If I could speak to my ten-year-old self, she would not believe how much one decision she made impacted her life. I remember when Odyssey Of The Mind was first mentioned to me. I was a sixth-grader, ready to conquer the challenges of middle school when my friend mentioned the idea of joining this extracurricular activity. I was hesitant but decided to try it out.
For the first months, I watched as my teammates approached each problem. From large problems, such as how to get the giant scenery through the garage door, to small problems, such as spontaneous questions, they always had an answer. Working together made our solutions spectacular. After my first year, I decided that I would be involved in Odyssey of the Mind for the rest of my life.
Since the beginning, my Odyssey of the Mind teams faced obstacles. I remember an incident that occured in eighth grade. In March, my team learned that we would be advancing to the World Finals in Michigan. We were ecstatic. However, a fellow teammate was hospitalized a few weeks before the trip. Despite feeling helpless, we continued to rehearse while creating backup plans. The occurrence was unfortunate, but it strengthened our bond. Luckily, our teammate was discharged before competition and we proceeded with our rehearsed performance.
Throughout my Odyssey of the Mind journey, many people have influenced me. Three of my teammates– Hannah Fruhling, Naima Puertas and Aliana Vanichpong Barbosa have worked with me for over four years. We have spent hundreds of meetings together– brainstorming ideas, creating props and rehearsing. We have accumulated many memories at these meetings.
For instance, there was one meeting in ninth grade where Hannah and I sat in our coach’s basement creating cardboard props. Our box cutter was stubborn, which made cardboard difficult to cut through. Hannah and I were laughing out of frustration, not being able to carve the cardboard.
In the following year, most meetings were virtual due to COVID-19. Still, we had so much fun during in-person meetings. At one meeting, our coach left the room after rehearsals. My teammates and I decided to split up and hold an improv challenge. We developed ridiculous skits to act out. After we finished, we were holding back tears laughing.
As for coaches, one that I will remain forever thankful for is Mrs. Seligman. As my first Odyssey of the Mind coach, Mrs. Seligman welcomed me onto her team with open arms. Back in middle school, I lacked self-confidence. Once, a teammate made a snarky comment that hurt my feelings and Mrs. Seligman spent hours lifting my spirits. Even after I moved on from Mrs. Seligman’s team, our bond never diminished. She still coaches middle school teams that I occasionally volunteer for. Even now, I text Mrs. Seligman whenever I need someone to talk to.
In recent years, COVID-19 affected our Odyssey of the Mind seasons. My team had to work around being quarantined, social distancing orders, and more. We formed many back-up plans, uncertain of what the future would bring. This year, we had a somewhat normal competition season. We practiced weekly until competition day.