Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Tale of Two Teams

The invitation that stared me down on last night's hour bus ride...

"I need a vacation," I proclaimed to Curtis this morning.

Yesterday was too much. Just too much. If it had just been the fact that our bus driver was thirty minutes late to pick us up for our tournament, I would have been okay. If it had just been that one of my athletes thought herself entitled to the use of her cell phone throughout the tournament (encouraging a similar disregard for team unity amongst her teammates), I might have been alright. If the only down side of yesterday had been our loss of all nine games in the six hour tournament, I might not have gotten home, taken a shower, and crawled into bed a rat's nest of frustration.

But it wasn't.

The late pick-up, snotty attitudes, and record-breaking losing streak all culminated in a one hour bus ride where the driver blared static filled radio tunes while the girls proclaimed their frustration with his music choice. As if they hadn't been the ones that had begged him to turn it on in the first place. Couple the aggravating audio with the constant flash of the camera as the girls took self portraits, and I was so disgusted with their selfish attitudes I could hardly give them instructions without them dripping with sarcasm.

I was done. I was so done.

As I think back on yesterday's downhill progression, part of my problem was my expectations. Last week the buses were on time, the students were fairly well behaved, but more than anything they were present. They were playing hard, cheering each other on, and evaluating their efforts all the way up until the bus ride home. Perhaps it was naive of me to expect the same from the other half of my team, but I did.

And when my expectations of focused enthusiasm were crushed with self-centered apathy, there was nothing I could do to stop it. I tried to make up for their lack of gusto by cheering and encouraging and clapping after every play. I was on my feet all night. But with only a few exceptions, they had made up their mind to drag their feet through the tournament, more concerned about the text they were missing on their confiscated cell phones than their teammate--right in front of them--that just made a great serve.

Today I am very aware of the pendulous nature of my job. I invest endless hours in a profession with little concrete feedback to inform my practice. The concrete feedback that is available isn't always very reflective of energy expended. Grades don't always equal ability. Scores don't always equal effort. Uniforms don't always signify a team.

Today, I will try and teach my team, or what I'd like to be a team, how to do better next time.

Today, I will hope for the best, even though the results last time would suggest it's not worth it.

Today, I will keep going; I will try new tactics; I will continue to push forward.

Today, I will not quit.

Tomorrow? I guess we'll have to wait and see.


  1. Uggg! Lady, I'm sorry you had such a crap day!

  2. I was observed yesterday and was praised for the lesson itself and its presentation but then, for the first time in my career, I was admonished because 1 boy in a class of 27 students propped his head up with his hands and stared down at his desk all period. In his defense, he did the work, wrote out all of his answers, etc. but to my boss, he was "clearly disrespecting" me and "not taking the course seriously".

    And here I thought that I had done a great job of teaching a very difficult soliloquy to a group of average, non-Anglophiles but no, apparently, I was much remiss in my practice because it is "against my nature to call a kid out in front of his peers".

    This is a TOUGH profession, one in which we are constantly being judged by all and respected by few. I was very disheartened after my post-ob, even though most of the write up glowed. All it takes is one small moment (or a series of them) to send us to bed without our dinner.

    Thinking of you and hoping that these girls realize what they have in you; it terrifies me to think that my daughter could be one of them some day. I want her to be one of you!