Tough Parenting

Santa Monica High School competed admirably Saturday at the National Ocean Science Bowl Regionals at USC. They learned some life lessons during an exhausting day, and so did I.

The team, led by fellow Bruin alum and biology teacher Ingo Gaida, has a history of success in the event, including a national championship and a top five placing. The regional, run by USC and JPL, included schools from Los Angeles and Orange counties. My son Zack serves as  the marine biology expert on the team so I decided to watch my fellow ocean nerds in action. The grueling competition started at 8 a.m. and didn’t finish until after 6 p.m. Samohi played about ten 45-minute matches before the final outcome. I have a chronic heart condition, atrial fibrillation, and the contest put my ticker to the test.

Samo’s team, made up of senior Sky Crane and three juniors including my son, Dana Ritchie and Madeline Youngs, won its first seven games easily before running in to Arcadia High’s team. Those brainiacs squeaked by Samo by seven points. Because it was a double elimination tourney, Samo still had a chance. The kids won another game before facing their arch-nemesis again. This time Samo beat Arcadia setting up a winner-take-all final game. The champs would get a free trip to Florida to compete in nationals.

I’m a huge sports fan, a homer that suffers with every Lakers, Dodgers and Bruins loss. (Don’t get me going on the current Lake Show roadie — a roadie with No D!) I couldn’t even watch the final game because of the pressure. I couldn’t even imagine how the 16- and 17-year old kids felt.

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