All this blocking and being an offensive lineman took me to the beginning of my adult life. My last play took place in some suburban German town in 1995 when I was 24 years old. I had known that this was my final time ever donning a uniform and helmet and I felt like I was ready for it. After 14 years of blocking, I was leaving Germany, looking at my life and ready for a new chapter and a new direction. Football did a lot for me. It paid for my college, gave me an identity, connected me with my wife, and left me with some lessons that I would not really grasp until much later.
It is many of these lessons which I am thinking about now.
Fast forward a bit in life, I got married to that wonderful woman I met because of football and prepared to start raising a family. I had more than a passing thought about “if we have some boys, what kind of football player will they be? A lineman like me or maybe something with a little more glory”.
Well, life is full of curveballs and we ended up with two wonderful daughters and no football in our future.
As parents, we did what everyone does… put them in as many activities as you can. Softball, theater, dance and more were all attempted. For my oldest daughter, we never quite knew what she would settle on, and then slowly it came to be.
She BECAME a volleyball player.
My younger daughter is heading down a different path, one of music and theater which I am so excited to see her in. (I’ll have more about this in a future post.).
For my oldest, we participated in club volleyball leagues, played on the middle school teams and then when high school came around, tried out for the team. She made the team and over four years moved her way to being a starter and a captain. For me, this was a such a journey. She is playing at the school where I teach; Rocklin High… the school in which she grew up around and spent virtually her entire life part of. As I migrated into a football coach, my family came with me. Both my girls and my wife became an integral part of my football and professional life at Rockin High.
But I started to change.
Football felt like it no longer belonged in my day to day life and about 4 years ago I said goodbye to it.
What is interesting is that those lessons of being a lineman I learned so many years ago, were still part of me. Here are just some of them:
You are part of something much bigger than just YOU.
The work you do is hard, often not very fun but necessary towards a greater goal
Take pride in work that others don’t see.
And now here I am watching my daughter have a great senior year standing at the middle of net blocking the balls from the opposing team.
Did you catch that? My daughter is there in the middle... blocking.
Although football was not the future for my children, here was my daughter being the middle blocker, doing the dirty work and getting the job done. This comparison is one I have thought of often… her as a middle blocker and me as a center.
It wasn’t until this last week that got me thinking about all those lessons again. A week ago, about half way through this volleyball season, my daughter suffered a career ending sports injury during a game. After attempting a block, she landed on someone’s foot and broke both her tibia and fibula in a compound fracture.
This was such blow to her. All that she had worked for, all that she had hoped for in her final year of volleyball, just ended. I've coached countless football players who all have had to play their last play. I've seen them weep and get emotional of the finality of it all, but to see your own child experience this in a hospital miles from your home is devastating.
For my wife and I, this entire experience has been tough. Seeing your kid in pain, real pain, and not being able to do anything about it is heartbreaking.
She is recovering now and our family, friends and the Rocklin community have been a huge support to us all and it’s very humbling.
The good news is that her prognosis is 100% recoverable, but it will all just take time. Her leg now has a hard cast, which made her a little more independent and she is now planning on how to get around for homecoming this week!
I usually do don't write much about my personal life here on my Ed Tech blog, but I felt like writing this life update for several reasons.
First, I have been absent in much of what I was once connected with. I used to be more engaged in the ed tech community online and the combination of my change in my career (see my earlier post) and this injury has made me take a few steps back in being a connected educator. I feel guilty and frustrated at times for not being able to do it all; for having some of life’s details fall through the cracks.
So, here is a blanket, all-inclusive “I’m sorry” if an email, a tweet, a vox or some other conversation fell through those cracks I mentioned. But I am grateful those around help me stay focused to “just keep swimming”.
Secondly, it has been a somewhat cathartic to spend some time just writing. Not just about educational strategies or the newest and coolest tech thing that just came out, but being able to reflect where I am in life. I gave keynote address to my district’s teachers last spring and one of the main points I tried to impart was the power of reflection. Therefore, me being able to write this post gives me the venue to reflect.
This is is where I am in the Fall of 2017. Teaching, TOSA’ing, Trying To Stay Connected, and Taking some time to try and take it all in.
