the quarantine quad

    Imagine that your basketball team is down three games to two in a best-of-seven championship series. However, the last two games are at home for you ... and your team never loses at home. All of the sudden, a meteorite hits your arena, and it is no longer possible to play the rest of the series at home. Since you were down three to two, is it fair to say you would have lost the championship?

    Imagine now that you're a gymnast with a 0.001 point lead over the second-place competitor with one event left to do. The event is balance beam. You've never scored above an 8; your competitor has never scored below 9. All of the sudden, a meteorite hits the beam, breaking it. In order to finish, someone draws a beam on the floor for your routines. From the safety of the floor, you both score 10s. Are you comfortable calling yourself the winner?

    That's where we ended up in the XM Tour in 2020. At the time when the meteorite hit, we were about two-thirds of the way through the season. We didn't get to go to State MathCounts, we trusted everyone to do MCAA and ICTM remotely, and we couldn't do Juke Box Hero in any way that meant anything. Is this the XM Tour anymore? Kinda ... and we did our best trying to make it work, that's for sure. But when these four kids ended the year just seven points apart, we knew that it would be a crime against three of them to declare the fourth the unquestioned champion.

    It'd be nice if this was one of those years when there's a big gap between the champ and the runner-up ... but it just wasn't. In short, based on the analysis I've done, if any of these four walked up to me and asked who outplayed them, I couldn't convince you ... or myself.

    And so, the Quarantine Quad was born. Alphabetic congratulations to the 2020 quad-champs: Maria Aboujaoude (Quadrant 1), Jerad Diehl (Quadrant 2), Kendall Rice (Quadrant 3), and Seth VanHoosier (Quadrant 4). While it may stink to tie, it stinks more to pull the crown off the rightful head. You know what else stinks? Meteorites!