Did you ever master the Rubix cube as a child? This weekend I found myself watching my sons (7 and 10 years) compete against the best ‘speed cubers’ across the globe, at the World Cubing Association Competition in Guildford, UK. The WCA event was a great example of the focus, talent and commitment of young people, individually competing fiercely against the clock, while still supporting one other in the pursuit of new records and higher accolade. Competitors, mostly aged between 10 to 20 years, competed not only at the classic 3x3 cube but the off-spring cubes such as the 2x2 Cube, 4x4 Cube, 5x5 Cube, as well as 3x3 One-Handed, the Megaminx, Pyraminx, and blind folded 3x3 (yes, I too was slightly confused how you solve a cube blindfolded!).
While it is easy to marvel at the skill of these top cubers, some who can solve the cube in under 4 seconds, there is also much to admire about the behaviour, approach and spirit among these young people.
The whole event, organised by youth volunteers passionate about cubing, was delivered with military precision; efficient, friendly and inclusive. As most parents at the event are without much cubing knowledge, children turned to one another for advice and support. It is a space where children are the clear experts in the field and those, like me, who never mastered it, can only sit back in wonder and listen to a new language of algorithms, solves and rotations.
My sons became fascinated by cubing about a year ago and have become completely committed to it – getting faster by the day and taking on increasingly more complicated challenges. It was a proud day indeed for me when my younger son appeared to be the youngest competitor, solving his cube in well under a minute, and my eldest got a new personal best of 5.58 seconds on the 2x2 and hit 24 seconds on the 3x3! But I was equally proud to see them integrate into a community where everyone worked together to help each other improve. They demonstrated skills that will equip them extremely well for their futures - resilience, commitment, organisation and teamwork, to name but a few. Congratulations to all those who came along, cubed and conquered.