This is a story of the latter.
This weekend we attended CTC’s GeekFest. If you are anything like me, you may have an embarrassing picture in your head. I admit, when I first heard of Geekfest I had no intention of ever purposefully going. Like ever. Then my kids got interested in Harry Potter. Friend after friend mentioned the festival. It was about technology. Science. Fun. And it is a fundraiser. I still didn’t buy into it.
When I learned there was a Harry Potter Yule Ball I thought it would be something the kids might enjoy. At $15 per adult and no charge for the kids, I figured we should probably at least look into it. The kids got wind of the event and, well, the next thing I knew I was sewing a Gryffindor cape. Or two. Jack and Ruby somehow got the idea it was an event to dress as your favorite book character so they too wanted to dress up…as their favorite Magic Tree House characters, Jack and Annie. So off we headed to the thrift store to buy a red back pack and solid color jackets.
I am still not sure how it all happened. I am afraid to admit this, but I actually had fun. Like real life enjoying myself fun. Most of all I enjoyed watching my kids get into the excitement of the books. We all enjoyed the variety of costumes and people we ran into. We saw several friends, one of which was a volunteer for the festival.
One of my favorite parts of Geekfest was the Harry Potter Jeopardy. I signed the big kids up for the event and we almost didn’t make it back in time to participate, but, thankfully we did. Both Kenniston and Vincent competed to be a representative from the Gryffindor house (it’s from the book). Both were neck and neck during the qualifying round. Kenniston almost won, but in the end, Vincent won and was able to go onto the final round for the Gryffindor house.
At the final round he was competing against an 11 year old, a 16 year old, and a 22 year old. As they were waiting to go in front of the crowd the older contestants practiced and quizzed each other. We asked Vincent if he was nervous, he answered “I’m not nervous, I’m from Gryffindor, I’m brave!”
They all filed in and got a briefing on how the game works. The rules of Jeopardy are a little different than most quiz games. The answers have to be in question form, something Vincent is not used to. He knew most of the answers, but did not answer them in question form. He kept losing points because of this. By the third time this happened, the leader Professor McGonagalll, noticed his frustration and stopped to remind everyone and have him take a breath. We knew he was nervous. I was nervous for him.
He tried a few more times to answer with out the question form. At this time, Brian and I both went down to him to help comfort his nerves. We even gave him the option to step down and let his sister take his place (she was his replacement). Despite being obviously beat down, he chose to stay and complete the game. His competition, the 22 year old from “Hufflepuff House” was really kind and offered to help him remember to answer in a question form. After that he raised his hand and answered in the correct form. The entire audience clapped for him! He continued to answer a few more, all in correct form. At one point he raised his hand and kept trying to get the words out, the girl next to him ended up answering it, but gave him the points. It was SO generous of her. I won’t lie, a tear formed in my eyes.
It was JUST A GAME, but to him it was more. He is a first born. It has to be perfect for him. It’s just who he is. I get it, I really do, but I try to foster a sense of grace and second chances in him. It is hard though, I know how he feels. In the end he did not win, but he was still proud of himself. The winner of the game won a wand. Vincent walked over to us in a seemingly good mood. One of the judges followed behind him, tapped him on the shoulder and passed him a wand as well. He told him that he did a great job. I was so excited for him. He was thrilled.
He did not win, but in our eyes, he did. He persevered. He kept going despite a rough start. That is hard. Really hard. It starts with a simple Harry Potter game at a Geekfest your parents take you to when you are 10, but it continues through out your life. I hope he continues to see these lessons. I hope he listened when we told him how proud of him we were for completing the game. It wasn’t easy and I know there had to have been some element of humiliation, but it didn’t stop him. Yes, I am proud, very proud.