Baseball Fever

March 5, 2020

Dear Families,

We eat, sleep, and breath baseball at our house. When I need inspiration, I search the Baseballism website. I could produce post after post discussing all that I’ve learned from baseball. In fact, I would argue that all I ever needed to learn, I learned from baseball.

My top three favorite Baseballisms:

  1. The name on the front of your jersey represents who you play for. The name on the back of the jersey represents who raised you. Do them both justice.
  2. There is only one thing to do when it’s not baseball season, prepare for baseball season.
  3. There is a story behind every number, on every back, of every baseball player.

Eventually, I believe each of these quotes will find their way into a blog post that I hope inspires someone to view life differently. Today, as I reflect on our grade series, I remember the day Hunter and I suffered from Baseball Fever.

Paul scored Opening Day tickets for the Colorado Rockies the year Hunter was in 6th grade. The tickets included an all-inclusive buffet lunch at a local restaurant across from 2001 Blake Street and VIP passes to several events celebrating the day.

When I learned of this fortune, I believe I turned 6 shades of green. I tried desperately to hide my jealousy. I failed.

Paul laughed out loud and told me that I could stop formulating my dissertation on why I should be the recipient of the tickets. He intended to give them to me and Hunter. Did I marry well or what!

We kept the news from Hunter until the morning of Opening Day. I woke him up holding the tickets in my hand. I watched, with complete joy, as he realized what I held in my hands. Then I watched as his heart sank. I knew immediately what registered in his mind. “My mom is a teacher. We don’t believe in missing school.”

I looked at him with all the concern I could muster and said, “So, I hear you developed Baseball Fever over night.” Initially, he looked puzzled. But he quickly connected the dots.

That day will forever live in my memory. Hunter reminds me of it every year on Opening Day. “Mom, do you remember in 6th grade when we went to Opening Day? Do you remember you bought me that score book and I kept score?”

Do you know what he doesn’t remember? He doesn’t remember that he earned a lower grade on a social studies project because he had to turn it in late. He doesn’t even remember what the assignment was.

Do you know what he doesn’t remember? He had to miss recess on Monday and Tuesday of the following week to make up a reading and math test. I challenge you to consider the following questions from my original post in this series.

  1. Why do I find myself concerned about grades?
  2. What do grades actually mean for my student(s)?
  3. Do I have a clear understanding the impact of grades on my student’s future?

Am I advocating that students miss school? Am I suggesting that I don’t value school work? Am I promoting a lack of responsibility? I can say with conviction…Absolutely not.

What I am challenging is our mindset and understanding. Why are we concerned about grades? The grade Hunter earned on the social studies project because it was late did not change the lessons he learned during the unit. Nor did it diminish the learning that occurred as he created it.

The process of learning was not negated because it wasn’t turned in on time. We made a conscious choice to accept the consequence of our action. But he still learned valuable skills and gained important learning in the process.

I can see the bewilderment on many faces as you read this. I know without a doubt you are wondering why we didn’t drop off the assignment prior to leaving for the game. Then, it wouldn’t be late.

Some of you are thinking, why didn’t you call him out sick so that he could have an extra day?

True enough.

But I also knew he was watching. Kind of like the Rodney Atkins song about the four year old who said a four letter word that started with S and the dad was concerned. When he inquired where his son learned to talk like that, the response silenced him.

“I’ve been watching you. Dad, ain’t that cool. I’m your buckaroo. I want to be like you.”

I knew I needed to model what I expected of him.

What I wanted him to copy. In that moment, I chose wisely. I have plenty of examples when I failed. Miserably.

Fortunately, failure is not final.

Consider this. I knew that his grades in elementary school served as a gauge of his understanding. I knew that they would not impact high school placement or college acceptance. I understood the impact of his grade on the assignment and on his future.

But I also knew that I made a conscious effort to allow him to have a play day on a school day. So, I took a calculated risk, allowed him to miss, and endured the consequence of our choice. One that paid off recently in a way that I did not expect.

As I made my way through the building last Friday, my wrist vibrated with a notification. I looked down to find a notification in La Mia Famiglia. When I got back to my office, I opened the text.

A found myself looking at this view and this text.

“I got sick with baseball fever. But don’t worry mom, I already completed my participation make up points.”

I implore you to remember that you are in the early miles of the education marathon. Keep moving forward but pace yourself…You have a long way to go.

Honored to Serve You All,

Janet Worley

P.S. In an effort to promote life-long learning in our community, I am offering 2 hours of community service for completing this Google Form. The form will accept responses until Sunday, March 8th at 11:59 PM. If you have trouble with the link, open it in a new window.