You see, a couple of weeks ago I read that there was going to be a Guitar Hero competition for kids going into 3rd through 6th grades and I signed him up. You should have seen his almost-nine-year-old version of his happy dance! What he also loved is that instead of his usual 30-minute maximum of video games per day, I told him that since he was "in training" for the competition, he should practice an hour twice a day for the week before the competition.
And did he practice! His dad was kind enough to practice with him often. Notice the faces concentrating so hard during this riff.
After a week of intense training, the day came. I fed him a good lunch with protein and carbs to keep him going, then we were off.
As excited for R that I was, I didn't realize that I'd have to watch (and listen!) to FIVE HOURS of rock and roll! OHMYGoodness, did I ever have a headache when it was over. (I know, I'm old.)
Anyway, this is what we watched for five hours. We saw the backs of two boys for five minutes, then we saw the backs of two different boys for five more minutes. And so on and so on and so on and so on.... for FIVE HOURS.
Each pair of boys played two songs -- each boy got to pick one song that they challenged the other boy to play. You get points for the number of notes you get correct. Some kids were hitting about 70% of the notes correctly, then there were some in the 90%. R is better at some songs than others. He gets from 84%-97% right at home. I crossed my fingers.
When it was R's turn, R picked "The Metal" to play and he hit 96% of the notes correctly (rock on!) His competitor hit about 75% correct.
Then, it was his competitor's turn to pick a song. I held my breath, praying "oh, please be a song that R knows and is good at." The boy picked "Helicopter." I had never heard of it before. I quickly looked at M and he had a big smile on his face. "R rocks this song out!", he said to me. I breathed a sigh of relief. R got 98% of the notes right on that one!! I was a proud mama bear. (R told me afterwards that when he saw that the boy was going to pick "Helicopter," he thought to himself, "Okaa-aayyy, if you really want me to play this song, I'll be glaaad to play it since I LOVE it!")
As they began the competition, they announced that there would be a Best in Show award given to the kid who "rocked out" and had good showmanship during their performance. About an hour into it, we realized that no one was rocking out, so M and I encouraged R to have a blast and do his thing while he performed.
R did some awesome rock-and-roll-kicks when he hit the key chords when transitioning to the bridge of the song (don't I sound oh-so-rock-and-roll-ish with my jargon?)
You can tell by his stance that he was groovin' and rockin' with the rhythm. I was so proud, man! I was cracking up and crying with pride the whole time!
After the first song, I put my camera away so I could watch. That means that you won't be able to see his turning-around-backwards-and playing-without-looking at the screen stunt. It also means that you won't be able to see his "atomic knee drop" that he ended the show with. Let me tell you, I almost peed my pants! It was awesome.
And he was awarded for his awesomeness. He was given the award for Best in Show! Too cool, huh!
Only two boys from each level (Easy, Medium, Hard, Expert) made it to the finals. Believe it or not, but there were two boys who got 100% on one of their songs and they moved on. (I think that they were ringers and should have been competing on Hard, but R's cool with the results.)
T was there the whole time too, playing his Nintendo DS. Once during the competition, they had a competitor who was going to play Easy (R plays Medium) and they needed someone to play him, so T volunteered. He had a great time too and played better than he's ever played at home.
As a matter of fact, his competitor picked a song, Welcome to the Jungle, that he's never played before and he did pretty well on it.