Day 156 April 25, 2023 Promises Promises

I try to avoid making promises because I don’t like the idea of breaking them. Every now and then I make a promise and wait and hope that I can deliver. Our first year with CyberPatriot was successful because we made nationals. I tried to combine the teams to compete and bring them along. We could only bring the members of the qualifying team. The other team was out of luck. I felt bad and made an off-the-cuff promise to a kid that had worked extra hard for the group. I told Lucas that we would get back to nationals before he graduated. Since he was a freshman I thought we could repeat the success of the first team. The one thing I hadn’t counted on was the explosion of teams across the country. Starting on the second year of the open division the team numbers went from a few hundred to a few thousand. The odds of being in the top twelve shrank to a huge number. Lucas spent the next three years assembling the best team he could find. Lucas, Savannah, Jacob, Nathan, Luke, and LeeAnn made up the team his senior year. I had forgotten the promise until he reminded me halfway through the competition.

That added pressure. We had come close the previous 2 years but just missed out. I remember sitting through the semi-finals and watching our place. We were 13th for a long time and we could not answer one of the final forensics questions. I remember sitting there agonizing over the answer. It was a Star Trek theme for the year. They had a picture from the crew on vacation that showed them in a forest but with no landmarks of any kind. They finally hit on the idea of the Exif data attached to the picture. They worked on the latitude and longitude for several minutes. They were somewhere in Asia but couldn’t figure out the significance. After another few minutes, somebody got the idea of going in the other direction from 0 degrees longitude. That put them somewhere in the middle of nothing in the New Mexico desert. As we were looking at the map, it jumped out at me but they struggle for another few minutes. Since I could not help I was turning myself inside out. Finally one of the nearby towns stuck a cord with someone. Of course, they went to the internet and started to local towns. Finally, they hit upon a small town called Roswell and when they Googled it, up jump thousands of links for aliens and alien abductions. It then clicked in them that most of the characters were aliens and so they plugged Roswell into the question. That is the question that took them into the top 10 and my promise came to pass. That may have been one of the most agonizing half-hours of my life.