Monday, March 28, 2016

Frisbee Anyone?- #Sol 16 -Day 28

Frisbee Anyone?  - #Sol 16 -Day 28

I am not by any means an athlete, but there is one sport that I love (actually two, if you include floor hockey) and that is Ultimate Frisbee.

I remember the few times I had the opportunity to play Ultimate Frisbee in high school. It was the best! I've always enjoyed just tossing a frisbee back and forth on a green lawn on a lazy afternoon.  I bring the frisbee towards my chest and then just send it out into the universe. (Okay, I am obviously not a Sports Writer).

I love the anticipation of seeing where that same frisbee will head when it is tossed back to me. I run, I lunge, I reach, I jump, and then sometimes I catch.

Now, put that one-to-one frisbee tossing in an actual fast-speed team game, with interceptions, running, and a need to score a goal.  I found it to be the most exhilarating game ever.  I was actually surprised when I realized that I had enjoyed the game. This is coming from someone who actually wished she could be passionate about a sport. This is coming from someone who played defense for soccer games but more just stood there and acted surprised when the ball came my way.  Perhaps, I just can't handle a ball with my feet. Instead of kicking, my feet like a helpless noodle stick would twirl around the ball before another player quickly kicked it toward the goal.  (I am sorry!) Perhaps, I am better with my hands?

Believe it or not, I wish I could play Ultimate Frisbee again.  Again, this is coming from someone who dreaded gym class and was rarely chosen to be on a team. Usually, I stood there making eye contact with the ceiling as classmates were chosen by respective captains. Usually, I would be the last one left and would just walk to the remaining team: hardly chosen. I would try to walk with my head up high towards my side of the court as not to further humiliate myself. I did eventually improve in volleyball, and I definitely loved floor hockey in high school.

Now, floor hockey was lots of fun. Perhaps, the stick gave me a sense of a bit of power. Do not worry, I followed the rules.  I loved to actually play forward for floor hockey. I would put on that colored team shiny sleeveless shirt and forget my worries for the next 30 minutes.  School stress and other issues just melted away as I focused on my stick, the puck and the surrounding players. Oooh weee! I would feel so excited when I had control of the puck and just my stick's movement would send the puck sliding straight to a fellow teammate. I loved the thrill of chasing that puck. I loved the feeling of hockey sticks hitting each other and finding the angle to send that puck towards the goal.

As that Flashdance song says, "Oh, what a feeling!"

The last time I played floor hockey was in the beginning of the century during my first teaching job after I had earned my Masters in Teaching. My advisory group was assigned to do independent reading after lunch. I met with this group community-building activities throughout the week. This was during my early days of teaching, and some of the students still needed to develop a reading habit. Maybe because it was not a formal English class, I struggled to get the reading on board.  The students were restless one day. It was nice outside. Hockey sticks were just leaning idly in the corner of the hallway. So I challenged them to a floor hockey game. Yes, I did (during reading time).  I do want to to explain I tried all sort of strategies to engage the students in reading during that post-lunch advisory reading time: reading them chapter one of Richard Wright's Black Boy, having students share from their books.

So that day, we left our books in the classroom. Stepped into the school yard and played! The students were shocked that I could even play.   Now, I even surprised myself because I am one to stick to rules, but it was warm, and the hockey sticks were just leaning without a task. I think we played a couple more games that Spring and bonded into a group that would eventually consist of individuals who would sit down and "try" to read.

These were my earlier years of teaching. I have to say that this year in my recent school the 10th grade has adopted a year-long independent reading commitment, students have been reading and excited to go check out new books from our great library. Librarians have even been emailing me to let us know when requested books have come in!  I think I have scored a goal getting students to read independently now in my 22nd year of teaching. Most students actually look forward to those 20 minutes when they can plunge into their choice books and enjoy their reading. I think I have scored a goal, but the running and sweating will not stop. The thrill and challenges of teaching will remain!


  1. I love learning these details about you! Ultimate and Floor hockey! I have no athletic ability whatsoever (I thought you were describing me in the part about being the last one left and just walking over to the remaining team), but do remember enjoying floor hockey. For me, it was definitely the stick and the thwack of it hitting other sticks and sometimes the puck.
    Doing something that our students don't expect, like playing a game of pick-up hockey, is a very effective way of engaging them. When I taught middle school we had an annual faculty-student basketball game. Now, I cannot even dribble. (I thought you were describing me when you wrote about pretending to be surprised when the ball reached you on the soccer field!) But I played in those games because it changed the classroom dynamic dramatically.
    Maybe you should bring In a hockey stick when the weather warms and challenge your P1 class to a game!

  2. I can relate to your sports abilities and insecurities. The stress of the performance was too much for me. The ultimate frisbee does sound interesting. Sounds like you are successful though in the classroom with engaging readers! It's a great feeling when students are requesting books and hunting down the next book in a series. Success!

  3. These are two sports I have never played myself. It was fun to read your stories about them. :)

  4. I'll bet your students will never forget you from that spring or the hockey games. All kids wish their teacher would do something really cool like that. Nowadays fun just seems to be absent from teaching altogether; or teachers feel guilty if they are allowing their students to have fun.

  5. I'll bet your students will never forget you from that spring or the hockey games. All kids wish their teacher would do something really cool like that. Nowadays fun just seems to be absent from teaching altogether; or teachers feel guilty if they are allowing their students to have fun.

  6. Ultimate Frisbee sounds fun! A few years ago I joined a Kickball league. It felt like I was a kid again!!! Love the enthusiasm and passion in this post!

  7. Ultimate frisbee?! I LOVE IT. I also love this line: "the hockey sticks were just leaning without a task." There it is: beauty in the every day. Thank you, again.