The Rockwood Files: Academic football

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By Gwen Rockwood, syndicated columnist and mama of 3

Ours is not what you’d call a “sports family.” We like to watch college football and basketball and our kids compete in a few swim meets during the summer, but we’re not hard-core about it. We don’t take the kids to a practice every day, and we don’t do travel teams. In the South, that almost makes us weird.

Most parents we know have the opposite situation. They’re constantly shuttling one or more kids to practice, and on weekends they go from one game or tournament to the next. During spring, there are some “baseball mom” friends I don’t see for months, unless I track them down at a ball field or a game gets rained out.

quiz bowl logo225But last weekend we got a taste of what it’s like to watch an intense game from the sidelines. Tom and I helped chaperone 12 high school students on our son’s quiz bowl team to an out-of-town competition to play for the state championship.

When people ask us what sports or activities our kids are into and we say the words “quiz bowl,” most of them nod their head as if they sort of understand what we’re talking about but not really. They get the vibe that it’s nerdy and a little like Jeopardy, and then the conversation typically moves on to other subjects.

academic football250What they don’t realize is that a quiz bowl match is like academic football. It’s brain-to-brain combat, and only the smartest, most well-prepared team prevails. There are opportunities for individual players to shine, but the game is won or lost as a team – with two of the four rounds of the game dependent on team collaboration.

Each quiz bowl game has 70 questions, but the players and coaches have no idea what the questions will be. The topics can range anywhere from polyatomic ions to Oscar winners. So teams prepare by building a wide range of knowledge and learning how to “blitz,” which is what they call it when someone hits their buzzer and answers a question long before the entire question has been asked.

This weekend I was continually amazed when, after hearing only four to five words of a question, a player would buzz in and blurt out “General Douglas MacArthur!” and he or she would be right.

These players have no Google or Wikipedia pages to help them, and, like actual football, there are occasional fumbles – when a player buzzes in but then goes blank on the answer. There are also “extra points” and “challenges,” similar to what happens in football when referees review a play. In this game, knowledge, anticipation and rapid recall are as critical as strength, agility and endurance are in football.

And just like football or basketball, quiz bowl games can come down to a single play or buzzer beater. One match I watched last weekend was decided on the last question, tipping the victory over to the team whose score had mostly trailed up until those last few crucial seconds.

During our school’s final game, we didn’t win the state championship. The opposing team had more experience, speed and confidence. But the loss will make our team stronger and smarter next year, and I have a feeling that this year’s disappointment will lead to next year’s domination.

I’m glad I got a chance to get to know the kids on the team because they’re brilliant, quirky, incredible people headed for big things in life. I can’t wait to see the positive ways in which they’ll make their mark on the universe someday.

Just when you worry that the world is turning into a Kardashian-loving cesspool of self-indulgence, you meet teenagers who make you realize that the next generation has plenty of promise. It has people who love to learn, compete and excel – people who are as kind as they are intelligent. And that’s a combination that makes me feel infinitely better about the future.

Go team.

gwen rockwoodGwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

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Above & Beyond in Northwest Arkansas: Metro Appliances & More

Above and Beyond, Cox

Last month we launched a new category for the website called “Above & Beyond in Northwest Arkansas.” This category features stories about local companies doing extraordinary things for our corner of the state.

metro appliances and more logo 680As mothers, we know loyalty counts, so we pay attention to companies who are loyal to customers and the communities in which they do business. This month we’re shining a light on the long list of things Metro Appliances & More does for non-profit organizations and schools in Northwest Arkansas. Here’s a glimpse of what’s going on behind-the-scenes at Metro.

Children Advocacy Center Sky Dive – Metro sponsored a local skydiver to raise money for  the Children’s Advocacy Center of Benton County. Check out the jump picture!

Sky Dive photo1690Veteran’s Memorial – Metro made a large donation towards the construction of a Veteran’s Memorial in honor of Pea Ridge VFW Post 8109.  The post provides assistance to schools and local veterans as needed.

Ronald McDonald House Charity — Metro donated ALL of the kitchen appliances for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of ARKOMA in Fort Smith, Rogers and the new house in Fayetteville. Check out how good the appliances look in their new Ronald McDonald home:

Ronald McDonald house1Ronald McDonald House Charities Celebrity Chef Throwdown — Metro sponsored this event and provided the cooking appliances for the celebrity chefs from NWA, which raised money for RMHC.

AquaHawgs Swim Team — Metro was the Presenting Sponsor for the swim team’s Bingo Night and is an ongoing volunteer and helps with financial support.

Granny’s Quilts of Love — Metro served as a sponsor of this project.

Kirksey Middle School Fun Night — Metro was the Photo Booth Sponsor for this school fundraiser.

