Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's Back!

It's Back! I had been waiting since last February for the annual CERTAMEN competition!!! Certamen is a Latin version of quiz bowl. Last year, I brought my team to the semi-finals, and we scored second place in Northern California, and fourth place in all of California. Yesterday, February 22, 2015, I went back to Saint Ingatius College Prep in San Francisco to battle opposing teams from all Northern California in the fiercest wars.


My hand is shaking, and I loosen the grip on my buzzer. I wipe the sweat off of my hands on my pants. and grip the buzzer again. It is the final round. My team and I, the same group of silly kids from last year, scored second place the previous two rounds, and we were determined to win the next game. "Translate the ablative preposition in this sentence. The chef is in-", announced the proctor, unable to finish because somebody foolishly buzzed in before she could finish. "C1!" she announced. I was startled, I looked over and my teammate Lucas's eyes widened. He gulped, and said, "In... In Culina?" 

"Correct! Even though I didn't finish the sentence, I guess it can be inferred that the chef is, "... in the kitchen."

Lucas gasped. Then, smiled, and started softly singing, "Oh yeah! Unhun, Oh yeah! Go Lucas! I am the best yeah! Unhun!" I face-palmed myself. Lucas loved to indulge himself. It was the next question. "Who locked his daughter in a dungeon-" BEEEEEEP! I buzzed in. "C3!" announced the proctor. I cried "Accrisius! He locked his daughter, Danae in a dungeon, because he heard from an Oracle that his grandson would kill him. In the end, Danae's son, Perseus, did kill him." The proctor said, "That was all correct, and in fact, you answered the bonus questions too. 20 more points for Bentley Middle School!" I mocked Lucas, "Oh yeah, go Ethan! Oh yeah! I got this in the bag! Go Ethan!"


In the end, we won that round by forty-five points. We had 105 points, another team had 60, and the last had 10. We all cheered, and shoved each other around, because that is what silly boys do. We also high-fived each other, and I felt extremely satisfied, because everybody said that I was the MVP (Most Valuable Player), although I thought that everyone did equally as well; it was totally a team effort. Well, I tremendously want to get into the semi-finals, so I hope to write another post when I get there!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Fast Reflex

"My hands trembled as I clicked the green ACCEPT. 3, 2, 1. A voice said, 'Let's roll.'"

I recently got a new video game, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and have been playing it. My friend Michael, who has played this game for 2 years, introduced this game to me. The game has a total of 18 ranks: From Silver 1 to The Global Elite.When I first found out about these ranks, my mouth hung open. There we're so many ranks! I was determined to rank up by playing long, tedious, but fun, 90 minute competitive matches.

"As I joined my first competitive match, I started to shake. I was afraid I would fail, my team would lose, and everybody on it would down rank because of me. I shook the thought away. I was determined to win. When I joined, the game put me on the Terrorist force. The top of my screen displayed: Waiting for Players..." I checked my 'money' and saw that it was full. I excitedly pressed 'b' to open the buy screen. I bought an AK-47, and started to 'Warm-Up'. I practiced getting head shots and controlling my recoil. The map I was playing on was Nuke. I was extremely familiar with the map, because I play on it quite often in casual mode. I noticed that one of my friends was on the same server. I immediately called him. He answered. I said with glee, 'You are on the same competitive match with me! We are even on the same team!'
He replied, 'Great!'

Finally, the time had come, and the game placed us in our respective spawn. We were playing Bomb Scenario, where the Terrorists have to plant a bomb in either A site, or B site. Perspiration was on my forehead. I quickly bought a Kevlar Jacket. I decided that being tense would not help me, especially on the 'pistol round', where nobody has enough money to buy better guns. I mustered up courage to speak into my microphone. I commanded, 'Let's rush B through ramp and sneaky.' That meant that we would all go to B site, either through the common ramp route or through a more sneaky way that meant going across open ground. I desperately hoped that my team would oblige. I felt better when they all agreed, 'Yeah, Sure, Alright!' We went, and fortunately, my plan worked. We all reached B site. When we arrived, we checked all the areas, and no Counter-Terrorist was in sight. We planted the bomb, and a notification popped up on our screen, 'Bomb has been planted. 45 seconds until detonation.' My team suddenly became nervous. I noticed that their movements became more jerky, and they no longer walked, but ran instead, making an abundance of noise. I reassured them, 'Guys, calm down. Two of us can go through ramp and the rest (three) can go through vent.' Both ways eventually led to A site. I climbed up the ladder in the vent, and broke the metal grate. I looked around, saw that nobody was there, then peeked up, checking the rafters for any enemy. It was all clear. That meant that they were closer to the bomb, or were outside. I sneaked closer, and heard footsteps. I turned a corner and started to fire. One Counter-Terrorist dropped dead, but then, I was hit by two others. One had the default Counter-Terrorist pistol, the P2000, but the other had a Five-SeveN, and I was quickly killed. However I did damage to the Five-SeveN holder. I was furious. I shouted to my team, 'One has default and one has Five-SeveN. The Five-SeveN carrier is lit for 63,' which meant that I dealt 63 damage to him.' I clenched my fists. I was too careless. I should have waited for the rest of my team...

It was the final round and now my assigned team was Counter-Terrorist. The score was 15-8. We were in the lead. It was Match Point. I had enough  money to buy an AWP, a slow reload and bad close range weapon, but excellent sniper rifle.

I covered the outside, and saw two enemy snipers. My fingers clenched up, and instinct carried me to safety. Adrenaline rushed through my veins. I wanted to win my first competitive match. I peeked my gun around the crate I was hiding behind and fired. I killed one of them. As I was reloading, the other sniper wall-banged me, shooting me through the wooden crate. I was apoplectic. I switched my weapon to a knife and scrambled away. After being busy fighting the sniper, I realized that there were three enemies and one other team mate left. My teammate killed the sniper, but was soon head shot by the bomb carrier. I started to shake, and became edgy. I thought, 'This is the ultimate test. Can I bring my team to victory?' I changed back to my sniper rifle killed the bomb carrier. Now it was one on one. I had the bomb in my sights, and relaxed a little. If my earlier nervousness could be measured on a scale of one through ten, it definitely would have been an eleven. Now, it was about 9.5. I gulped, and attempted to suppress my apprehension. I climbed onto the rafters at A site so that I would have the high ground, and advantage, while being able to see the bomb on the ground, also an advantage. I noticed movement in my peripheral vision...

It may have been luck, it may have been instinct, or it might have been quick reflexes, but I swiped my mouse across my mouse pad, and head shot the last enemy. No matter what is was, I knew it was just pure awesomeness. I laughed, and cheered. My team congratulated me and praised me. We all said our, 'Good game, and GG.' to each other, and to the other team, but in the end, I felt more satisfied than the others, because I had one my first competitive match."