Editor's Note: Competition on the brain

I’ve got competition on my mind.

Last weekend was the Castle Challenge between DeKalb and Sycamore high schools. The schools do a good job getting their students pumped up about the rivalry; my first-grader came home gushing that basketball players, cheerleaders and dancers had all visited his classroom, telling the kids how great the game was going to be and how much he wanted to go. He’s not all that interested in basketball, but the kid loves some good hype.

But we missed the game because there was another competition looming larger in his young life: his first-ever pinewood derby was the next morning, and the night of the game was also the night he was to check in his car and do a test run.

He really wanted a trophy. In an effort to minimize his disappointment later, we reminded him he was competing against kids who had done this before, who maybe knew more about designing derby cars than we did.

He came in third and got his trophy anyway. I guess he showed us.

There was a chance the Sycamore Spartans dance team might have missed the Castle Challenge, too, because they, too, had a more personal competition going on. Both the Sycamore team and the dance team from Hinckley-Big Rock High School were competing in the first-ever IHSA competitive dance state tournament the same day.

Dance teams have been around for years, but 2012-2013 is the first year competitive dance has been recognized as an IHSA-sanctioned sport.

“I was really excited about it. I always have this argument with the boys that dance isn’t a sport, but it definitely is,” H-BR junior Taylor Kaurin said.

For dancers, it’s a nice bit of recognition for the hours of effort they put into dance and for the injuries and other tolls it can take on their bodies. Though neither Sycamore nor H-BR advanced to the finals, both teams were part of history by making the tournament at all. And Sycamore did make it home in time to perform at the Castle Challenge.

Finally, the last competition on my mind is actually a series of contests. I won’t go into how irritated the NHL lockout and resulting months-long hockey drought made me. Let’s just say I’m happy that, shortened or not, there is indeed a hockey season.

Not only is there a season, but as of this writing, the Chicago Blackhawks are off to a franchise-best 6-0 start. (They take on the Minnesota Wild Wednesday; here’s hoping I didn’t just jinx them.)

But after watching the first game of the season (or most of it; I had a sick child at home and spent a lot of time running between the living room and his room) I haven’t managed to watch another all the way through. Kids, weather, late starts – something has gotten in the way for the last five games.

Now I’m almost afraid to watch, because if their winning streak snaps, I’ll feel like it was my fault.

In “Local man puts his twist on spice blends” on page 8 of the Jan. 23 MidWeek, Jim Hancock was incorrectly identified as Jim Hughes. The MidWeek regrets the error.

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