Welp. Today’s the day. I knew this day would come, but I wasn’t prepared for it to happen 11 days after his 10th birthday.
Yep. The kid is smarter than me. It’s official.
But let’s back up.
About a month ago, Buddy heard about a robotics-slash-Lego-slash-engineering competition going on at the University of Arkansas over the weekend — and asked if we could go. Sure! I have no idea what goes on at a robotics-slash-Lego-slash-engineering competition (and neither did he) but it sounded like a stimulating afternoon. So off we went.
And WHOA. Turns out, the Razorback Invitational is all of those things — robotics meets engineering meets LEGO. And this kid was DAZZLED. We spent all day (with a short break to run across town to baseball practice) on campus with teams of kids from all over the world who’d spent the last 9 months building and programming robots to complete various tasks in a certain order and in a certain amount of time. They competed for time and precision on these huge tables filled with tasks and obstacles set up for the robots to complete.
We looked lost enough while wandering around the competition that a sweet middle school team from Kentucky adopted us for the day. We tagged along with them to practice and their team competitions and by the end of the day, Buddy was absolutely hooked. And I was furiously googling the closest First Lego League club so he could get his hands dirty.
As school was about over for the year, I couldn’t find an active First Lego League (FLL) club but I had just received confirmation that he’d been accepted to an engineering camp through the University of Arkansas for the summer, “and Buddy, maybe they’ll know how to get involved in FLL.”
Fast forward to this week. He spent every day this week doing exactly that and he has been in absolute heaven. Today, when I dropped him off, they told me to come early to get him and I’d get to see a little of what they’d been working on this week.
Y’all, I was dumbfounded. He started to tell me about it and I made him stop and do it on video because there’s no way I’d be able to intelligently repeat it — and there’s no way there’s a better storyteller than him when he gets that excitement in his voice with something new.
So – I’ll let him give you a taste:
WHAT?! I am in awe of this child. Truly.
He BUILT that robot! Then he tells me he’s leading the camp in points – ?? Every task on the table is worth a different amount of points and he was about to do a final run to test his programming — fingers crossed that he’d reach 48 total points, the highest of the day.
Buddy, watching you do stuff like this — especially stuff that’s completely outside my set of skills and experience — is the most fun I’ve ever, ever had. Keep doing. Keep trying. Keep learning.