The Battle of LEGO Domination

The competition was characterized by a distinct, no-holds-barred, cutthroat atmosphere. The National Convention of Prep-School School Bus Racers? The Cluster Violence finals, hosted by Athletic Equipment Manager Blaine F. Austin? No. Last Saturday, Phillips Academy hosted its annual Lego Contest, a trial of both brawn and wits that routinely brings competitors to their knees, on the brink of total exertion. The tournament consisted of three preliminary contests followed by a final round with the three victors. Each round, lasting twenty minutes, carried a theme for the teams to expound upon. The winning team received a hundred dollars worth of gift certificates, fifty from Bertucci’s, and fifty from Savour Kitchen. Competitors and spectators alike had various reasons for participating and observing in the contest. Lawrence Dai ’09 was quite a draw, as Emma Little ’09 said, his “debonair air of aristocracy and sophistication” drew her to the contest. Walker Washburn ’08 averred, “girls dig a guy that can play with Legos.” Sebastian Caliri ’08 declared that his presence at the contest was an attempt to recapture “childhood memories.” Levels of training varied. While Little and her teammates admitted they were “totally unprepared,” certain competitors researched online at Jake Beam ’08 said, “several members of our team spent a year in Italy training in high-altitude conditions on the top of a mountain, learning finger-warming techniques.” Beam shared that at the training complex, members of the team occasionally “made food out of Legos.” Controversy ruled the day out in the field. After a tough loss, Lawrence Dai ’09 characterized his feelings with regards to the decisions as “extremely bitter”. He lamented, “When it comes to Legos, morality goes out the wind – the intensely competitive atmosphere robbed Legos of their innocence.” After several hotly contested preliminaries, three teams advanced to the final round. Early on, the Junior team of Carl Jackson, David Lowenstein, Bowen Qiu, and Andi Zhou appeared as favorites although Lowers Ben Lacetti, Chip Schroeder, Teddy Curran, and Jake Bean, under the motto “We Can Build Anything But A Girlfriend,” were closely behind. Team Zissou, the Upper squad consisting of Ahmet Taner, Reilly O’Brien, Alex Schwartz, and Colin Dunn, was also in hot pursuit. In discussing strategy prior to the finals, Schroeder philosophized, “I see building Legos as a battlefield – you’ve got to keep your head on a swivel, while maintaining your composure and focusing on finesse.” Carl Jackson stated he would rely mostly on “brute force” when the competition got fierce. In the end, the age and experience of Team Zissou proved impenetrable, and the exuberant Uppers emerged victorious, winning with a moving Ferris Wheel. Reilly O’Brien stressed the importance of their team dynamic, stating that he was “the right hand, Colin was the left hand, Alex was the skeletal structure, and Ahmet served as the heart that pumped the blood.” Said Captain Alex Schwartz, “there was some tough competition, the best of the best of the best, but we held it together, we kept our composure, and that was the key to our success.” Schwartz’s final words were humble, as he contended that he would “like to thank the judges, first of all, God, my parents, teammates, especially Dunn, here, who never lost faith, and remained tough when the stress was on. I would say we won with pride and grace.”