Orange balls and sweat

I enjoyed playing some basketball today… it, like motorcycle rides, generally clears my head…
My philosophy of life is, “Love and Chaos”… children and advocacy and the ECE profession provide me with those things… but it is my thick-headedness, my ego, my anti-establishmentarianism, my irascibility and iconoclast tendencies, combined with my parents expectation that my brothers and I perform a social good… it is that formula that fuels that relationship between ECE and Love and Chaos…
I enjoy writing and thinking and puzzling and problem-solving… I enjoy doing math calculations longhand on scraps of paper and I attach my mind to an idea like a Remora to a Shark…
Basketball – even at my relatively advanced age – is the best example I can think of to my relationship to ECE: I do the dirty work… the stuff that doesn’t show up on the stat sheets (the picks, box-outs, going after loose balls)… and I can become quite intense and infuriated at opposing players and team mates alike only to relax and hang out afterwards… and I believe that we, as ECE professionals need to learn to do that… we need to learn to be intense and infuriated. Certainly children are (or should be) more important that a game that consists of men in shorts chasing one ball around a big room trying to throw it into metal hoops hanging from a board…
Can’t we, like basketball players, yell at one another? push each other to give their best effort? enforce our will? demand “the ball” (DAP)? complain with gusto? Can’t we learn to be fierce during “game time” (advocacy time) and still be nurturing and respectful once the buzzer sounds?
Until then, I can only tell everyone that evidence seems to indicate that in gyms around the country on Sunday mornings, basketball players care more about their yellow ball than early educators care about children… when the ball is in play cell phones are unanswered, friendships are on hold, niceties are for later… only absolute effort is valued… even old men (like myself) playing with younger men do our best to be worthy competitors, worthy “opponents”…
At the end of the game, friendships are resumed… no hard feelings…
That’s why I do what I do… that’s why I can get angry at meetings, frustrated with “team mates” (colleagues), demand more from team mates than they might be comfortable giving in order to “win” (advocate) for children… It’s why I don’t even own a cell phone… There are T-shirts that read, “Basketball IS Life”… and for at least a few hours a week, basketball, to me, IS life.
Much of the rest of the time, ECE is life… It’s something to fight for, to set aside friendships for, to demonstrate that we are worthy competitors (advocates)…
Let each and every one of us demonstrate what it takes to be champions of ECE… even if it means being angry, outspoken, fierce, competitive, proud… even if it means going outside our comfort zone…
Wouldn’t it be a better world if a great teacher’s autographed apron went for sale on e-bay to an admiring fan?
Gregory Uba
Men In Child Care
Sac Valley AEYC, Redwood Empire AEYC, Beach Cities AEYC
PS
my jersey number is 4… !!!!

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