Destination: Tennessee

Here is a photo-journal of our trip to the Destination Imagination Global Finals┬áin Knoxville, TN. Noah and I spend four glorious days on (and another two traveling to) the campus of the University of Tennessee where we spent days walking around campus, hours preparing and rehearsing for Noah’s two challenges and many late nights pin-trading under the party tents. The experience was over-the-top from beginning to end, and I’m just beginning to acclimate to real life to a degree in which I can discuss it all. To be at a place to be able to write about it will take a few more days.

Still, I want to share some moments with you all now (after all the hype of my previous posts it’s just the right thing to do). The trip to DI Globals truly was a once in a lifetime thing (for both me and Noah) and though I realize that I’ve been speaking in hyperbole, I will assure you that I’m not when I say that I’m thrilled that I got to share the excitement and the over–the-topness of it all with my favorite person in the world.

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Here he is. Getting ready to fly. Noah’s a big fan of air travel. I, on the other hand, like to walk places. Luckily the weather was delightful on both days we had to travel and our flights were on time and, for the most part, relatively easy.
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When we arrived on campus we checked into our dorm room and then followed the crowd down to the square that served as the social center for kids from New York, Tennessee and Michigan. It took them about twenty minutes to start talking to one another and about twenty two minutes to find a ball and start playing a game.
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The opening ceremonies took place in an arena built to hold over 20,000 people. The place was nearly filled to capacity–a crowd much larger than the ones our kids from a town of 2,000 are used to hanging around.
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The opening ceremony consisted of a parade of states/nations, a rock band, the national anthem sung by an American Idol finalist, a laser show and this guy…who danced whilst hand-painting Einstein’s silhouette on a huge plexi-glass canvas.
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Early the next day, pin-trading commenced on lawns and under tents.
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For some folks, it got serious.
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The kids handled the pressure of their Main Challenge (and the giant room within which they had to perform it) with panache–even when their handmade, recycled tree fell during the middle of their skit.
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Post-Main-Challenge euphoria (or daze).
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Noah dressed up as Darth Maul for the Duct Tape Ball. Yep. A Duct Tape Ball. His entire costume (except those fancy socks and sandals) was fashioned out of duct tape. A World Record was set that night–the night that 3,000 kids covered themselves from head to toe in the stuff.
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Noah’s team was more than ready for their Main Challenge, but one of the trickier elements of the week was the Instant Challenge–when the kids are given a problem to solve and they have to come up with a plan to solve it in four minutes and then present their solution on the spot. Parents aren’t allowed to watch this part of the fun but, afterwards, the kids treated us to a little rap.
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Letting off some steam and nervous energy at the fountains–site of the the 1982 World’s Fair.
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A scene from the final night’s celebration. Noah’s team ended up coming in 17th out of the 90 teams that were competing in his age group in his division. Not too shabby for a group of kids from the sticks.
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Best photo of them all–Noah’s rendering of our descent into JFK. Home Sweet Home.

 

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