Thanks and I hope to reconnect with many of you again soon.
First off, I know I'm supposed to called them "tsunamis" but I grew up in the 80s when all we knew were tidal waves, so that's what I'm naming this post!
I'm sitting here reflecting at the end of my first week of my new job and thought I would try to put some of my thoughts down regarding this job and how I am feeling at this point in my life.
I wrote about the details of my job a previous blog post, but the quick description of my job is:
part time Tech TOSA / part time Broadcasting teacher at Rocklin high.
The days leading up to this week felt like standing on a beach, watching a tidal wave come at me.
By taking on two jobs, I would have a lot coming at me in once the school year began. So, here is what I did:
I thought a lot about over the summer;
I spend time planning that first week
I spend quite a few summer days and nights going into my classroom
I asked for help from family, friends and my education PLN
and I did all this because I KNEW what was in this tidal wave
Now, in no way am I trying to make this list to show how I'm more busy than anyone else... Because so many of us feel this way! It's kind of the nature of our roles in education. We embody the concept of wearing many hats.
What I am wanting to share though, is a bit of a realization that the wave which I was waiting for... wasn't that bad. In fact... it was somewhat manageable.
I attribute this not getting swamped by the tidal was to a fair amount of planning and preparation as well as the natural human feeling of anxiety as a looming date nears you.
And now, here I am on a Sunday night, writing my reflection feeling OK about it all.
I do need to say "sorry" to my PLN. This is my community of education people on social media, like Twitter, Voxer, etc that I feel like I have had to step away from for awhile. I hope to be able to get back on that horse and be part of the community again soon.
oh... and there's still that little voice in there saying, "uh... what are you going to do next week though!"
Crap... time to start lesson planning!
Have you noticed that how we both take and edit our photos have changed? We used to take digital photos with our digital cameras of the events of our lives. Birthday parties, vacations, and holidays all had us bringing out the camera, shooting pictures and videos, then go back to our computers where we would transfer the photos to some folder system on our hard drive and then (if we were good) we’d back them up periodically so all those precious memories would be protected.
So much has changed
First off… we are not using dedicated cameras but our cell phones instead.
Secondly the photos we are taking are less of events and more to more of our daily lives.
Lastly, how we store and edit our photos have changed as well.
I have gone “All In” with Google Photos to manage my the photos in my life. It has been quite transformational saying goodbye the folders on my desktop to letting Google Photos host them all. There are lots of reasons why you too should think about making the jump and I even do workshops showing people the benefits. Just take a look below and see how I have just under 50,000 photos going all the way back to the 1940’s
But one of the things I have missed in having Google keep all my photos is the ability to do some advanced editing with my photos. This is where the app “Snapseed” comes in
Snapseed was a standalone app which was purchased by Google. They kept the app alive and separate from Google Photos and it's one I HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
Snapseed allows you to go deep in your editing to not just change the Brightness, Contrast, and do a little cropping. It lets you play with Saturation, Hues, Skin tones, and way more tools than I'll ever know what to do with. The app also does one giant thing which others do not. You can edit PARTS of a photo. Meaning, you can change the characteristics of whichever parts of a photo you want to.
Need a little fill flash on a face to get rid of a shadow? DONE!
Need a little light and color to the people in the foreground but not change the background? DONE!
Here are two examples.
The first one is of my grandfather where I was able to edit just the radius of his face. On the there images you will see the original, the editing of just the region of his face and then the final version
In the second example I took a photo of family in the Carlsbad caverns. I liked the lighting of the caves in the background but needing to make the family pop out.
So check out the app Snapseed… it's on Android and iOS but there is not a web version which I would love to see for students using Chromebooks... hey Snapseed, are you listening?
I've been listening to the "Note To Self" podcast about the 10 year anniversary of the iPhone and can't recommend this enough. Here's a link to check it out.
Some of lines that gave me pause are:
"Our species is in Perpetual permanent motion"
"For every extension there is also an amputation"
In the end it really got me thinking how much our lives have changed... for both better and worse.
So... What are some ways you have seen life improved or made worse by having these always connected little black slabs with us?
Share it your on Twitter with the hashtag
Here's my first one: