Sporting Events and Connecting to Students

I just finished adding every fall sporting event to my iCalendar.

My school is very athletic. Almost every student plays at least sport, and a number of them play two or three.

I, on the other hand, am not at all athletic. I gave up non-competitive soccer in fourth grade to focus on piano. My brothers and I are musical, so we pursued that in high school. My brothers marched in the band. I didn’t want to stand outside in the heat, so I joined the orchestra. Sitting down. Inside. With air conditioning. Ahhh. I joined a variety of other clubs – mostly math, science, or general academic clubs – but nothing even remotely athletic.

So it’s a bit of a culture shock for me to be in a school where sports is such a big deal. I mean, I know the basic rules of everything (thank you, junior high gym class!*), but I don’t typically go out of my way to watch a sports game. I realized pretty early on that if I wanted to engage with my students, I was going to have to get interested in sports.

Thus, my calendar. My goal for the past few years has been to make it to at least one game for every sport that one of my students play. (If I don’t have any golf players, I don’t feel the need to go.) I’ve never succeeded, but last year was pretty good. I made it to football, volleyball, a ton of baseball, and a few minutes of a track tournament. There are a few sports I’d like to add this year.** They love it when I come. “Did you see my touchdown?” “How about my double play?” “Oh, you had to leave early? We scored three times after you left!” And I love being there. My husband comes to watch the game. I go to watch my kids.

But even if I can’t go, the calendar reminds me to ask about them. “Hey, how was your tennis tournament?” “Way to go with the big win in your volleyball game last night!” Following the school’s Twitter feed is also useful. I need all the reminders I can take. In the midst of handing back papers and teaching and tracking down students to finish their make-up work, it’s easy to forget to ask about the game last Saturday. Thus, the calendar.

I want my kids to know I care.

This doesn’t catch every kid, of course. There are one or two where I need to get the dates for their play, or their concert, or their _____.   But asking how it went is better than nothing!

*There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say.

**Anyone know what a high school swim tournament, golf tournament, or cross-country tournament are like? What about tennis?

***Also, my husband really enjoys college football. His alma mater is where most of our students want to go. So every Sunday night in the fall, I ask him to give me the key points of the game so I can make semi-intelligent conversation with my students. It’s not bad for my marriage, either!

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