Oregon Battle of the Books.
You read 16 books.
You read them again.
You infuse every little detail of those books into your brain.
You compete with your amazing team.
You watch the teams in the final battle at your school get questions wrong you know you could answer.
The winning team goes to regionals.
The winning team goes to state.
The winning team gets second place.
Your team beat that team.
Your team answered more questions about the books correctly than that team.
Your team should have gone to regionals.
Your team should have gone to state.
Your team should have battled against other kids.
Your team should have gone.
You should have gone.
Instead, your team got third place in the school.
Behind the two teams that your team beat.
You lost to the two teams that lost to you.
How is that fair.
It was two years ago.
You were in fifth grade.
You can’t forget it.
You can’t let it go.
You can’t accept it.
Because you worked hard for it.
Because you tried.
And you won.
And winning wasn’t enough to win.
And you know now.
You know that it was the system.
It was the system that messed with everything.
And it was the system that brought down a team.
And it was the system that brought down your dream of winning.
A dream you’d had your whole life.
And so now when you still have that dream.
And maybe even a chance to win.
And another year of middle school to try.
Another year of middle school to do.
Four years of high school to try some more.
Why is it so hard to move past?
Why don’t just forget it?
Because in elementary school.
In third fourth and fifth grade.
OBOB is fun.
Reading is fun.
OBOB is interesting.
Reading is interesting.
OBOB is cool.
Reading is accepted.
And in middle school.
In 7th grade.
OBOB is funny.
Reading is hilarious.
OBOB is school.
Reading is more school.
OBOB isn’t cool.
Reading takes time.
OBOB gets you laughed at.
Reading makes you the only one in the library reading books with words.
So why not?
When you had the chance to do good.
That very chance was ruined.
And now, when you look at your blog and all the other blogs, maybe there are kids, teenagers who read.
Maybe there are people out there who don’t think its crazy to read all 16 of the books.
And maybe there are people out there who read.
So maybe when in 6th grade when no one I knew was doing OBOB, I didn’t do it because I was scared.
And maybe this year, even though things fell apart because of a broken commitment, and not a broken system.
I do still have a team.
And there are other teams to compete with.
So even though things could have gone better.
There’s still hope.
And so maybe I’m not the only 13 year old who reads.
And maybe I’m not the only 13 year old who writes.
And maybe not even the only 13 year old who blogs.
And maybe now I can start to get over it.
Even though I will never accept that I lost.
Because I didn’t.
I know I won.
And maybe this year.
I can do my best.
And most importantly.
I will read.
Because as long as I can read.
As long as I have access to books.
I have the characters.
I have the stories.
I have the books.
So I will read.
But I won’t forget.
So I will read
But I won’t let go.
So I will read.
And I will read more.
Because I will always read.