Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ollie Ollie In Come Free!

While I was teaching my nephew Keith how to pluck oysters from the jetty, he taught me a few things about skateboarding.

I want to learn how to "Ollie"--it's a little skip move that allows skaters to jump up curbs. More important, it looks cool.

I'm in my fifth decade, sixth if being a fetus counts for anything.

If I want to do a Kickflip or a Pop Shuvit, I have to Ollie first.

I'm a practiced faller. I've fallen off bicycles, motorcycles, unicycles, small cliffs, rooftops, cars, ladders, and snowboards. I've jammed my neck bodysurfing. Falling at any speed is not much fun at my age, but there still remains that tiny huge thrill I get before actually kissing the asphalt.

I try, I fall, I check the damage, I try again. It's fun, and I know that if I want to get to a Pop Shuvit, I got to get through the Ollie first.

Imagine if my nephew said, "Geez, Uncle Muncle, you've spent all you alloted time on the Ollie--we're going to start the Pop Shuvit tomorrow." (My trainer is a 9 year old with sense, so that's not going to happen.)

And so it goes.

Our state tests our biology students mid-May. School runs to late June. I am going to ask students to do the Pop Shuvit in March before they learned how to Ollie. (For the more literal among you, take a deep breath--I am teaching biology, not skateboarding. Maybe once I get tenure that will change.)

Mastery of almost anything requires time, effort, and (dare i say it?) love.

I can "incent" my students to know enough to pass just about any test, but mastery requires time, effort, and love.

Time. Effort. Love.

We can argue about how much blood I need to spill before I learn the Ollie--some techniques may be better (and safer) than others. Still, without the time, without the effort, and without my love of skating, all the arguments of which technique to use are in vain.

I don't care how well the Chinese can do the Ollie. I don't care how well my Ollie compares to the Russians. I don't care if the state has some test to measure my Ollieness. All I care about is mastering something I think would be uber-cool to master.

And I am going to keep trying it until I get it. Wouldn't it be uber-cool if my students had the same opportunity to master walking before I was forced to teach them how to run?

The photo is by Michael Andrus, the skater is Matt Metcalf, and the photo was found at skateboarding.
I think this is my 200th post.

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