This is Nationals weekend. This is the weekend in which all those practices, fundraisers, awards, and research sessions work up to. It's bitter sweet.
The sweet part comes in the form of excitement. Our students are excited, we're excited, the parents are anxious-excited, and no matter how many times you've been to nationals, whether this is your first rodeo or you've been to dozens, there is still an energy and enjoyment that just really isn't in any other place. No matter how much we'e worked, and how ready we think we are, there's always one more run-through, one more tweak, one more tongue teaser that could be the difference between breaking or not. That adds an excitement and wonder that keeps everyone on their toes.
And that's the bitter part too. I always tell my students 'breaking at nats is 65% hard word and 35% luck.' Because no matter how ready we are, how many drafts the speech has had, and how many first place trophies it has taken over the course of the year, there's always a chance that it's not going to get the right judges, or the student will have a single stumble, or the other people in the room are just better. I have found that keeping perspective in this is key.
Every student at this national tournament has already won. They've worked hard, played hard, and gotten here. They've raised the funds, and packed their bags, and made it to the big show. That's the award that each of us get every year, student, coach, and parent alike. With this perspective, there is no bitter sweet, it's all pretty sweet. (though the trophy can still be nice sometimes).
Enjoy the weekend. No matter what happens, I know I will.