Tourney Time


Guess what?

They won!

This is the first time since I started teaching that our school has won a state championship. We’ve had some individual champions over the years, but not a team. The thing that was so fun to see, was how the students and the community got behind this team.

School spirit hasn’t been super high for a while now. During spirit weeks, not very many kids participate in the dress up days. It seems to have eroded over the past several years. It’s almost like they don’t know how to have school spirit. Well… I think they’ve figured it out.

I went to the game last night. What was cool to see was how many students and community members came to support the team. In my district there are seven high schools, and when one of them wins, we all win.

When I looked throughout the stands, I could see every color of the rainbow (all wearing maroon and white, of course). Our crowd was highly diverse and proud of it.

Speaking of pride… Our students were proud, and it showed. They were cheering during the entire game. Somehow, that large block of students organized themselves into a creative and respectful cheering section. It wasn’t the cheerleaders or the band leading them. Individual students or small groups would start it and the rest would join in. It was fantastic!

The team has been ranked #1 for most of the season and they were expected to win the state tournament. Someone made a comment about rooting for the underdog to me. The more I thought about it, I realized that these kids are underdogs in everything else. They may not be in basketball, but in every other aspect of their lives, they are the underdog. They played their hearts out and captured a well-deserved victory. And in the process, they made an entire community cheer with happiness.



Have you thought about it?  How well do you do it?  What kind of listener are you?

Lately I’ve been thinking about listening.  I’ve noticed that I do a lot of it and I’m good at it.  I was talking on the phone with my mom a few weeks ago and I noticed that when we both started talking at the same time, we each would stop and decide (unconsciously taking turns) who would speak.  We didn’t talk over one another.  We didn’t finish the other’s thought with our own story.  We just had a nice conversation.

I tend to do a lot of observing.  I’m not the kind of person who is going to fight to be the center of attention to tell my story.  It simply is not worth it to me to expend the energy when someone else needs the spotlight.  I get the spotlight enough with my day job…

There are few different spotlight hijacking tactics I’ve noticed.  Sometimes a person will bring up an idea that inspires another listener to immediately tell their story – no matter that the originator of the idea hasn’t completed their thought.  Many times this leads to tangents and the original idea is lost in space forever.  Others do the “talk over” technique.  It’s like a verbal battle of who wants to get their point across the most.  The loser is the one that shuts up first.  God only knows what either is talking about at that point.

In general, it all works out.  Eventually, what needs to be said is said.  It’s only recently that I’ve been paying attention to this conversation interplay.  But I do wonder if people realize the role that they play.  Are you the spotlight grabber?  Do you have to have the last word?  Or do you just sit back, relax, listen and learn?

Oh, oh, oh it’s magic!

Oh, oh, oh
It’s magic, you know
Never believe it’s not so
It’s magic, you know
Never believe, it’s not so

Do you remember that song? I have it going through my head. Why? I’ve recently started going to a chiropractor. I feel so much better! It’s magic!

I’m a pretty calm person. As a result, I keep all of my stress inside. After almost a year of working on our contract I was in the worst shape I can ever remember. Even my monthly massages weren’t doing the trick.

I thought after the contract was settled, my stress levels would decrease and I would feel better. Well.. that wasn’t the case. I could hardly turn my head. I started running again and I found that my hip hurt, a lot. While my massage therapist was dealing with all of the knots in my back and shoulders, I asked if she thought I need to try something like a chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture. She recommended a chiropractor.

About 2 weeks ago I had an appointment with the chiropractor. After my appointment I felt so much better. I can turn my head much further than before. I don’t feel like I have knots up and down my spine. I haven’t had a headache since that first treatment. I’ve had a few exercises to do and icing my sacrum. I’ve taken a vitamin B supplement. My hip doesn’t hurt nearly as much when I run.

I don’t need to go over all of the details of what she did. I found it completely fascinating how she could identify what was out of alignment and what needed to be done to make me feel better.  She’s not a chiropractor that tries to set up some kind of weekly regimen of appointments.  She does her adjustments and then says that we’ll just take it as it comes.  I’ll go back in another week to see if the adjustments held and then I’ll just schedule as I feel I need it.  I’m really finding the holistic approach very interesting and am enjoying seeing results.  Now I’m curious about acupuncture…

Home Medicine

You think you’ve heard it all…

There was something I noticed earlier in the week. I didn’t ask the student about it until yesterday.

Hey Kim, can I ask why you’ve got the band-aids on your face?

Well… my mom didn’t like my moles so she took the off.

Holy shit!

I used my well-practiced skills of masking my surprise and asked her a few questions. I know that the Hmong don’t necessarily believe in Western medicine and they have some of their own remedies. I’ve heard of them doing some odd things with hard-boiled eggs. But other than that, I don’t know anything about Hmong home remedies. I do however, know about mole removal.

I kept thinking about Kim throughout the day and told a few other teachers. We talked about the scarring that could happen and if I should tell someone and who that person would be. I thought about how this was done, what my experience was like, and what ramifications Kim might face.

Today after my lesson, I had Kim come back to the office. I still had the “wound care” instructions from my mole removal. I gave her the paper that detailed cleaning the wound twice per day and the various signs of infection that could occur. This other part might sound odd, but I showed her one of my scars from my mole removal (don’t worry, it wasn’t in a weird place). After 6 months, you can easily see where I’m still healing.

From what I can tell, Kim’s mother did this without any sort of drug to numb the area. I don’t know what exactly was used to take off the moles. I told Kim about my experience and that moles need to be checked for cancer, etc. I later talked to our school nurse to ask her what should be done. She thought that what I had done so far was appropriate and I should keep an eye on her. At this point, what’s done is done.

I’ll keep watching Kim to see what happens after the band-aids are removed. I’m really curious about what other Hmong home remedies are out there. Hopefully most of them are as harmless as setting a boiled egg on some part of the body.