28 September 2009

Math Team (Rant?)

A/N: This is the result of my boredom and thinking a little about math team…

I have been a lucky math team member to have gone on all trips since frosh year (this can't be said for many people on math teams of other schools :P).  Even though I am one of the better people at math in my grade, the bigger reason is that Mr. Holbrook tries to bring everyone on trips. I remember going on my first trip, Harvard-MIT Math Tournament. I spent the evening with Hannah torrenting and watching a Naruto episode :) ahh good times…

Recently, the topic of bringing waaaaaay too many people to trips came up again as we were preparing for Duke registration. Mr. Holbrook had asked the Duke people if he could bring more teams. We all thought they were going to stick with the team limit, but it turns out that they're lifting the team limit! :O ZOEMGEE WTF ASDLKFJIOEU;ASDFJK;LSWEFIOA!@#$!@ Yeah. We were all shocked by their responses, though only Holbrook was ecstatic about it. He shared the great news with me the other day:
Holbrook: Sherry!!!! Did you know that Duke is letting us bring an UNLIMITED number of teams??? This is gonna become one of our signature trips!! You know that we're gonna bring the whole lot right?!
Me: (fml expression on face)
people near the area (Alex Zhu and his friends): lmao @ my expression
Then it occurred to me when I was talking to Alex about Duke and bringing a boatload of people to competitions. Part of the conversation went like this:

Alex: yeah
what do you think
about the team thing
  i mean like holbrook
  just does it to make math look fun
  the kids go
  omg math TRIPS are fun
 me: and fail
 Alex: but
  the TRIPS
  is the key part
 me: yeah
 Alex: which is the reason
  they're useless
 me: and they're willing to pay too
 Alex: yes
  because parents go
 me: which is sad
 Alex: must be MATH
  when they see the wrong word
  and it's not like
  bringing so many teams is inherently wrong
  it's just
 me: still people will go if they're unofficial

I really want to do something about limiting the number of people that go on trips. Contest staff and other teams won't hate us for not bringing so many people and managing the trip would be quite a bit easier. Like any other attempt to change, there are drawbacks. Because Holbrook insists that going on trips is a good experience for math team members, we should be *happy* that a lot of people are going. Yeah right >_>. Like half of the people that go don't produce much and are there just because it's a trip and trips are fun. It's OK to be on math team and be bad at math, but if you aren't willing to work to become better (which the open trips encourage), then you should not deserve to go on trips.

Well then, why are there so many lazy bums at math team? Two things: parents (1) and donuts (2).
1. Parents think that having on their kid is something special, something to be proud of. It is, if you actually work and are on the winning team. Cheering on the sidelines for the Mu A does not make you speshul (but getting an award does =]).
2. I think that math team is so large is due to the donuts. Yes donuts. Every weekend, a math team parent goes to Dunkin' Donuts to buy about twelve (maybe more) boxes of donuts. They're gone in an hour, at most. I know that some people have more than one donut, but that's still a good number of people who eat donuts. I'm sure that if the parents stop buying donuts, chips, candy, and soda, then roughly half the people from math team will drop out and we won't have to bring eight teams to ARML!

I even have proof (um, wha??!?!?!?!?) of my second point. From the Unofficial BCA wiki:
…The method of training is interesting. It varies from going to Boston Market to playing Starcraft. In order to fulfill their laziness, Mr. Holbrook, the teacher who leads the AAST Math Team, provides kids with free soda and snacks. However, it is rather used as a big trap to lure the kids into the team. Nonetheless, most kids do not recognize this fact.
[Un]surprisingly, there are quite a few people against bringing so many people on trips, including one of the math teachers. Admittedly, these people are on the flagship team. (who wants to deny themselves an overnight trip or two?!)

So. Apparently talking Holbrook doesn't do anything because he insisted that anyone who does not want AAST taking so many people simply should not go on the trips. There is no way in hell any of us would risk our trip privileges to prove our point (unless we're supersuicidal). And if we did get fired, we wouldn't have a backup team to compete with.

Meh. Whatever. I won't be there for much longer, so long live AAST Math Team!


  1. What's special about winning awards? :P
    [/obligatory poke]





  3. Good job. You just made me blind :D.

    (oh sh*t, I'm starting to see strange things now. DARN YOU)