October 24, 2017 The TCO17 Champion Who Almost Wasn't!

When you want something, the whole universe conspires to make it happen!
Monday (23rd October, 2017) would have been just like any other day but there are events which make it special. It was the big day of action for developers at TCO17 with both First2Finish and Development finals scheduled for action. It was more so special for everyone as Jessie (aka the TCO Queen) arranged shuttles for all TCO17 attendees to visit the picturistic Niagara falls.

The Visit to Niagara Falls!

And it was no surprise that there were lot of people waiting outside the Innovation Center waiting to board the shuttle to visit the falls. I happened to be on that shuttle to Niagara and so were several other competitors from multiple tracks. As it turned out, the shuttle arrived late and hence we reached the Falls nearly an hour later than expected.
I’ve had the good fortune of being to Niagara Falls a couple of times earlier as well so I took a quick tour and came back to the bus stop waiting to board the shuttle back to the BNMC Innovation Campus. I wanted to be back in time before the First2Finish finals started so I could follow it like I do every year.

What time is it?

And after waiting for almost half an hour and with no shuttle in sights, I wasn’t sure if I would make it back in time. I then saw Akinwale pass by and this is the conversation that followed
Talesforce – Hey Akinwale, what are you still doing here? Would you not be late for the F2F finals?
Akinwale – Hey, I think there’s nothing to worry as the F2F finals begin at 1 PM and it’s just 11 AM right now
Talesforce – If I remember the agenda correctly, it starts at 11:30 AM.
Akinwale – I don’t think so but let’s check.

What followed was running around searching for a free WiFi signal as neither of us had our phones working. And after almost climbing a tree to get the WiFi signal, it was confirmed that F2F finals began at 11:30 AM and we had nearly 15 mins to get back (the bus journey takes 45 minutes).

No Bus, No Internet, No Phone

With the realisation that the battle is half lost and no bus in sight, phones not working and scratchy Internet, we walked into a restaurant nearby requesting them for WiFi access or helping us arrange a cab.
The restaurant staff was courteous (no wonder Buffalo ranks so high on hospitality) and booked a cab for us which would arrive in 10 to 15 minutes.

When it rains, it pours!

And as we were frantically waiting for the cab to arrive, the bus arrived. In a dilemma of whether to wait for the bus to take us back or continue waiting for cab, we took a chance on the latter and although it was several anxious moments, the cab finally arrived and we were on our way.
It was remarkable to see Akinwale composed despite the delay and knowing that he would be starting off in the finals with a huge disadvantage.

Better Late than Never!

We finally reached the Innovation Center back almost 30 minutes behind schedule with the setup phase well over. The other competitors were working on the first problem while Akinwale was still setting up. And from then on, it was a test of composure, skill and speed.
But as they say, When the going gets tough, the tough get going! It was a very close finish and I think the top three did remarkably well to advance that far.
Well done Akinwale – it was a nerve wrecking experience and I’m glad to have been a part of this adventure. Congrats on your win and make sure to read the times correctly in future! 🙂


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