I have a big Sunshine Harvester deadline today, so I have a been a bit flat out with getting my head around the winnower, the riddles, the "bush eccentric for adjusting long rack stay" and so on. You know how it is.
The weekend was very busy with visitors, actual events and a fair amount of just kind of pointless bustle. Here is a handy guide you can cut out and keep.
ROBOTS: Marcus and I went along to session 2, in which Mindstorm NX1-C Nº 10 was programmed to walk if he is put down on something black, but stop if he reaches something red. The next step was to get him to speed up if he reached something silver, but he never quite mastered that. This time Marcus did most of the programming, while Nicholas concentrated on fabricating a part that will be needed for session 5. Nicholas's dad and I tried hard to say glued to our seats and let it all just unfold, but I have to admit to a tiny bit of helping/interfering/project managing.
SOCCER: My team, champions of the hack division, have been promoted to the fit-and-skillful division, where we will be found out. We have a couple of new players, both dads from school, who look like they can do the business - so maybe we'll be able to take it up a notch.
Marcus's team are still unbeaten.This week they had another titanic struggle against a team they had never met before, West Hobart Red. They are well coached, and play like a proper soccer team even more than our lads. I actually saw someone in possession run into trouble, and turn and pass back to someone who called for the ball - that's unheard of in under 8s.
It was a very tense struggle. We were up 2-1 for a long time, then with not long to go, their star player Antonio make a big run right through and belted a goal from long distance. I thought 2-2 would be a fair result for such a tough and well-balaanced game. Antonio was subbed off. Suddenly Marcus scored, and suddenly Antonio was wheeled back on again. Bizarrely, his team seemed to have completely used up their energy, and in the last two minutes of the game South Hobart scored again, and again, and again. A very even game unfortunately ended up 6-2, but I don't think their kids were too disappointed. They had a number of girls in the team who played extremely well, and slide-tackled ferociously. Marcus was upended by one of them on a few occasions.
FULLAGARS: During the game, when the tension was at its peak, Elf's brother Fred arrived, visiting from Melbourne. Sport is not the Fullagars' thing, so I had to try to be warmly welcoming and also explain the situation on the field while not missing any of the gripping action. Elf's parents Bill and Felicity arrived later that evening, and are still with us now. There is always a certain amount of shuttling back and forth to Imp and Ed's place at Kingston - there are 4 grandchildren to dote on and most activity while they are here is based around that. Also crochet, sudoku, crosswords and usually eating a lot of chocolate.
CHESS: South Hobart's chess team did very well at a Southern schools tournament yesterday. I spent the morning out there at Sacred Heart College, encouraging and coaching in my actually-not-that-good-at-chess way. At the point I left, Marcus and two others had won three out of five games, and the others were all doing OK. It's very common with kids, for a strong winning position to suddenly become a draw with one false move, and I saw that happen with our players a number of times. Sometimes they were the lucky one snatching a draw from an impossible situation, but a few times the boot was on the other foot. If you trap your opponent so there is nowhere they can move, but they are not actually in check, that's a stalemate, and a draw.
One of the rules in tournaments is that if both players repeat a move three times, that's also a a draw. I saw a very funny scene where two kids who presumably had lost all their prior games, were playing each other. They went back, and forth, and back, and forth, about fifteen times - while their hands were flying about, one looked up at me and said "is this a draw?" I said yes, definitely. They were both jubilant. "YESSSSSSS!!!!!!" Their first half-point each. Elf took over from me and was there at the end. South Hobart finished equal third, and Marcus got a credit certificate, but he was a bit overwrought and crazy by that stage.
LIZARDS: In the car on the way to chess, Marcus was showing the other kids his Ripley's Bizarre! book, in particular the two-headed lizard. Bradley blurted "I've got three one-headed lizards!"