destination on a road trip.

So when you look past the surface of the road trip, past the long hours in the car, past the smelly gas stations, and past staring out the window at corn fields, you see the better side of road trip: the sense of adventure, having fun in the car with your family, and, of course, Buc ee’s. So next time, instead of dreading your 10-hour road trip, try to have some fun.

November 3

Basketball Tryouts: Surviving Day Two

I know I didn’t write a post about surviving day one of tryouts, but that’s because I barely did. Just kidding. I’m fine. Still, it was hard.

On day one, we stretched. Then we ran a lot. Then we did normal basketball stuff like lay ups, short jump shots, ball handling. Then we ran some more. And some more. And some more…… Get the picture? Good.(I hope you got the picture…)

For day two, we stretched and ran again, and this time I had a lovely early-morning asthma attack. It was great (once again, I’m kidding, don’t think I like barely being able to breath? ). Because of that, I had to go take my inhaler, and when I got back, we were doing dribbling lines. The only thing was, there were no basketballs left, but luckily Coach Gammil found an extra one for me.

After that we did some drills where we had thirty seconds to make as many baskets as we could while doing a different drill. The first was one where we started under the basket, and we had to make a kind of lay up on either side of the basket. For the next drill, we were just closer than the free throw line, and we had to run around the arc from the elbow to the elbow (for those that don’t know, the elbows are the parts of the court where the free throw line meets the lane line.) We had to make as many jump shots as possible in thirty seconds. The next drill was one where we had to grab the ball from either of the block (there is a block on either side of under the basket) and do a drop step to make a a basket. Then we did speed lay ups. That one is kind of self-explanatory.

After all the drills we finally got to scrimmage! My team was pretty awesome, we perfomed well. Day one of tryouts I didn’t get to scrimmage, so I was glad I got to do it this time.

At the end of the tryouts, Coach Floyd said we weren’t going to be done until someone made a free throw. Then she asked for volunteers. I raised my hand because my private coach for basketball told me to always volunteer to shoot free throws so that I could practice shooting under pressure.

The following minute was a lot like the poem Mrs. Kriese showed us about shooting free throws, with tension filling every second.

Coach Floyd picked me.

I jogged to the free throw line.

She passed me the ball.

I dribbled.

Once,

Twice,

Three times.

Spun the ball in my hands, sweaty with nervousness.

Grab the ball, line up with the basket.

The ball floats out of my hands,

Up.

Up.

Up.

Then,

The ball hits the rim.

 

 

 

 

And rolls in.

That was an amazing moment for me, I thought the ball was going to miss the basket by a mile. And then who knows how much running we would have had to do…

Overall, day two of tryouts went pretty well, and now all that stands in my way of the basketball team is day three.

I guess we’ll see how that goes………..

September 21

Home Run!

It felt like it was a million degrees outside, but in reality it was just in the 90s. Last Saturday was the second week of fall softball, but since the week before we had had a double header this game would be the 3rd game of our season. We would actually play two games that day- another double header. We will be playing lots of double headers this season because our team is a combination of two age groups, since not very many people play fall ball in our league. My dad and my friend Jill’s dad had been coaching us since we stared playing softball when I was in 1st grade, and every year since we had been trying to get them to let our team name be the Spider Monkeys. Previously, we had always lost the argument, but this year we had succeeded! We were finally the Spider Monkeys!

The first game was against our rivals, the Diamond Divas. At least, we thought we were rivals, I’m not sure how they feel about it. We were unofficial rivals because in the spring, their team had knocked both of our teams out of the end of season tournament.   We were the visiting team, so we batted first. We started off strong, scoring 4 runs(the inning run limit) and holding them to only 2 runs in the first inning. The second inning went similarly, but this time they only scored one run. We played 3 innings before time expired, with the final score being Spider Monkeys: 12, Diamond Divas: 7

After a glorious 10 minute break in which we ate multigrain chips, it was time for our next game.

The next game was against a team called the Sweep. We stared off even stronger than the last game, scoring 4 runs and holding them to zero. Our pitcher pitched almost a perfect inning, only one batter got a hit for their team that inning. The next inning, I was up to bat. Now here comes the fun part. This might be the reason you even read this post. The ball releases from the pitchers hand, and I make contact. The grounder rolls out into the outfield, gets past the center fielder, and rolls to the fence. I round first base, pass second, run through third, and stomp on home plate. Not too shabby for the first home run of the season. It really should have just been a single, but since the center fielder never touched the ball, it was not an error on her. We won that game as well, but I don’t remember the score.

Overall, it was a good 3rd and 4th games of the season. Our record is now 2-1-1; 2 wins, 1 tie, and 1 loss.

I hope more of our games go that way, but they probably won’t. I still hope that we do good in the future, and that there are real home runs to come!