Monday, February 8, 2016

Super Bowl Lessons Learned



Those are the two bold faced, inch and a half tall headlines in sections of this morning's Charlotte Observer after the Panther's loss to the Broncos in yesterday's Super Bowl.

Since I left the field of teaching, there have been few times when I really, really miss it. Today is one of those days. I will miss being a part of the lessons learned from this blow to our Carolina ego.

I taught Head Start preschoolers long enough to realize I was too tall to constantly bend over, but if I were with children that young today, I would not ignore the chance for some Super learning. Oh, yes, these children knew on their own level how important the game was. These are the temper tantrum years when crying is the response. I'd wipe the tears and hug them. I might even proudly wear a panther shirt just to show them I still care. It's the visual of the day after that will mean something to them. Well, maybe not that visual!

I taught the middle grades, third, fourth and fifth graders. Those are the children that are on the cusp of understanding the significance of a loss. They are the physical learners, the ones who I'd bet punched the wall (along with their daddies) every time the other team scored. With them I would talk about sportsmanship and losing with grace. We'd do the dab, which now looks more like hiding the face in shame. And we'd pound our desks with a "keep pounding" attitude and learn that being heartbroken over losing also means becoming stronger. And then we'd get back to the business of school because that's what this age group needs. Normalcy. 

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers with a score of 24 to 10 to win Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
I taught eighth grade one year and loved it. These are the students who want so much to be grown, but still have childlike moments (if they are caught off guard). With them I would do all the above and then I would pull out the Casey at the Bat poem and read it to them. We'd discuss Mudville and the people's reaction to Casey striking out and compare it to Cam Newton and his post-game shenanigans at the press conference. We'd talk about emotions and losing and how to deal with adversity. And then we'd get back to normal, because like the younger set, that's what these early teens need.

I also taught freshmen at Appalachian State University and at Caldwell Community College. This is the age group I would most like to discuss the game and learn lessons right alongside. I love teaching adults because we meet on level ground and talk things out. We'd do all of the above and then we'd add the element of youth and razzle-dazzle versus experience and serenity. Adults need lessons, too, after all.

How Carolinians react now will reveal the true makeup of our state and I'm talking both fans and everyone associated with the team. We have much to be proud of. Keep pounding everyone. Defeat is not an option because there's always next year. 

Teachers, don't miss your opportunity! There are here lessons to learn.

Catch of the day,


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