Volleyballs, Parabolas, Science Fairs, Crazy, and I

When I first saw a docu in Nat Geo about the Maglev train, I remembered something from my own life. #nostalgia 

My School held a  Science Fair almost five years ago. The topic of my Group’s presentation was Physics Behind Volleyball (whaaaaa?! Seriously?!). Now, let me be honest, I’d never watched a real game of Volleyball in my whole friggin’ life (watching a bunch of kids throw a ball high in the air doesn’t count).

I took a look at the topics that other teams had, and they were infinitely better off than us. They got topics like “Solar Energy and its Uses”, “Hydroelectricity and its Advantages” etc. #lifeisunfairsometimes

And here I was, the Group Leader of a bunch of girls who knew nothin’ about Volleyball either. #responsibility

Suddenly, we found ourselves watching old Olympic Games Volleyball Matches videos in Youtube, though, to be honest, none of us cared to know about the rules. We were not planning on becoming Volleyball Experts or aficionados. We were only watching the players move. We took notes, had group chats on Google+ (ah, good old days!) late into the night. I got one of the more artistically inclined girls in my group to trace the path of the ball on paper the way it looked on a frozen screen. #teamwork


We weren’t supposed to take help from teachers, but I persuaded (read: needled) them until they gave in. My Physics teacher told me that the path of the ball is a Parabola. #panic I knew next to nothin’ ’bout Parabolas. And off I went, tearing into the library. I was in Ninth Grade and I was going through Physics books that held lengthy explanations about Parabolic Paths, Oblique Projections, and Horizontal Projections. In Ninth Grade, we’d just started with Trig, learning the SOHCAHTOA. And here I was reading about Trigonometric Equations and a bunch of stuff I’d never heard of before. I was supposed to be the presenter, yunno explain what we are doing to the judges and all, and I had only three days left to get my shit straight.

Well, I’ll cut the story short and just say that the judges weren’t exactly what one would call “Scientists”. I mean, there was one judge, just one, who had worked at this Research Facility in the Canary Islands with the Magic Telescope and all, but the other two judges were each from the Police Department and an Administrative Officer from the Govt. #WTF

Now, look, I’m not going to stereotype people or anything. But, come on! Only the Scientist judge had even remotely understood anything as I tried to explain the mathematical model of the trajectory of the Volleyball after its serve. The other two judges’ eyes simply glazed over.

Sure enough, the Solar Energy team won the prize (it was a cool gold medal). And I was left with a Bronze, Volleyball, Parabolic Diagrams, and new knowledge about sine and cos theetas for our efforts. But, hey, I did come out with something albeit not gold literally but figuratively. #halfglassfull

As to why the Maglev Train docu reminded me of this incident will be discussed in another post 😉 Stay tuned, folks!




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