A Vision, A Mask, and a Glove

It was 1980 something. The team was The Evergreen. Their shirts were bright orange.

It was the seventh inning. The Evergreen had the lead by one run. Bases loaded. Coach Kenny called a time out. The infielders answered his signal to circle up. Slowing the game, gaining control, he set the vision for what could happen.

If it was a grounder to the infield, simply make the play to home. Kenny turned to the catcher, “Toss the mask if it’s coming to you.” The five of us nodded in agreement. We shared his vision.

Tension, anticipation, excitement all swirled in the air.

We returned to our respective positions and made ourselves ready.

First pitch, strike. Second pitch, swing and a miss. Third pitch, hit.

The infielders sprinted to the rolling ball. It was heading straight for the pitcher. She crouched, glove to the ground, and rushed forward. The catcher crouched and rushed towards the pitcher.

10 feet separated the pitcher and the catcher.

Kenny’s vision was playing itself out before his very eyes. The runners were advancing. The pitcher drew her arm back over her shoulder. “Toss the mask!” Kenny yelled. The catcher reached up grabbed her glove, and threw it to the ground. She stood on home plate, mask on, hands at the ready.

The pitcher switched her throw to underhand and lobbed it right to the catcher.

It wasn’t exactly Kenny’s vision,

I made that catch at home plate, although it wasn’t exactly Kenny’s vision, that runner was O-U-T, and Kenny was proud of The Evergreen in orange shirts.

Kenny passed away last week. He gave his all to our little town. He was good friend to my Mom and Dad and he was the best softball coach. Here’s to you, Kenny.

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Thanks to the Mask

The thing about masks –

they hide that post lunch piece of spinach stuck in your teeth

stale, stinky coffee breath does not offend, it is yours and yours alone

the mask is no match for those blustery march winds

a day of mask wearing can be erased with one breath of fresh air

whisper singing in the grocery store is a secret between you and your mask

with the mouth hidden, eye smiles are priceless

an inspiration…

21 years…an inspiration

An inspiration at seven months.

I watched you make your way to a shiny silver spoon

I watched you, admiring your journey along the floor

An inspiration then…

The curiosity, bravery and confidence of that seven month old remains

These days you skin up mountains in the predawn hours or float down them effortlessly, expertly

You take it all in, learning, exploring

These days, you reach for summits and sunrises

An inspiration now….

Happy Birthday Hannah

skinning to the summit

The “S” Word

“Once my sister said the “S” word!” the words hit my ears as I am walking through the halls. I look up and see a few girls in line. They are bundled up, snacks in hand, for second recess and snack break outside.

I slow down, I want to hear where this is going. I slow my walk. They have my full attention, yet they have no idea!

“My sister said the “S” word…..SALAD!” she exclaims.

“That is NOT the “S” word!” another girl declares. Her name happens to begin with “S. She must be an “S” word expert.

Still not sure where this is going to land, but I am sure that I stall just close enough not to be seen, but where they can still be heard.

“You think every word that starts with S is the “S” word, missy!” girl with “S” name announces, matter of factly and quite confidently.

The conversation is cut short as the class heads outside, leaving me inside.

I am left wondering what S girl, thinks the”S” word, really is, if it’s not salad.

Reunited

“Come at 9:00!” She yelled at me. “I want to be ready!”

We had planned, we were ready, she was excited.

In my years as as a literacy specialist/interventionist, I’ve always believed in the power of collaboration and working in classrooms. Over the years, this work has become more refined. The structures and methods have developed and, as a result, our teaching has changed.

Our teaching has changed over the years due to new curriculum, thanks to professional development and mostly, thanks to ongoing conversations. Conversations where we reflected and pushed each other about what works, what doesn’t work. With all the change, we maintained the vision that we can grow ourselves and kids.

This morning I found myself in a first grade classroom ready for the groups we had planned. Both groups had goals around comprehension. Jess, our literacy coach (also wearing the had distance learning grade 1 teacher this year) had shared her use and vision for the story arc across the grades. So, it only made sense that we use the tool in our small group work. I introduced the arc, they read, we talked our way through the arc and then they jotted. We celebrated as they talked again, but this time using their jots on the arc. The kids were excited not just about reading but about their thinking!

As I walked out of the room, The teacher yelled, somewhat in tune, “reunited and it feels so good!”

Last spring The Covid robbed us of each other, This fall, the safe return via the hybrid model had us missing push in. Here we are, today, reunited in a familiar way that we know matters for us, and most importantly for kids in our company.