The place, Radford University. The date, Saturday, April 24, 2010. A small group of dedicated students were preparing to do battle—the annual Radford University Programming Competition. The determined programmers entered the field of battle. The BRCC team (James Arlow, Wade Harkins, Ryan Kenney) was initially dismayed as they recognized the icon of the Apple empire as far as the eye could see. As true men of science, their opinions of Macs were all clustered at the low end of the approval scale. Quickly they realized, however, that the screens were showing the Windows desktop, and they would be on familiar ground.
With the traditional pre-battle meal (mostly pizza) giving them the energy they would need, they set about their task. There were seven problems (programs) and three hours to work. Each team quickly took their place at their assigned computer. James, BRCC’s man at the keyboard, saw that he could do the first problem easily and directed Wade and Ryan to find the next problems to do. James finished the first program in six minutes, and BRCC jumped into the overall lead. As each team correctly submitted a solution, a color coded balloon was affixed at their station.
The coaches, having done whatever they could to prepare their teams, were held captive in another room, only able to watch the relayed information as the battle went on, hour after hour. Having drawn the first blood, the BRCC team continued in the lead, solving a second and third problem ahead of all others. Wade took the lead on one, Ryan on the other. The colored signals of success flew high, and the atmosphere grew tense. With less than ½ hour to go, one of the Radford Highlanders became the only contestant to solve four of the fearsome challenges. The battle was over. Competitors received the traditional T-shirts. The steely eyed BRCC men, winning their division, earned certificates, bragging rights, and $3,000 scholarships to Radford. They shook hands with their opponents, and rode off with the satisfaction of an honorable victory.