The following presentation has been formatted to fit your screen (sidenote: man, I miss the nineties).
Note: for those of you who live under a rock and hence don't have a clue what DI is:
First of all, do not fret; nine tenths of the world is in your boat... which probably implies that it's a sunken boat, and in that case I apologize. Not.
Hmm. I switched idioms within a single sentence. Attention spans are overrated.
Second, please take a moment to explore the world.
“WHERE IS THE DUCT TAPE?!” Panicking, I shout to Anna, who at that moment is lost in a tornado of white sheets and obviously doesn’t know where the sticky roll has escaped to in the last thirty seconds since she used it. After precious minutes lost, it is rescued from a cardboard box of ancient afghans, glass test tubes, and carefully drafted scripts. Monique and I frantically assemble a backdrop, hanging six painted panels onto an out-of-place closet rack with zip ties, eye hooks, and the prized blue adhesive. Phoebe stumbles awkwardly around a camping cot, coaching
Nine days. We have one week and two days to finish—or start—preparing for the regional Destination Imagination competition, the first in the sequence. Nine days. The current draft of the script reads, in full, “The time has come,” the opening line. Well, the time has come—the time to create set, dialogue, costumes, and on-stage chemistry that strikes an audience and authenticates a scene.
“Could you just stop YELLING at each other?” Nine days. We have argued through the past three months, forever disagreeing on everything imaginable pertaining to our skit. Time wanes. It is impossible. We have nothing to showcase except mere ideas. Mere ideas don’t win competitions. Nine days.
Ten minutes to show time. I am ready. This is my element. The last traces of nerves trickle away, butterflies flutter anywhere but my stomach. We wait. Monique jokes about the resemblance between her costumed character, the formulaic, quirky scientist, and our dorky AP Chemistry teacher back in
“Hey, what was that for?!” Anna, sparkling head-to-toe in varying shades of green, snaps my red suspenders and flees my wrath, seeking refuge behind the backdrop we will carry onstage.
“Shhh!” Here, we simply exchange our boisterous clowning for silent laughter characteristic of only the best of friends.
“AUDIENCE, are you ready?” Cheering.
“APPRAISERS, are you ready?” A clever response.
“TEAM, are you READY?” The Michigander announcer clad in a brightly-colored vest and top hat and pinned with a nametag that reads, Hello, my name is NOT DAN, inquires enthusiastically.
“Ceud mìle fáilte,” A Hundred Thousand Welcomes in Gaelic, the seven of us recite, inviting an audience of friends, family, appraisers, and complete strangers to the performance of our Irish tale here on the world’s stage at the Olympics of Creativity.
A verbal explanation of Destination Imagination is devoid of meaning. I robotically recite to those who ask, “DI is a creative problem solving group where teams of up to seven members create an eight-minute skit to solve a challenge,” but both I and the inquirer leave the conversation with a certain uneasiness. One cannot explain DI—one must live DI to comprehend the true essence, and even an eight-year veteran finds new phenomena within the program and within herself each year. A simple sentence does no justice to that which could be—and is—told through thousands of participants’ undocumented scripts, complex memories, and indescribable experiences. What I can do, however, is transmit my own to whomever I know. I cannot define DI, but I can share my experiences and define the results to a friend, intoxicating both a listener and myself with memories while spreading the spirit of DI.
Somewhere between the formation of the tossed salad of a seven-membered team in September and the unfathomable feeling sitting on the floor of a stadium stacked one hundred tiers high with twenty thousand people all extremely different, crazy, bizarre, and incredibly diverse yet all gathered at Destination Imagination Global Finals, I discovered why I live, why I have come to love these people, why I believe in a higher power, and simply why. I live for the moments that, among my fellows—those who proudly proclaim, “I DO DI,”—I feel alive and radiant, and through this, Destination Imagination becomes an enthralling lifestyle rather than a mere extracurricular activity. I am living DI, and I can—and will—breathe energy, through creativity, into the few corners of the world not yet reached.