May 26th, 2009

buzzed, B&W

DI Global Finals 2009

Wow. I haven't been to a Global Finals since 2006. For those who aren't familiar, Global Finals are the culmination of the Destination Imagination program year, and involves over 10,000 team members. It's an amazing celebration of creativity and education.

Anyway, highlights and thoughts:
  • On the shuttle bus from Nashville to Knoxville, I had a conversation with some women from Oregon who had a structure team. I asked them what kind of research they'd done, and they mentioned a balsa goddess. I had no idea about this page, but a quick lookup on the iPhone verified my hunch that it was Heather Compton's page. What a small world structure is. (Of course, I was hoping they'd found my old site, but they hadn't heard of hairylunch . . . )

  • Days were long as usual. Tuesday I left Reno at 7:40 AM, and didn't get to Knoxville till almost 10 PM, and then had the events team meeting for another hour or so. My appraiser duties on the Construction Challenge took me from 7:30 or so till 5:30-6:00 each evening. On Wednesday night, we were working on CC stuff till midnight, Thursday was Improv Fiesta till like 10 PM, and Friday was the Team Managers and Officials competition, followed by Midnight Madness (a teen party) till after midnight. Throw in website maintenance for, and some time unwinding with others, and I figure I was lucky to get 4-5 hours of sleep a night. In fact, on Saturday, I only had about 30 minutes before having to catch the shuttle to Nashville . . .

  • Speaking of Midnight Madness and the events team, I definitely felt like a hypocrite that night. This was a big teen party, with food in one area, and DJ and dancing in the big, grass field. Maybe 500-1,000 kids or so total attendance? Anyway, the hypocrite in me was that for part of the evening I played crowd control, which meant breaking up crowd surfing, mosh pits, and some bump-and-grind. Definitely a bit strange to be breaking up the crowd surfing and mosh pits, considering those are still activities I participate in. (Though I have no issues with stopping the bump-and-grind of teenagers.)

  • The structure challenge this year had a late clarification (5/1/2009) that many teams were not aware of. This clarification was issued after most (perhaps all?) affiliate tournaments. Anyway, a number of power-house structure teams ended up with 0 weight held scores, which is devastating for structure teams. Reminded me of the '95-'96 year, when my team was competing in Crunch!, and there was an appraiser's only clarification that invalidated our structure. Ohio ended up holding a weigh-off that year, allowing teams to re-test a new structure if they wanted. Of course, this isn't really an option with Globals . . .

    The real kicker here was that the clarification was intended to prevent teams from having structures that "dropped" in height when the crusher board was placed. Unfortunately, to enforce this rule, it meant that teams that had any wobble in their two-part structures were told that their structures were not valid, as the configuration of the structure changed. This has of course created a fair amount of controversy over the challenge (and it's writers). Yuck.

  • One of the best parts of this year for me was getting to work the floor during Closing ceremonies. I was responsible for helping maintain the flow of traffic onto the stage, and this meant I got to congratulate some of the teams I know well, as well as getting to see the pure expressions of joy on other teams. Getting to see and hear the screams, cheers, hugs, tears, and other celebrations of having placed at Globals was a humbling experience. The raw emotion was so powerful.

Of course, getting to see all the friends I've made over the years was awesome, especially after two years away from Globals. While people have gotten older, they're still amazing, incredible people, and I love spending time with them. (We'll ignore the fact that I think I'm getting sick, and have basically slept through two days since getting on the bus Sunday morning).