Sports Are Fun. Testing Not So Much.

I have gone through different stages in my life.

From long-hair to shaved (again, way cooler than bald).  From student to superintendent (I haven’t been out of school since 1972).  From poor to making money and still being poor (why do bills arrive in direct proportion to the amount of money you earn?).clip_image001

Politically, I’ve gone from being a Democrat to Republican to Independent to Disenchanted to Just Confused and Hurt.

I’ve also been through stages regarding the amount of importance I place on athletics.

When I was a kid, there was nothing more important.

My world revolved around anything and everything that involved a bat, ball, club, basket, goal, or a game.

I knew every player (and their stats… and sadly, birthday) in every league.  Including hockey and indoor soccer (Go St. Louis Steamers!!!).

Then I grew up (sort of) and became a coach.  I still took sports seriously, but I began to see it wasn’t the only thing that mattered.

Losing does that to you.

After giving up coaching (I think it was my decision), I became a school administrator (also, my decision… I think).

At this point in my life I began to see athletics were just one of the many things that drove me crazy and made my phone ring (landline… old school).

Sports became less fun and more of a hassle.

I began to see athletics as a bother.  I was confused as to why parents didn’t care about testing as much as they did about sports.

Now I’m starting to come full circle.

Maybe I’m growing.  With age comes wisdom (at least that’s what old people tell young people).  Or more likely, I’m just a little less stupid (I’m so old, I remember when stupid was a bad word in school).

As I head into my golden years, I’m beginning to see there’s nothing more important than athletics.  Especially to a small town.

It’s the one thing that ties people together.

Successful small-town sports are like the Olympics.  People will support them even when they don’t personally know the participants.

Or understand the game.

I don’t have a clue about curling, but I’m the #1 fan every four years when the Winter Olympics is on 27 hours a day (USA! USA! USA!)

Community members behave in much the same way.  They may not like football, but if their favorite bag boy at the grocery store is the quarterback… suddenly they have a rooting interest.

They like the feeling they get when their team is doing well.

I’m willing to bet I could go to any town in America and spot a person wearing their high school colors within 2 minutes.

This is because people love belonging to a group.  This feeling is magnified when the group (team) is successful.

Schools and sports can provide this at a local level.

And at a much cheaper price than college or professional sports.

This is why, now and forever, people will always be more passionate about their kids (or neighbors) playing a game than they will about test scores.

It’s just more fun.

I’m not saying this is right.  I’m just saying this is the way it is.

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I Hope You Voted.

Most readers (which now number in the almost a lot) of the Blog seem to work in or around education.

As educators (or in the vicinity of education), I think we have a responsibility to vote. I could make the case that we have the right not to vote, but this election was too important to sit on the sidelines and watch.

History was being made and we had the opportunity to be a small part of it.Vote.  It's a Privilege.

If you are a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent… I hope you voted.

Now, time will tell if we made the right choice.

And if we didn’t, we will have the chance to vote again in 2012.

This is a great country.

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Class, We Have a New Girl at School Today, Her Name is Sarah Palin.

Mrs. Sarah Palin.The entire country seems to have the same opinion on the Republican nominee for Vice President, Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.

People seem to absolutely love her. And by love, I mean looooooove (the same feeling I get when I come face to face with a new package of Oreos).

These feelings that the country has for her strikes me as a little odd.

Why? Because we don’t know her. Everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, have heard her speak in public once.


That’s right. Our opinion on a person who will be one heartbeat away from running the most powerful country in the world is based on one speech.

A prepared, practiced, rehearsed speech. The only thing this tells me is that she can read.

Granted, it was a good speech, but please. The Republican Party isn’t even allowing her to take questions from reporters.

Why? Because they know she isn’t ready or prepared.

I am sure she will work hard to learn everything she needs to know in a short amount of time, but I prefer that the leader of our country doesn’t have to pull an all-nighter to get up to speed on the issues.

Plus, I hope things turn out better for her than when I pulled all nighters. All I ever ended up with was a dull headache, a great big need for a nap, and a C- on the test (that is exaggeration… I would have killed for a C-).

It’s like she has missed the first 5 weeks of school and now we have to give her time to make up her work.

How did our country become so simple. Are voters this naive? Are we so desperate to find a leader that we will put our faith in someone that we don’t even know? Does the country as a whole want a woman to succeed in national politics so badly that we are willing to let them cut corners?

The country’s reaction struck me as odd, until I realized where I had seen this before.

Like just about everything else in life, it all goes back to school.

She is the new, smart, pretty girl that just moved into the district.

These kids (could be a boy or girl) are always very popular at school when they first show up. Usually, for one reason. The other kids don’t know them.

The “townies” have grown bored with their classmates because they have known them their entire lives. The new kid brings excitement. And mystery. And new ideas and experiences.

New generally equals popular. Even school administrators are popular when they are first hired (okay, bad example… we are never “popular”).

I am not here to put her down. She seems very confident, intelligent, informed (actually we won’t know this one until she actually speaks in public without a teleprompter), likeable, funny, passionate, upbeat, and positive… all of the things a Vice Presidential candidate should be.

I just don’t know how long before the class… I mean country turns on her.

What goes up, must come down.

My advice to her: Go out for cheerleading or run for student council president (or vice-president) before it is too late.

Generally, when you become this popular this fast, it all comes crashing down just as quickly.

I wish her the best of the luck. And a warning.

You are only the new, popular student once. It is impossible to tell how long it is going to last. If you think this extreme amount of good will is forever, you are wrong.

Any day now, a new student will move into the district.

And when that happens, the old new student must transition into just another kid in class.

Enjoy the immense popularity while it lasts. Could be a day, or a week, maybe even a month.

It just won’t be forever.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.