I still remember the butterflies. But I remember more the word I misspelled. My word was "Question". Q-E-U-S-T-I-O-N. Qeustion. All the years that have passed and I still remember the word that took me out of the running.
Twenty-some odd years later I'm sitting in the Media Center watching Seth with his signature chin-tucked shy toothless smile that spread across his young face each time our eyes met that morning. He was being brave and I knew it and he knew it.
The officiator told us, "This is an important thing you are doing. Getting up here. And sometimes when we do important things we get butterflies. And it doesn't matter if we win or lose. Because you are doing something important. Just because you're here."
He made it to the third round. Hazel was under a chair somewhere scribbling on a pad of paper offered by a kind onlooker. Avery had licked clean a whole tube of lip balm in my lame effort to keep from being shushed again by the two judges.
On the third round his word was "Main". M-A-N-E. Mane.
Will he take to heart what the officiator recited that day? That the main thing in question here is this.
Did you show up when it was important? Were you brave? Did you get up to do the important thing?
I hope. I hope.