It’s the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded, Kyle’s Grampa would say if he was here.
The Polish judge was the hardest to get a 10 for content out of, but the English judge was a stickler for grammar, spelling, and style. Kyle glanced at his three fellow competitors; the best in the world. The four referees stepped up to the contestants’ shoulders to check that they were starting with a blank screen. The final buzzer was about to sound. His thumbs were poised, his story in his head.
The stadium went quiet as the audience of some 5,000 privileged spectators held their breath.
Kyle was off, his concentration madly centred on not having to backspace. The time limit of five minutes gave him just enough time to finish his story. An incomplete story would cost him content points.
At four and a half minutes the warning beep went, letting the contestants know to finish their final sentence. At the five minute buzzer he hit ‘send.’ His fate was in the hands of the judges. He walked back to his private box on the floor level of the stadium where his coach awaited him with a towel and a bottle of Gatorade. His hands shook as he handed over his phone.
“Go ahead,” said Kyle. “Just don’t tell me if I made any mistakes. I don’t want to know.”
The coach patted him on the back and opened the text. Kyle stared at the floor between his feet. The judges would be twenty minutes at least.
Kyle’s score would be up last according to the giant screen above the heads of the adjudicators. The first guy, wearing a maple leaf-emblazoned toque, scored a respectable 7 from the Polish judge but only a 5 from the English judge. Second, a girl from South Africa, came in a little better with an 8 from Poland and a 7 from the U.K. The third and favourite contestant, from Japan, scored a whopping 9 from each of the difficult judges. Kyle hung his head. There was no way he could beat that.
“Well, you did your best,” said the coach, rubbing Kyle’s back. “For the record, I only found one spelling mis…”
His words were cut off by the roar of the crowd. Kyle looked up and saw tens across the board, all but a nine from the English judge. He’d won!
Kyle stood and pumped his fists. He took the phone from his coach and held it up in the air. He almost threw it to the ground as was the custom in the event, but the coach stayed his hand. As winner of the Tenth Annual World Championship Texting Competition he had the honour – nay, the duty – to send his story to the screen for the world to read.
As he stepped up to the podium to receive his gold medal he gazed at the screen. His words in lights. It’s all he’d ever wanted. He read:
1ce upon a tim there ws a princess. She fel in luv w a frog.
His eyes glazed over with tears before he could reach the spelling mistake that had cost him the final perfect score, but it didn’t matter. What did was that Grampa would be so proud!