NWA Mom Prom — Metro donated a washer and dryer set to the 2015 NWA Mom Prom charity raffle, which raised money for a local non-profit group called Saving Grace, which gives young women who have aged out of the foster care system an affordable place to live plus mentoring, job preparation training, spiritual support and more.

Monetary donations — Metro has given financial contributions to organizations including  the Children’s Safety Center, First Friends Craft Pint for Half Pints, Rogers High School and product donations for the Prairie Grove High School.

We’re sending out a huge thank you to Metro Appliances & More for their ongoing support of non-profits, schools and kids’ sports teams in Northwest Arkansas. We’re so proud to have you as a sponsor of nwaMotherlode.com.

Speaking of HUGE, have you seen the new building that Metro will be moving into soon? It’s enormous, and we can’t wait to give you a sneak peek inside the new store. Watch for that info coming in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s a shot of the new Metro location, which you can see from Interstate 49. It’s so pretty at night!

metro at nightDo you know of or work for a company in Northwest Arkansas that is going “above and beyond” to help give back to our community? If so, click HERE to send us an email about it. We may feature that company in an upcoming post for “Above & Beyond in NWA.”

Cox is the sponsor of “Above & Beyond in NWA,” a series of articles highlighting a wide range of local companies doing great things for those in need in our communities. The company believes that the assistance it offers to local charities is vital to the success of the company and the enrichment of the communities it serves in Arkansas.

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The Friday 5: Things to do this weekend in Northwest Arkansas

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Looks like the weather is going to keep everyone inside this weekend, so we looked around for the most fun ways to keep your whole family occupied during the deluge! Don’t forget to take a few minutes to check out our 2017 NWA Summer Camps Guide! Before we know it, the rain will be gone and hot, hot summertime will be here!

Zing Adventures at Scott Family Amazeumamazeum bolt

This Saturday, take your kids ages 4-6 to the Amazeum for a morning of learning about the Sun! Inspired by the Amazeum’s outdoor nature space, kids will learn about the Sun’s energy and shadows. Little learners will investigate the phenomenon of UV light and use tools like as UV beads to detect invisible energy from the Sun. Kids will also get to participate in the story Moonbear’s Shadow by Frank Asch, which explores how the position of the sunlight affects the size, shape, and position of shadows.

$10 Amazeum member child + adult caregiver
$15 non-member child + adult caregiver

*Adult, age 18 or older, must accompany child during the workshop. Advanced registration and payment required.

Date: Saturday, April 29

Time: 9 to 10am

Location: Scott Family Amazeum, Bentonville

More info: Click here

Sporks, Spears, and Spatulas at 21cBentonville3D printing with kids

The 21c Museum Hotel and NWA3D are hosting a family-friendly event this weekend to encourage kids to get excited about technology and 3D printing. Families will be led through the basics of CAD modeling—how you use computers to create 3D models to feed into a 3D printer—to create a custom utensil, like a spork, spear, or spatula. The Hive restaurant will be providing light food so that kids can test out their utensils. Plus, you’ll get to take home your unique creations!

Date: Saturday, April 29

Time: 9am to 1pm

Location: 21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville

More info: Click here

Super Saturday: Save the Frogs Dayfrog

Save the Frogs Day is an international day of awareness, to teach people how to enjoy and help the conservation of frog species. At this library event, kids will get to learn about amphibians and see all kinds of frogs! Great for the science and nature lovers in your house. This event is free and open to all families.

Date: Saturday, April 29

Time: 10:30 to 11:30am

Location: Fayetteville Public Library

More info: Click here

Mother + Son Candyland Party and Dance 

Mamas, do you wish you could have some quality time with your little boy(s)? The Bentonville Parks & Rec team is throwing a Candyland themed mother and son dance this weekend so you can! They will have dinner, dancing, a DJ, a photo booth, candy, crafts, and more. This will be a sweet way to make memories with your little man!

Date: Saturday, April 29

Time: 5 to 7pm

Location: Bentonville Community Center

More info: Click here

Tabletop Game Day at Barnes & Noble

This Saturday is International Tabletop Game Day, and Barnes & Noble (Rogers) is kicking off their #BNGamingMeetup season with a game event. Head to their store to play and demo tabletop games with fellow fans, and enter to win prizes in the giveaway! This free community event is perfect for older kids and teens who love board games and video games (ages 8 and up are welcome).

Date: Saturday, April 29

Time: 6 to 8pm

Location: Barnes & Noble (Rogers)

More info: Click here

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Black Apple Crossing events this weekend:

The 5 events above offer some great options for the family, but if you have a sitter this weekend — and you’re in need of a date night or a Girls’ Night Out — our Friday 5 sponsor, Black Apple Crossing, always has a fun line-up of events during the week and on weekends.

