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At the start of my past year at Stanford, a teammate came up to me to impart some wisdom. He explained that “the team that cheers the loudest usually wins”. I found this fascinating. Over the course of the following season I saw exactly what he meant. If we went into a match cheering loud, we fenced brilliantly. If our cheering waned, so did our performance.

He explained that “the team that cheers the loudest usually wins”.

Here in Vietnam, our camp gets together every week for a competition day. Each one of the four color teams pair off in various academic and athletic competitions. Although it is hard to yell words of encouragement during an exam, it is commonplace in sports.

One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had was from this past competition day. It was raining hard which meant we had to do two of our four sporting events in our roofed sports area, where the floor was sprinkled with puddles. This meant that our exciting basketball and baseball competitions became simple shooting and throwing contests. Although this may seem mundane, it could not have been more fun.

Over the course of the next hour and a half I found myself yelling and cheering alongside my team. I belted my favorite phrase, tap trung! (focus!), far more times than baskets we made. The team could not stop smiling and the atmosphere was electric.

Although I am light years from holding a conversation with any of my students, we could not have been closer in these moments.  In the end we did not win first place in either event, but we did win each other’s love and support.

In the end that’s all that really matters.

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