Well, it’s been months since I last posted. Writing, like exercise, becomes harder and harder to do the longer you are away. In my case, my annual preoccupation with high school soccer has predictably crowded out large swaths of my life, leaving precious little time for my family, much less writing and thinking. And boating . . . over this past spring when the rains finally came and the drought finally eased, I haven’t been back in my boat once since returning from the Futaleufu.
I do wonder from time to time about the time and energy that I sink into soccer, about the opportunity costs of participation and the implicit message in elevating sport to such a postition of importance in our culture. Evolutionary biologists can no doubt explain how our brains are hard-wired for sport, how finding pleasure in competition has conferred an evolutionarily advantage over the eons. Being a part of a team and working hard toward a worthy goal together—with other teams and coaches working equally hard at every turn to thwart your ambitions—that must trigger evolutionary responses that are nigh impossible to resist. In my case, I get swept away every year by the fact that these Neanderthal urges so neatly align with my more high-minded ideals as an educator. I won’t say much more, as talk of how athletics breeds character and how coaching is teaching can quickly start to sound clichéd, but I wouldn’t do what I do if I didn’t believe in these essential truths.
At any rate, our season came to a heartbreaking, premature end this year, but from there I quickly transitioned into the typical end-of-year maelstrom of exams and grading and the like. Only now am I (and we) starting to get some breathing space after feeling as overloaded as I can ever remember. Case in point . . . immediately after submitting my grades and signing off for the summer, Belinda and I were rushing off to join a Grand Canyon rafting trip organized by her boss. On our way to the airport, I asked her “So how do we get from Las Vegas to the South Rim?” and she responded “I don’t know, I haven’t had time to look into it.” And we had only been home from the Canyon a day before I flew to where I am now, to Victoria, British Columbia, for the ASLE Biennial Conference.
Well, I’ve got plenty to report on and talk about as I find the time in the next several days. I’ve got some pictures from and thoughts about our Grand Canyon trip to share at some point, and I’d like to tell you a little about my homeroom’s campaign to get a sizeable solar photovoltaic power array installed on our student center. I certainly have plenty to think through from the different sessions I’ve attended here at ALSE.
Special thanks are owed to Rich Eustis for guest-blogging in my comments section during what he termed the “facist takeover” back in February. I just couldn’t muster the time or energy to respond to Señor Allende, but the more Eustis prompted him to spew his vitriol, the less response was necessary.
Rich, I’m sorry not to see you here in Victoria. Among other things, I need a translator for all this academic blather (like what the hell is the difference between a “social paradigm” and a “cultural construct”?). But I’m also deeply sorry for your loss . . . if a man can be judged by the character of his progeny, he must have been a great one.