Sunday, March 27, 2011

Delusions of athleticism, part two

I am not an athlete.  Not even remotely.  But even at eight, Braden is an athlete.  For Braden, athleticism comes naturally as part of a gene mutation he got from his dad (who is also naturally athletic).  Think I am too biased to proclaim that my son is athletic--you might be right; after all, it is very mommy-like to consider your child good at everything they do.  But as someone completely void of any athletic ability, I can identify such weakness in others from miles away and Braden, though a little clumsy at times, adapts to athletic situations with ease.

Braden tried team sports with three seasons of soccer and one season of basketball, but had little patience for sharing his team's success with the team.  He, even at 5 and 6, was a ball-hog and a show-boater--not very endearing behavior.  Upon some advice from a friend, I put him into swimming.  Swimming, a sport you play against yourself, is ideal for him.  So, Braden is a swimmer.  This proclamation makes my friends Stephanie and David, who have unsuccessfully attempted to persuade me into letting him loose on a football field for three years now, cringe. But for now---and secretly in the recesses of my heart forever--he swims.  Like a fish.  Like the next Michael Phelps.  Like no other 8 year-old boy on his team.

This season marks Braden's second in year-round swimming.  When he came into this season in August, he swam a 25 back in 23.55; 25 free in 31.06; 25 fly in 31.54; and he rarely swam the 25 breast without DQing.  Last weekend, he ended the short-course season with these times:  25 back in 18.20; 25 free in 16.28; 25 fly in 18.50; and 25 breast in 26.62.  In total, Braden shaved over 32 secs off this season and he can swim the breast without a DQ.

At districts here at Mizzou, he left with a first place medal in the back, 4th in the fly, 5th in IM relay, and 14th in free.  At State, he left with a 9th in back and a 15th in fly.  But the medals are only half of the accomplishment.  He's stronger.  He's more focused.  He's confident.  He's proud.  He's an athlete.

And I love watching him swim.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Delusions of athleticism, part one

I am not an athlete.  Not even remotely.  As a teenager I experienced delusions of athleticism, dabbling in both volleyball and basketball in middle school and early high school, but my two-handed shot and inability to spike were easily and quickly overshadowed by more skilled team mates.  I also took a spin around the track a few seasons in high school (and by spin I mean I did the high-jump and long-jump), but I did that for a boy so it never really matter to me to be good  My sport--though even I argue that my lack of talent decreases the likelihood that one can call it a sport--was cheerleading, primarily because cheerleaders at my high school were able to play in the band and band was a sport I could get behind.  (If cheerleading is a sport, so is band.  You march a trombone for a twelve minute field show and tell me how it's not more intense than sideline chants.)

No, I am not an athlete; however, I do admire athletes--the grace, the agility, the competition, the adrenaline.  It all appeals to something carnal and competitive in me.  I am definitely a fan of athletes. Sometimes, I find myself even a little envious of athletes.  But mostly I'm just a fan.  Of athletes--not sports, but athletes.  I can go months without seeing a sporting event, but when I do take in a game it's the athletes, not the sport, I watch.

After all, sports would be nothing if not for the athletes.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wherefore art thou?

Procrastination is not to blame for my nearly 6 week absence from these words.  On the contrary, I've been busy as hell--drowning in grading and planning like a first year teacher.  Sadly, I feel as floundery as a first year teacher, too.  (Yes, floundery not floundering.  I don't care if it's not a word.  Just consider me like Shakespeare--or better yet, Chaucer.)

No, procrastination is not to blame.  Instead, my floundery classroom esteem keeps me encumbered, preoccupying my thoughts and my words, stealing my prose, and thusly my confidence.  Leaving me to wonder: have I climaxed?  have I experienced everything that a profession in public education has to offer me?  is it time to move on what....collegiate....private of crime?

Loyal readers of the teaching profession, I seek your advice about this current woebegone phase of my career.  Please share your tales of triumph or tragedy.  (Though I prefer triumph.  As I am not well suited for a life of crime, I hope to learn that feeling floundery is normal, even in the 13th year.)

Til it be morrow...