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Searching for Becca Fisher

When I read about the untimely death of champion chess player Bobby Fisher, I really didn't think much about it. I vaguely remember the movie I saw about him being a chess-playing phenom as a kid, but other than that, the news of his passing didn't make that much of an impression. That is, until this morning.
As we prepared to spend a day running errands or figuring out what to do with our kids, my daughter came running into the den waving a form in my face. "Mommy, my chess teacher said I need to be in this tournament and it's today." Nothing like a little advanced warning.
After re-reading the sheet about five times, I reached the fine print section and noticed that after I forked over $50, my daughter could enter the chess match and compete. Lucky for us, one of her best friends was selected by the teacher to play too, so our friend drove them over in time to register and we decided to meet her there - thinking we'd spend about 1-2 hours watching her play a few rounds.
When we arrived, the hallways were teaming with kids of all ages - from kindergarteners to fifth graders - who knew that chess was so popular? While kids played chess in carefully guarded classrooms, parents were instructed to stay far away from the door so that we didn't screw up their concentration or shout out pointers. If only my dad weren't allowed to watch my tennis matches when I was a kid - I probably would have won a few more games. But back to Becca...
After spending four hours at the school - doing whatever we could to entertain our son (thank you Nintendo), Becca emerged exhausted and victorious. She won the first round, lost the second, tied the third and won the last round - which meant she qualified for a medal! Even better, after all the points were tallied, her school came in first place out of seven other schools - earning them the championship trophy. The parents couldn't have been prouder and the kids were thrilled - for a moment I felt like I was in that "Akeelah and the Bee Movie." As other kids trotted around with private school jerseys and t-shirts promoting their chess club, my happy go lucky kid who attends public school won a medal at her very first chess match. Today the school championship, tomorrow the state!
And just think, I started my day thinking we'd be buying bananas and luncheon meat. Sure I don't have groceries, but I do have a chess-playing daughter who can also crochet, ice skate and is pretty damn good at gymnastics too. My Becca never ceases to amaze me. And that's the ultimate joy of being a parent - watching our kids try their best and pursue the things they love. Gotta bolt...Becca is giving me my very first chess lesson!
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Posted in: Blog, Undercover Mom on 01/19/2008

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