Friday, November 04, 2005

Riding In Buses With Nerds

I coach an academic team at our small public school. They are my "Nerd Team"...I say that very affectionately.

They are clever, smart, funny, and may be your boss someday.

As an academic team, they do battle with their brains, not their brawn. Many of them are also in the band. There really does seem to be a distinct correlation between musical ability and intelligence.

Probably why I never learned to play any musical instrument.

The format for our competitions involves 2 teams of 4 players each. Both teams use a buzzer lock-out system. When the match moderator poses a question, the first kid to push his buzzer will "lock out" the other buzzers and will have to answer the question.

The questions cover everything...I will have to bring some home and post them for you to sample. Just remember, you only have 5 seconds to buzz in.

Sometimes we are the host for a match and other times we load up on a bus and travel to another school for cerebral combat. Our season is a fall season ending next week. I have come to love these bus rides through the fall countryside with excited nerds chattering away in the back of the bus.

Out the windows, the scenery includes fields of millet planted for the upcoming dove season, round bails of golden hay, cypress swamps, and lots of cattle. There are a few persimmon orchards bare of leaf, but full of bright orange fruit glowing in the fall light.

This past Tuesday, as we rode home after ruining the undefeated season of our opponents, I got to thinking about how many times I had done this. I have coached this team for over 15 years and although the faces of my team are kids and nerds are nerds. Those kids of 15 years ago are in their 30's now...I remember every one of them and what their strengths were. Some of them are military pilots, some engineers, some successful business folks, some scientists, and a few became teachers.

I hope they remember these rides and contests as fondly as I do.

Looking out the windows of this bus as we bounced along the two lane country roads, it was easy to get nostalgic remembering other teams on earlier fall rides. I must have looked like I was daydreaming, because one of my players plopped into the bus seat next to me and asked,

"Hey, Mr. P., What are you thinking about?"

I looked at him, " Nerds, buddy. I'm thinking about Nerds"

He looked back and smiled, "You mean us?"

"You bet I do."
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pablo said...

I was on a similar team in high school, though out competitions were on the local TV station (back in St. Louis). My one time on the air, our team was defeated, but we were whooped by the team that went on to win the grand championship. Dagnabit, though. I haven't become a pilot or a business man or a teacher or a scientist or anyone's boss. (I am smart enuf to stay off of really tall ladders though.)

Laura said...

Wow, you've got some real good memories there. It must be cool to come across former students too. I'm sure they remember you and all the things they did on the team!

Hope Pablo doesn't walk under any tall ladders either. :) lol!

Floridacracker said...

People who stay off really tall ladders generally don't become pilots. :)

I meet a lot of former students. Getting gas yesterday, the woman who took my Fantasy Five lottery dollar was a former student who dropped out. She looked older than me. The kids who drop out seem to age really quick.
Mostly seeing past students is a happy thing...and sometimes stressful as I frantically try and recall their name. I always remember the person, the face, but names sometimes slip away with 150 new students each year X 17 years teaching.

Hick said...

FC: I think this is one of your best posts yet. Not only was the story a great one, you made it come alive for me. Maybe you should be the one writing a book.

I made the same observation about musicians and nerds the other day as I was looking around at my fellow band members thinking about what nerds they all were. Then it dawned on me that I am probably a nerd too. Sigh.

PS. Nerd Boy has started drum lessons and he's very good. He's doomed. Hopefully he will come across an encourager such as yourself during his formative years.

Deb said...

God bless the nerds of the world! I'm a proud band nerd.

You have persimmon orchards there? I guess I have never heard of persimmons being grown in any quantity. At least I haven't seen them in grocery stores around here.

Thunder Dave said...

Like it or not my friend you are in fact a "Nature Nerd". Don't feel bad though, I'm pretty sure I work for/with some of your former students! Either that or at least their kindred spirits. I think you have plenty of company too, I myself am a nerdy scientist, singer, and ex-pianist. your music skills were replaced with the ability to tell stories!

Floridacracker said...

Thank you for the very kind words. Now get busy and write that novel!

"What do you call a nerd 10 years after high school graduation?
Answer: THE BOSS.
The persimmons are mostly grown for local sale (I think). My impression is maybe they don't ship well.

Thanks buddy. Nature Nerd...I like that.

Miz S said...

Oh FC...every now and then you make me very happy.