This weekend they’ll host Rockabilly Review (tonight, Friday, April 28), and local favorite Jeff Kearney performing A Songwriter’s Showcase (Saturday night, April 29). Ciderday Night Live music events happen almost every Saturday night. They also have Taco Tuesdays, trivia nights and book club events during the week!

Black Apple Crossing is the state’s first cidery. It’s located in downtown Springdale off Emma Avenue just past mile marker 13. Black Apple Crossing has produced naturally gluten-free hard apple cider with no added sulfites or other preservatives since July 2015.

Click here to visit the Black Apple Crossing website. BAX’s newest cider is Upside Down, a pineapple cider!

Upside Down cider

New Jones Center fitness center opens, offers free access for a week

Jones Center fitness center

To celebrate the opening of the new Tyson Foods Fitness Center, the Jones Center is giving everyone in the community FREE access to the fitness center from Tuesday, May 30th, to Sunday, June 4th, to try it out. Mark your calendars so you can enjoy all the new goodies with zero cost!

What’s new:

The fitness center has tripled in size and they’ve added a hot yoga studio, more machines and new free weight options. This is a state-of-the-art facility located inside The Jones Center in downtown Springdale. Fitness memberships start at $90/year or a payment plan of just $8/month.

The Jones Center gymnasium is a multi-use complex including a full size basketball/volleyball court, aerobics/dance and gymnastics studio, four-lane walking/jogging track and locker rooms with showers.

The Fitness Center is located on the Center’s main level. The facility features all new equipment including cardio machines, Cybex strength machines, Synergy and a variety of dumb bells and medicine balls.

Click here for more info on the Facebook event page. Click here to visit the Jones Center website.

5 Minutes with a Mom of 5: Denni Palmer

Denni Palmer family

5 Minutes with a Mom logo 2017, FNBNWA 525

Name:

Denni Palmer

Kids’ names and ages:

Gretchen (16), Kirsten (14), Katrina (13), Teasha (11), and Jason (almost 10) and should add my husband, Carl.  :)

Tell us what it’s like to have such a big family: 

It can be wonderful and chaotic all in the same day.  It does take some coordination but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

How long have you lived in NWA and what brought you here?

My parents moved here in 1987 while I was in college and I followed them here and went to the UofA.  I went off to seminary after college and met an Ohio boy who loved me and the Ozarks.  We pastored in central and southern Arkansas before moving to Elm Springs is 2003 and then Fayetteville in 2012.

Tell us about your work at Mount Sequoyah:

Mount SequoyahI am the Christian Education and Spiritual Formation Coordinator.  I work with church groups, mission teams, trainings, and weddings.  Since my call to ministry was first vocalized when I attended an event here in college, I feel like I am working in the right place.

What was the last thing you laughed out loud about?

Underwear.

OK, we need you to elaborate on that whole “underwear” answer, Denni! :)

So my oldest daughter and another teen girl were discussing some amazing new underwear one of them found at the mall.  My husband and both of the girls’ boyfriends tried to imitate the conversation in guy terms. We laughed until our sides hurt!

If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

Multitasking.

What’s your favorite “me time” spot?

For relaxing it is the water but for a fun activity I love exploring Hobby Lobby.

zebra origamiIf you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Kenya. I was there on a mission trip in seminary and fell in love with the country, people, and zebras.

How would your best friends describe you?

Willing to help.

What’s your favorite movie and why?

I love The Inn of the Sixth Happiness about a missionary in China because she overcomes some incredible circumstances. More recently, I love Beauty and the Beast and any adventure move.

What’s something that always puts a smile on your face?

When my kids make an off-the-wall observation or do something sweet.

What’s something you’re looking forward to?

It a self-cleaning house too much to hope for? I do enjoy each day and what lies ahead.

musicWhich hobby would you like to pick up again?

Writing music.

What do you most want people to remember about you?

Creative and caring.

One word to sum me up:

Blessed.

Our many thanks to First National Bank of NWA for sponsoring this feature, which celebrates all the unique moms here in Northwest Arkansas! CLICK HERE to visit the FNBNWA website or follow them here on Facebook. FNBNWA is a full-service bank and has multiple branches, including:

  • fnb small logo801 N Dixieland Road, Rogers, 479-621-6800
  • 3706 Pinnacle Hills Pkwy, Rogers, 479-464-9060
  • E. Pleasant Grove Rd., Lowell, 479-659-7100
  • 350 E. Centerton Blvd., (Hwy 102), Centerton, 479-795-4200
  • 2638 E Joyce, Suite 1 Fayetteville, 479-856-7800