Sometimes it takes that cold third eye to analyze a problem. Inadvertently, Mark became that third eye when he came to College Grove, Tennessee, to snap photos of the Chicks in Charge in action. It wasn’t until I got home and started reviewing the photos that I noticed an alarming trend.
So, here we are at the beginning of turn-in. My category is chicken and I am placing each piece of my entirely overdone chicken, which I know is overdone because it finished cooking an hour and a half before I turned it in, with the precision of a very bad surgeon. You will notice the entire team – Roxanne, Linda and Kim (filling in for Mary Ann) are observing with keen interest. And offering comments.
Now you will start noticing something that has completely escaped me up until now. Here is Rox doing her rib box. And everyone is still there. Offering comments. We each have a category but we don’t all have to be within three inches of the box at all times, do we? All the time offering comments during the most stressful part of the competition. Well, do we?
Apparently we do. It may not have occurred to us that our helpful comments are just muddying the waters of an already silt-laden pond. As Linda puts her pork in the box, do we really need to start a debate about it? We are all Type A women, but do we need to exhibit it at every friggin’ moment? One or two of us should really just step back and have a beer.
But we do not. We are all still here! Now, admittedly Kim was extremely nervous about slicing the brisket because this was her first competitive barbecue contest ever in her life. But perhaps one spiritual adviser would have been enough. The problem with the Chicks is that we do this at every contest I’m now realizing. We do not allow solo sinking or swimming. We all want to contribute, mostly to our downfall.
I will now start in with the excuses. Yes, it’s true that we only cook one or two contests a year and if we really want to be good we have to cook a lot more. Yes, it’s true that each of us taking a category instead of anointing a pitmaster means that there are four visions of perfection instead of one. Four different visions. From four Type A women who don’t want to lose control. Who want to comment. And, sadly, we visit this upon ourselves by soliciting the comments in the first place. What do you think? It appears to be a dangerous question.
At the end of the day, we finished 30th overall in a field of 36 teams. Not dead last, which is always what we pray will not happen. But not even in the middle of the pack. We sit around with our score sheet and debate the stupidity of the judges. But we actually got far better individual scores than we deserved. When I got home, I looked at Mark’s photos. The next time we cook, I for one will refrain from commenting. Even if asked. I will step away from the table. I will drink a beer. I will not, just for a second or two, be a Type A woman.
Who am I kidding.