The Day After

legoLast summer my husband told me about the FIRST Lego League (FLL) and asked me, if I wanted to coach a team with him. I had to think about this, because even though I had never coached a team before I had a good idea about the hard work that would be involved. I was not sure, if I had the skills, the patience and endurance needed.

In the end we decided to do it. We chose several kids our children were friends with and we were very lucky, that most of them could make it. Our team of six had its first meeting in September and we met every week (sometimes several times) until our first competition early December. To our big surprise we won the Lego part of the competition. This is very unusual for a new team. We were elated.

Yesterday we went to the BC Provincials and competed against 17 teams.  From the very beginning things did not go well for us. Parts broke, the robot got stuck, models were lost that had not been lost before, hands trembled and details were forgotten. In the end we placed 4th, never coming close to our potential.

We all were very disappointed. But even though we did not get the trophy, we won so much.

Reflecting back on all these weeks of hard work I must say I am very proud of what the kids have accomplished and I feel privileged to have witnessed it. It was like planting a seed, feeding it and watching it grow.

In normal school life children have a set frame of work they have to do, but in FLL every kid can show his or her strength. They can choose what they want to do, how much work they want to put in and sometimes they surprise themselves and their parents. Suddenly there were actors, screenwriters, programmers, designers and inventors. They learned new skills, overcame stage fright and pushed against exhaustion. I loved how well they got along with each other and that new friendships were forged.

I hope they won’t forget this experience. I know I won’t.

For me personally this has been a weird turn of events. I have rarely been in any kind of competition in my life, but  my next competition is in 6 weeks. My tap dance teacher has registered us in a dance competition and  we are talking fishnet stockings. Oi!