I think, in a way, we are very spoiled. The world is at our fingertips. We can see amazing things whenever we want. Some of the amazing things we see are real, some of them might even be staged (“reality TV”), but, nonetheless, in the moment at least, what we are watching seems real, amazing, other worldly, and significant.
I have run a countless number of races in my life. Yes, this includes 20 marathons. (I always keep an accurate count of my marathons.)
I love to run.
I have often stated that the marathon defines me.
(This post can also be found on NYY_Report (“Start Spreading the News”):
We are sports fans. There is something special and wonderful and unique about being a sports fan. We love our teams and certain players. We get excited by special moments.
And when disappointment hits, it hits hard – and it often hurts.
It has been the strangest autumn of my life. Or, at least the strangest autumn of the last fifteen years – since 2002.
I’ve shared on these pages before that I’m not running a fall marathon this year.
It’s an unfamiliar feeling. And I don’t particularly like it. The beloved New York City Marathon, the race I love and adore, will go on without me.
(Author’s note – I changed the names of the student in this true story.)
Way back, a long time ago, when I was a teacher, I had a student named Beth. One day in class, during a discussion about Pre-Columbian America, Beth shared that she was of Native American decent. That prompted me to bestow a nickname on her. (I gave happy nicknames to lots of kids.) From that day forward Beth was “A Shining Light in the Sky.” Beth loved the nickname. She came to class every day with a warm smile.
Beth was one of those kids who was easy to like as a teacher: She was happy, enthusiastic, a hard worker, and team player. A model student, Beth was the type of kid who makes teaching a joy.
Sometimes we can’t accomplish what we set our minds to do.
Sometimes impossible isn’t an illusion… it is real. Or, at least it seems real. We strive, we reach, we try – and we fall short, we stumble, we fall. We reach and try again. And fall and fail. We fall and fail and fail again. Or so it seems…
Sometimes the goal, whatever it is, seems too hard, too distant, too impossible. We say, “I can’t.” We say, “It’ll never happen.”
(The following passage was included as part of the monthly newsletter that I send out to the parents of my school community.)
It is no secret that I enjoy sports, mostly baseball, and that I have always been a big fan of the New York Yankees. There is something about baseball that resonates with me. The ebb and flow of the game, the simplicity, the day-to-day consistency… Like a good friend, from April through September, baseball is a constant companion. I love it.
One of the big stories that has come out of this year’s baseball season has been the fact that a rookie on the New York Yankees, a certain Aaron Judge, recently set the record for the most home runs ever hit in one’s first season. No player had ever hit 50 home runs as a rookie until Aaron Judge accomplished that feat. Amazing.
Often times we say, “I can’t do that” or “I’m not good at that.” (I am as guilty of this as anyone. There’s a lot I sometimes believe I can’t do.)
When we say the words, “I can’t,” we are limiting ourselves. As a result, I believe that some of the most damaging words in our language are “I can’t.”
When we say we can’t, we make our own lives poorer – not richer. When we say we can’t, we eliminate the possibilities and the learning that comes with and from new experiences. When we say we can’t, our world becomes smaller, our interests become fewer, and we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to learn more about ourselves.
…sometimes a picture really is worth 1,000 (well, a lot more than that) words.
(The following is a modified (slightly shortened and less school specific) version of the message I sent to my teaching staff as we begin to prepare for the opening of the 2017-18 school year in a few weeks. The message applies to all individuals in all walks of life and all professions.)
When I was a child growing up in the late 1970’s, the Houston Astros had very cool uniforms.
I was a Yankees fan (that is deep-seated in my blood), but there were times when I wished the Yankees could at least be a little more colorful. I, of course, love the Yankees’ midnight blue pinstripes and the interlocking NY, but for a kid, that Astros rainbow uniform was a lot more eye-catching!
The Astros also were also a pretty unique team. They played in the only domed stadium (The Astrodome), they played on fake grass (Astroturf), they had exciting players like Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard, and Cesar Cedeno (pictured above). The Astros were even featured in one of the Bad News Bears movies!
None of that influenced me enough to be an Astros fan, but it is undeniable that there was a certain appeal to rooting for the Houston Astros.