Rubik’s Cubes can certainly be a source of frustration, but on Saturday afternoon in Fountain Valley it was just an exercise for fun.
The second “Day of the Cube” 3-by-3 speedcubing event took place at Los Alamos Park.
95 children from all over Southern California attended the event and survived the hot temperatures and even some rain in the afternoon.
The so-called “Cubers” wore T-shirts with slogans like “Leave no cube unsolved” and “Eat, sleep, solve, repeat”. They also had a special guest.
Max Park from Cerritos, 20, who holds multiple dice world records, showed up and signed autographs.
Yorba Linda’s Alex Tham, 12, had his parents and other family members with him to support him. One made a sign that read “Go Team Alex,” which featured an octopus – Alex’s favorite animal – with two Rubik’s Cubes.
“He eclipsed me so quickly and I never caught up to him,” said Alex’s father, Allen Tham. “It’s like a Rubik’s Cube sponge.”
At the end, the three best children’s dice players were awarded. Evan Bunya, a 12-year-old from Tustin, took first place with an average solving of the 3-by-3 cube in 9.64 seconds.
Second place went to Liam Ancheta, 11, and third place went to Dylan Garcia, 10, who lives in Orange.
Each of the top three winners received Amazon gift cards presented by event organizer Amy Wojkowski of Huntington Beach.
Wojkowski, a teacher at Edison High, said she had 28 children at the first “Day of the Cube” event in June 2021, but Saturday’s event more than tripled that.
Wojkowski’s 11-year-old son Caden was one of the competitors.
“I told him how to solve it and then he got quick,” said Amy Wojkowski. “We tried to put him in a real competition but it’s hard to take part. There aren’t that many in Southern California so I decided to make my own and here we are.”
Park is severely autistic, his father Schwan said. He was introduced to Rubik’s Cubes at a young age, partly so his parents could take him to competitions to work on social skills.
Max Park is one of two champions covered in the Netflix documentary. “The Speedcubers” which was released in 2020.
“Our goal was just for him to use that as a huge game date,” Schwan Park said of the early days. “Autism therapy is expensive. So if we can take him to a competition where we thought everyone would be a therapist and it’s free, we were like, ‘Enter us.’”
Amanda Geddes, who lives in Irvine, said her family recently watched the documentary as family. That got her son Marshall, 9, into dicing.
Marshall felt an additional connection because he also deals with moderate autism.
“He said, ‘If Max can do it, so can I,'” said Amanda Geddes. “He felt really inspired; it was really cute.”
Does Marshall’s new interest – Saturday was his first competition – mean the whole Geddes family will be playing dice? Probably not.
“My husband, my daughter and I have all tried, but we just can’t get it the way Marshall can,” said Amanda Geddes. “It’s definitely his special talent.”
Dashtyn Dinglasan, 8, traveled all the way from Los Angeles to the competition with his parents. His best 3×3 time is 24 seconds, more than respectful, especially considering he’s only been rolling for a year.
His mother, Eileen Tan, said she enjoyed the vibe of Saturday’s event.
“It seems like it’s all about the joy of rolling the dice,” she said. “All age groups interact and learn from each other.”
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