By Breanna Racher, senior writer
As the Michigan State University sign became visible to us, the only thing on our minds was “we are here to win.”
The Odyssey of the Mind team was finishing up it’s long and tedious journey from Little Rock, Arkansas, to East Lansing, Michigan. We checked into our dorm rooms and went down to the lobby to practice for the Spontaneous category; this category tests a team’s ability to come up with creative answers in a limited time period. The team members do not know the problem until they walk into the room. The year before, our team was named first in the world in the Spontaneous category.
While we were practicing our verbal Spontaneous problem, a coach from a different team walked up to our coach.
“Alright girls, now we’re going to try a spontaneous problem with these young ladies,” our coach, Deborah Baldwin, said to us after speaking with the other group’s coach for a moment.
A group of seven young girls sat next to us and anxiously waited for the problem. After they struggled for a few rounds, we saw their answers begin to improve. Pretty soon, the girls’ answers started to compare to ours. They were ready to compete.
After the girls went back up to their rooms, the coach thanked us for helping. Those young girls had a chance to see and work with a talented, independent, and most importantly, all-girls team that had conquered a large part of the competition. Our team didn’t immediately realize the influence we had on those little girls. Later, however, we came to realize that by witnessing our teamwork, confidence, and creativity, those girls had a chance to see what practicing and building each other up as women can do.
Influencing the lives of young women was more valuable to our team than any trophy ever could be.