Tuesday, February 21, 2006

News from Subland...

Sorry it’s been a while since my last post. Things have been a bit crazy.

Today I subbed in a middle school math class. In lieu of a math assignment, the students had to write a three paragraph essay (if something of only three paragraphs can be called that) about a recent project they finished. Apparently, this project involved taking pictures. If I gathered the snippets of info correctly, I believe they were supposed to take pictures of basic geometric shapes around them and then create an album.

The teacher’s directions were really clear. First paragraph – Describe your project. Tell what you did. Use lots of details. Second paragraph – Describe making your project. Who helped you, what materials did you use, where did you get the materials, how long did it take? Third paragraph – Write three things you learned about yourself during this project.

Now, this doesn’t seem too tough. In fact, most students finished in about ten minutes and had thirty-five left to do something quiet at their desk. Then there were a handful of other students. For them, it wasn’t as easy. A couple students took almost the entire forty-five minutes to write their three paragraph opus. I worked really hard to keep the students who had finished quiet so that the others, who were clearly struggling, could finish.

I noticed one boy in particular. He had come in quietly, sat right down and worked the entire class. I was feeling badly for him that the other students, who had finished far more quickly, were talking and making it tough for him to finish. I was pretty hard on the talkers. I was this boy’s personal academic savior.

Only three minutes before the day was over, he handed in his essay. Yes! I had done it! I had vanquished the forces of noisiness and rescued this poor academic peasant from their clutches just in time to save his precious essay.

As he laid it on the desk, I smiled at him. Then I glanced down to see the marvel that had so consumed him. As follows, with all spelling, punctuation and paragraph divisions intact:

“I made a crapy project. Mine was messed up. My project has a green cover.

I did my project on the last day. I took all the pictures on the last day. I used my cousins construction paper.

I learned nothing. I hated the project. I have a A.D.D. so I can’t listen.”

This is the child I defended. This is the future of America.

I feel defeated.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Celebrating the holy day...

As we wait on the brink of America’s most revered holiday, I would like to take this opportunity to express my thankfulness to the Football Fairy.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of the Football Fairy. That’s perfectly reasonable as you probably have yet to become a true convert. For those who follow football religiously (as if there was any other way to do so), the Football Fairy is a benevolent, if slightly overweight, fellow.

He is the subject of much myth and lore, any number of songs and even a misty-eyed poem or two. Some tell of his leaving footballs, chips and queso to followers on Super Bowl Day.

The Football Fairy is such a profound part of everything that makes tomorrow great, that it is difficult to believe when people say, “I don’t believe in the Football Fairy.” Apologetics is for another time, for today’s message is not polemic, but celebratory in nature.

In honor of the world’s greatest legendary figure, I would like to share with you a little piece I have created entitled “The Night Before 40.”

T’was the night before 40, and all through Detroit,
Coaches were scheming for holes to exploit.
The logos were painted in the end zones with care,
And the smell of Budweiser hung thick in the air.
Most players were nestled, in their king-size beds,
While visions of touchdown dances played in their heads.
But Big Ben, watching film of the Seahawks once more,
Was taking good notes on Seattle’s front four,
When out on Ford Field there arose such a clatter,
He jumped from his chair to see what was the matter.
Away down the tunnel he flew like a flash,
As if he was running the 40-yard dash.
The light on the chalk of the fifty-yard line,
Foreshadowed the coming of someone divine.
When what to his wondering eyes should appear,
But an overweight man, in each hand a cold beer.
With a look on his face that was joyful and merry,
Ben knew in a moment, “It’s the Football Fairy!”
The Fairy, surrounded by men of great fame,
Whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Elway, now, Namath, Montana and Starr,
Now, Staubach, now, Brady, like the MVPs that you are.
To the top of the aisle, up to row double-Z,
Run like you’re chased by a hungry DE.”
Like Mike Vick in the face of an oncoming rush,
They blew past Big Ben, with a still-focused hush.
To the top row of the venue, the QBs they flew,
Leaving just the Fairy, with his job to do.
Then from the rafters, Ben heard a song start,
And though cheesy, they sang it with all of their heart.
With “Are You Ready for Some Football” filling the dome,
The Fairy walked the sidelines, both visitor and home.
He was dressed in a jersey — Payton’s 32 —
No cap, but a fedora, a fan through and through.
With a huge bag of pork rinds tucked under his arm,
He looked like a vender, but with plenty more charm.
His eyes they were shifting, like he’d picked up a blitz,
His cheeks they were bulging from too many Ritz,
His mouth had been frozen in a strange Hines Ward smile,
And it looked like he sure hadn't shaved in some while.
'Round his neck hung a whistle, from his days as a ref,
Too much time in the Black Hole had left him part deaf.
He had a broad face and a brat-enhanced belly
Big Ben had a feeling this Fairy was smelly.
The picture of fandom, except for two things,
From his back portruded a pair of huge wings.
A wink of an eye, a hand signal or two,
He was changing the play, this much Big Ben knew.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Sprinkling dust with a satisfied smirk.
When his job was all through, and both sidelines blessed,
He gave a signal to the still-singing rest.
They gathered around him, crowding close in a huddle,
Then out of the building they shot like a shuttle.
Big Ben heard him exclaim, as skyward they hurled,
“Enjoy the game; I’m going to Disney World!”

I hope that this season finds you well as you celebrate the magical gifts that the Football Fairy bestows upon those who love him. May your day tomorrow be filled with wonder, much scoring and plenty of funny commercials.