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AlbertJayNock

More on yesterday

My programming team competed on the campus of Radford University. There were other teams in the mid-atlantic area competing at other sites.

Radford is a fairly small campus. I don't think it's much bigger than the high school I went to. At the beginning of the day, all of the contestants and coaches met in a room called an auditorium, which was actually a very large classroom. We also had lunch (Subway) and dinner (Dominos) there.

Three people talked to us. The first was the regional director of the contest, a small Asian man with a fairly thick accent. Most of what he said was a pep talk. He said he hoped at least one team made it to the world finals in Warsaw, Poland, and that he wanted that team to win the world title for America. He said that America had not won the world competition in a long time, and it was about time that a country besides China or Russia won. This guy was even more unfashionably pro-American than I am. (America last won in 1997.)

The other two speakers were the local contest director,a Chinese woman, and the dean of Radford's college of Science and Technology. The dean's very southern accent was an interesting counterpoint to the two Asian accents.  The group of speakers had the kind of diversity you could get in a small southern college without any government coercion. Because of them, I will wince a little less the next time I hear the D-word.

I spoke to the regional director in the hallway a bit later. I told him I liked his speech a lot and asked if he was from. He said he was from Burma (and he did say "Burma" and not "Myanmar".) I said he seemed to take more pride in America than a lot of people who were born here. He answered "this is my country." I couldn't help but wonder how many native-born Americans could say that without blushing. He's an impressive man, and I'm glad he came here.

  As for the contest itself, the coaches all stayed in the auditorium during the actual competition. It's not like a football game where the coaches are actually coaching during the game. We just get them ready. I had brought along a book and some tests to grade, occasionally looking at the results on a big screen. (There were also college football games on the other side of the big screen...it was wall-to-wall collegiate competition.) My team didn't do so well.  I'm not going to say much more about that here. Maybe I could have coached them more, or differently. Hopefully I'll be able to coach again next year and use the things I learned from this competition.

For those wanting to learn more about the programming contest in general, here's a link:

http://cm.baylor.edu/welcome.icpc

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