OJCL Torch Spring Torch 2019 | Page 14

Not only was I able to correct Tullus on the quinquennium Neronis, I was also able to watch Joseph write his innovative, 1st place roll call rap. I had finally found a community. At nationals, the competition was in a whole other ballpark. If I thought the questions at castra were hard, these were unanswerable. If I thought my teammates’ reactions times were fast, these people from around the country had fingers made of lightning. While I may have known the 7 kings of Rome, they had already memorized the Latin motto of every American state and university. I found myself, again, quickly overwhelmed, and we did not make semis. Yes, I was disappointed, but I was not crushed: rather, I felt a drive to improve at Certamen and become the best player I could be. In the ensuing years, I’ve continued to play Certamen. Simply by playing a lot, I have noticed steady improvement in my knowledge.  Certamen teams from St. Xavier (left), Marriemont (upper right), and Westlake (bottom right) I have met competitors throughout Cincinnati who love the activity as much as I do. These competitors quickly became friends: one of my fondest memories of the JCL is going to play indoor mini-golf with the “Latin Pueri” after Fall Forum. While I’m proud of the progress I’ve made in Certamen, I know I’m still nowhere near good. It doesn’t matter if I remember that Cacus had been killed by Hercules for stealing the cattle of Geryon, or that Creticus failed to clear the Mediterranean of the pirates, leading to the Lex Gabinia of 67 BCE, or that Cethegus was the first Latin orator whose eloquence was truly attested to. What I really value from all the experience are the bonds that I’ve made. And I probably won’t forget those immediately after convention, either. 14