It was a cool August morning in the suburbs of Chicago. Four confident and uniformed boy-schoolers walked up to the registration table of the National Chinese Culture Competition (and were asked to change their neat attire for a T-shirt of vivid gray). How did these privileged teenagers end up here?
Upon winning first place in the Northern California Chinese competition, this dream team (Rex, Hubert, Michael, and Alejandro) was invited to join the Nationals at Chicago, Illinois. On this particular day, the team was to show the other seven participating schools what DVBS was made of. They did not hesitate in hitting the buzzer and took first place–but only in the first round though. Nonetheless, they were very well prepared, thanks to info-cramming done on the plane ride the day before. Unfortunately, in the final round, things did not go so smoothly. The range of questions expanded to include Taichi, the pottery of literally countless Chinese Dynasties, the usage of an aba¬cus, the route taken by a Chinese princess to Tibet, the move you should play in a certain situation in Go, different herbs used in Chinese medicine and many many more miscellaneous Chinese-related topics. None of this was mentioned in the material that was given to each team to study.
Despite being overwhelmed, the DVBS team was not intimidated and went ahead with answering the questions the best they could. Unfortunately, they just got too many of the questions wrong–they had to guess.
But being representatives of Northern California and of the only Buddhist school attending the competition, our four students acted as good sportsmen and stayed behind to eat dinner and watch a dragon dance, a yo-yo show, Miss Chicago sing the Taiwanese National Anthem (in Chinese) and a Shaolin monk break an iron bar on his head. And, last but not least, they were there to collect their reward for a hard day’s work, a small pack of Taiwanese home-made pineapple cakes (I’m not kidding). At nine o’clock when everybody finally finished their ice-cream, our four defeated heroes, Coach Ben, a little brother (Miguel), and Mr. Gracia (who came all the way from Ukiah to support them) returned to the house of a Buddhist laywoman who kindly let them stay there for the week they were in Chicago. In the days afterward, when reflecting about the competition, everyone agreed that to win the competition, they should have gotten fourth place in the first round, then first place in the final round. Isn’t the probability of get-ting fourth place then first place greater than the probability of getting first place in both rounds? Anyways, DVBS will be back (to the Nationals, that is) next year. At least that is our hope. Remember to order your 2013-2014 DVBS Times to find out more about the exploits of our school!
So they ended up with a not-so-profitable fourth place; only first, second, and third places were given a trophy and money. Also, the second place team of the Northern California Competition that was beaten just a few months ago by yours truly (DVBS, that is) came back and took first place in the Nationals