Thursday, September 06, 2007

Long Day

Today started at 7am for me, which isn't necessarily early for most of you, but I started making a habit of staying up late and waking up around 11am. It is much easier to do than it sounds, given two weeks of nothing to do before 2pm. But that life is over. It was fun while it lasted, but today marked the beginning of three weeks of observation for me.

I started my observation today at Eckstein Middle School, my old stomping grounds. I walked the ten or so blocks to school this morning at 8am. I had on a fleece, but the second I got to school I shed it. Today ended up being a beautiful day, maxing out at around 75 I'd guess. I observed Mr. Howell's 8th grade math class until about noon today. He was one of my favorite math teachers growing up, and I was able to get in contact with him back in July about observing his class when I got back to Seattle.

He remembered me after about a ten-year absence, because I was one of the kids on his first "math team" trip up to Blaine, WA. It is just south of the Canada border, and I was only there because my math-genius friend, DTran, wanted someone there he knew. The most memorable moment of the trip, besides not knowing any of the math questions, was skying Mr. Howell playing ultimate frisbee out on the grass during one of the breaks at the math competition. I think we ended up doing fairly well at the comp., no thanks to me!

We talked a lot during his break period, and it was kind of cool to play connect the dots with old friends and family friends who had taken math from Mr. Howell. I would mention someone, then he would say if they or their siblings were in his class, then I would update him on what they were doing now. One of the craziest crossroads was that his daughter is now at Nathan Hale, and is playing ultimate frisbee. Her coach is Sammy CK, who I played ultimate with growing up and is in my fantasy football league! Again, it is pretty nutty being in a city where I actually know people--still awkward, but I'm sure that'll pass soon enough.

I only observed until lunch, because it was pretty much get-to-know-you day and go over the syllabus. After four runs through the syllabus, I had it down water-tight, and didn't really need to hear it two more times. Another cool thing about observing Mr. Howell's class is that he has homeroom, then he has his prep period until 9:10am. So I don't have to come in until then to observe! I observe three classes, have lunch, observe two classes and the day is over! Well, then I head to Greenlake and coach.

Today, coaching was a lot of fun, and I finally got to run the kids a bit. It wasn't bad really, but got their blood pumping. I hit some really soft balls at them today, which was a change of pace. I noticed at our match yesterday at Issaquah, that they were getting a TON of floaty balls back, due to their really good groundstrokes--but once they got the floaty balls, they couldn't put them away! It was frustrating as a coach, to have a team dominate from the baseline, but not be able to put anything away!

So I pretty much lobbed balls at them, hoping they would smash them for nice shots--sadly they smashed them... into the net, or into the fence behind the court. Not many hit their intended target--so I'll have to work on that. The team is really above average at hitting nice, hard groundstrokes, but realistically, at the JV level, they aren't going to get into that many good rallies--they will more often get into loopy-ball rallies that need to be put away.

We backed it up a bit and hit a little harder, then I got a couple double matches going before calling it a day. Tomorrow should be fun, and I hope to make Friday the fun days to come to--play some fun games like monster king-of-the-court, and graveyard (where once you miss a ball, you sit on the court and stay there, like a zombie--and you get to hit any ball that comes your way).

After practice, Tyler and I tossed the disc for a bit, then watched the first football game of the year. Saints at Colts, and the Colts just whooped em'. For the most part, the game was a push for me. I could have done a lot, lot better, but in my pick'em league I had the Colts winning, and in my fantasy league I had the Colts D. Unfortunately, Tyler, who I'm playing this week, had Peyton Manning, who went off for 230+ yards and 3TDs. Drew Brees and Marques Colston combined for 8 whole points--Brees had 2INTs and zero TDs, and Colston only caught a couple passes for 40 yards or so. I think the Saints duo is going to wreak havoc this year, just not against Indi. The big bright side was the Colts Defense, who I picked on purpose in our fantasy league, because I think they are way underrated. I also have the Saints D, who I knew couldn't really contain Peyton--but they had me second guessing my Defensive choice after the 10-10 halftime score, with the only Saints Touchdown a fumble-recovery touchdown! Both Defenses are looking great, Peyton and the Colts were just too strong at home.

Looking forward to the rest of the NFL games this weekend, observing tomorrow, the UW/Boise State game this weekend, and grilling up at Marc's for the Seahawks game on Sunday!

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