Last week, we wrapped up Year 3 of the March Madness Poetry tournament here at Think, Kid, Think!, with Samuel Kent’s brilliant “A Letter on Behalf of Ampersand” topping J. J. Close’s hilarious “A Penny For Your Thoughts” in the Public Vote 421-281, while the pair split the Authlete Vote (won by Mr. Kent 39-7) and the Classroom Vote (won by Mr. Close 17-6). These results mirrored a pattern that had emerged in Round 1 — frequent and sometimes severe discord between the Public Vote, the Authlete Vote, and the Classroom Vote.
Looking back at the results, in only one-third (21-of-63) of all matchups did a poem sweep the Public, Authlete, and Classroom votes. This means that a full two-thirds of all matchups (42-of-63) featured a split decision of some kind.
Of the 42 split votes, 11 of them featured what I’ll call a “surprise ending” — where an authlete saw themselves leading (or trailing) the Public Vote as time expired only to learn an instant later that BOTH the Authlete Vote and the Classroom Vote sided the other way than the public. Win or lose, I imagine that those were some pretty shocking moments for the 22 authletes who experienced them.
But if those 11 surprise endings were shocking in the moment, the other 31 matchups were shocking in a different and perhaps more significant way. Why? Because it means that in nearly half (31-of-63) of all #MMPoetry matchups, the authletes and the classrooms read the two poems presented and came to different conclusions about which one deserved to win. HALF OF ALL MATCHUPS! Moreover, in 20 of these 31 split contests, the Authlete Vote and/or the Classroom Vote ended in a landslide (where one authlete won at least two-thirds of the votes in that poll), meaning that the discord between the authletes and the classrooms was sometimes rather severe.
Questions for the community:
- What did YOU expect going into the event in terms of alignment between authletes and classrooms?
- What do YOU think contributed to the high frequency of split votes between authletes and classrooms?
All hypotheses welcome! Please comment below and share the post with others who you think might have an opinion. Next week, I’ll introduce some data to support or contradict your hypotheses.