Each year, Seth’s elementary school has a geography bee for fifth and sixth grade. Each class sends a student to the school bee. Last school year, when he was in sixth grade, Seth represented his class in the school bee. Usually each class has its own geography contest as well, and the winner goes to the school bee. No one in his sixth grade class cared to participate, so Seth raised his hand and volunteered to go.
My wife, Jami, attended the event. Seth mentioned it in passing the night before, so she went, wondering how much he would participate. Seth went up against some very smart students, including those representing the accelerated learning classes. As the questions began, it didn’t take long for Jami to realize that (a) these were difficult questions, and (b) Seth was doing great. She was a little shocked. Slowly, the students were eliminated one by one. Each time someone seated around Seth answered a question correctly, he congratulated them and gave them a high-five. He was the only one doing that. It became very emotional for Jami, watching him become one of the last two students left. Although he loves to learn, Seth has always struggled a bit at school.
It was just Seth and another girl — from the accelerated learning class — left. Jami listened to students sitting in front of her. They were in the girl’s class, and they were talking about how there was no way Seth would beat her. They stayed tied for at least 10 rounds. Each time the other competitor answered a question correctly, Seth still told her “good job.” The anticipation was killing my Jami, and the whole room was on pins and needles.
Finally, it came to the last question: “In which state did the Wright Brothers fly their first plane?” Seth’s opponent said, confidently, “South Carolina,” which was incorrect. Seth answered “NORTH Carolina,” and the crowd went wild. The whole gym erupted with screams and applause! Seth had won the school geography bee! Jami couldn’t help but get teary. For Seth, school has always seems like an uphill battle, and this time, he finally had an opportunity to feel proud of himself.
Seth took another district test a week later and passed it to make it to the Utah state geography bee. Two weeks before the state bee, he got his concussion and had to stop studying. He did participate, but he didn’t make it any further. He was totally fine with that and felt relieved he was done and could move on to more exciting activities.
On a recent evening, we were sitting around the kitchen table after dinner, when for some reason the topic turned to phone books. Seth asked, “What is a phone book?” I was a little surprised that he did not know what a phone book was. Sometimes I forget that everyday objects I once used are now obsolete, and my kids have never heard of them.
We explained to him that while we don’t use one any more at our house, phone books contain lists of personal phone numbers and addresses as well as business information. We used to get one delivered to our front steps. If we wanted to look up a person or business, we would drag out the white pages or yellow pages to find their phone number.
Seth asked if we had one, and surprisingly, we did. Seth looked through the phone book with curiosity and amazement. He asked us if it had taken us forever to find numbers. I decided that it did not take that much more time to look up a number in the phone book than pulling out my phone and swiping my finger over the screen a few times, or sitting at my computer to Google whatever business I was looking for.
The phone book was always sitting in a drawer or cupboard next to our home phone or hanging on a wire from any pay phone. After discussing all of this, Seth decided he wanted to find a pay phone and make a call. He thought that would be awesome.
Despite his desire to go low-tech and find a pay phone to use, he has created his own website with his favorite YouTube videos. Check it out at http://seththedeath.weebly.com/.
About a month ago, my wife saw a commercial for the Nitro World Games. We are Nitro Circus fans in our family, especially Seth, so she decided to buy tickets. It was a competition featuring rollerblading, skateboarding, BMX, and FMX, or freestyle motocross. They are judged on stunts that they perform as they launch themselves over huge ramps.
We bought VIP seats because it said we would get to walk around the exhibition floor and see the stunt equipment before the event. We were also hoping some of the competitors would be there to sign autographs. We got there early to line up in the VIP line, which we assumed would just have a few people. We realized we were not that important when we discovered there were hundreds lined up already in the VIP line. It was about 100 degrees outside, and we were melting. When they let us in, we were able to get down to the floor level and walk around the different ramps. No competitors were there to sign autographs, but Seth was able to get a picture with the Monster drink girls who were dressed in tight, black, leather crop tops.
They ushered everyone to the floor after the “VIP” hour was over. Seth was a little disappointed that he did not get to see his favorite motocross rider, Josh Sheehan. We had to go through a tunnel under the stadium to get out the other side and find our seats. The air in the tunnel was about 10 degrees cooler than outside, so we stopped and decided to sit there for the next hour until the show started. We were chatting and looking at our phones to find out who was competing in the different events. I watched as Travis Pastrana — a motorsports competitor and stunt performer who has won championships and X Games gold medals in several events — walked by. I was waiting for Seth to say something, but he had not been looking up. Here is Seth’s version of what happened:
“I got to go to the Nitro World Games and while we were sitting, waiting in a tunnel, all of the sudden, the world-famous Travis Pastrana walked by, and I did not notice him. But my dad did, so he told me. Then I chased him and yelled his name, and I was able to meet him and get his signature and a picture. Then we watched the Nitro World Games and saw the first-ever double front flip on a motorcycle.”
I don’t know who was more excited about meeting Travis Pastrana, my wife or Seth. It was a fun competition to see, and we had a great time. We were hot, starving, and thirsty when the night was over, so we stopped at a restaurant to relax. Seth was slaphappy after all the excitement, and while looking at the wine list, he asked our waiter for their finest glass of lemonade to celebrate.