This morning was a perfect wake up. Nobody else was out of bed and it was perfectly quiet. After gusting winds over the last two days, there was barely a breeze and the ocean looked to be perfectly still. Gradually, the sounds of life began, first as a simple conversation with my wife, then with the pounding rubber of joggers out for a run and the whir of bike tires as Schwinn’s sped by. Before long a surveyor’s measuring tape was plotting a lot for new construction. The day had started. The quiet was gone. So it is with people.

I don’t know what is the most important lesson a coach can share, but I know Coach Farrior said something that inspired me off the basketball court. I wrote an essay in his History class. I have no idea what it was about, but he took me aside and talked up my writing. I may or may not be any good at getting my thoughts on this electronic paper, but I know that the encouragement Coach Farrior gave me helped inspire me to write more at a time where I could have just as easily not written. Thanks, Coach Farrior.

Thank you to my students who make life interesting. They bring their baggage to school and make me stretch to figure out how I’m going to motivate them to be attentive to the lessons I’m trying to teach them. They have their personalities that rise and fall with the sun and moon and give teenage moods keeping me from being stagnant. They challenge me with questions gathered from lives on the internet and talk from whatever social media they follow. I love their dynamic ways of being because it keeps me thinking young. Thank you to all of my students.

Alvin Cauthorn opened the James Blair gym one day to let people play. I showed up and no one asked me to play. I didn’t know the routine of getting into a game. After sitting for a couple of hours, AC came over and told me I needed to speak up if I wanted to play. He told me what to do and how to do it. That was an important day for me because I didn’t know how to advocate for myself. The next two years on his team would be some of my favorite teams. Thank you, Coach.

Surrounded by desks and dodge balls, they circle up and talk the lunch away. Sometimes debating the malaise of students, other times living Seinfeldian limbo acting the parts of their own nothingness. Each day brings freshness to the adults saving what could have been a day deterred by too much time with teenagers, so it is not hard to imagine how they end their meals with locker room humor or the latest story from ridiculousness present. Their opinions could save the planet, end world hunger, or at least make forty two-ish minutes feel like a real lunch hour. See ya’ tomorrow.

Standing at attention and only collecting dust stood an old uniform in the window. I guessed it was from WWI. The fabric was rough and worn, but still crisp and proud, speaking of both action and despair. I was left wondering what the soldier had gone through. The horrors I was glad to only imagine; battles of bombardment so different than the dodgeball I play or the football I watch. The games of this uniform only won or lost by the lives of the soldiers playing. Even then, the trauma of the competition betrays the stoicism of this store window uniform.

Photo by Chris Hancock. All rights reserved.

He got out of his car hoping to impress the texting teases in their vintage VW Golf. He sported generic mandals, yesterday’s t-shirt, and jeans that hung with less cholo style and more of a my butt is not a big as my belly. The result of it all was a shuffle that aspired to be a strut. The girls could not have been bothered by his runway saunter until his flip-flop hit an edge in the sidewalk. He made one recovery step and then majestically crashed to the ground. He laughed, they fawned, and I just shook my head.

She wept while the flies remained indifferent. The leaking from her eyes were tears of monotony and the relentlessness of the buzzing all over her face. Day after day she stepped over the parched field looking for any blade of grass. The drought brought no new shoots and her hooves only kicked up clouds of dust. Through it all the flies kept at her, biting and buzzing. She swatted at them with her tail. She danced on three legs to shake them. Nothing worked for the flies were constant. Each day the same and all she could do was cry.