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I went to Ateneo early this morning, fully intending to just say hi and then go back home to revamp the network. Doc Mana somehow managed to talk me into joining the students for the morning contest, and I’m very glad I did so.

Yes, Eric and I lost. We solved only three problems compared to the four problems Allan, Mark and Miguel solved. Knowing how rusty I am, knowing how uncertain the dynamics were, it was a no-win kind of thing—but I went and joined it anyway, just for kicks.

I think it turned out really well.

I think we all won.

Winning isn’t just a matter of points. It’s not a matter of beating someone or keeping your reputation intact or whatever. It’s nothing like that at all.

So, yes, the next generation beat me. Yes, they had one additional person, but that doesn’t make their achievement any less cool. Heck, if you’re going to go for absolute ranking, Eric solved more problems than I did. I solved one on my own and made a passable attempt at another; he solved two problems completely.

Someone just looking at the numbers will not understand why I enjoyed that contest so much. I loved it, every single moment of it: from scribbling tentative solutions and working through them with a pen, frowning at stubborn bugs… Yes, even until the last few minutes when I was, like, gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

It was fun.

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