Friday night, we travelled north and then west past Tallahassee to the little town of Quincy in Gadsden county.
That's a pretty long ride ... about 3 or 4 times through Jimmy Buffett's Beaches CD from the Boats, Bars, Beaches, Ballads set. Fueled by a large, and very good McDonald's coffee, I sang along over and over again driving home with a sleeping wife and lad in the truck. We arrived home around 2:00 am Saturday.
It was homecoming for the private school that we competed against. That tells you something about our little football team's record ... we are the school other schools invite to homecoming.
I think we only fielded about 20 players for this game. The boys work really hard each game, but almost always we are up against larger squads and bigger boys.
This was a more equal match as far as the appearance of both teams. They had only a few more boys on their squad and although they had more tall kids ... they were kind of spindly.
Before we get to the rest of this post, which is mostly me pridefully showing you pics of my boy, let me make an observation.
Gadsden county is the only county in Florida where the majority of the citizens are black Americans.
As far as I could tell from looking at both the private school website and their football team, cheerleaders, and fans ... they were completely, glowingly, lily white.
You might think a veteran public school teacher like me would not be pro-private school, but that would an incorrect assumption. Just the opposite ... except when I see something like this.
In general, every good private school helps me and my students by lowering our class sizes. Good private schools also exert some competitive pressure on public schools to teach well and keep improving.
In our county, the private schools are mostly church run and fundamentalist. You can imagine that some of their science ideas and mine might diverge, but that's fine with me.
What bothers me most about our local private schools, is that the school day consists of working through a workbook with the "teacher" sort of "on call". If you have a question, she comes over to your cubicle and assists you. I suppose that is technically teaching, but it's not my definition of the art.
Like the school in Gadsden county, they are also essentially white monocultures with unusual (to me) rules and ideas. One example: A mother I know was investigating one of these schools for her son who happens to have long hair. The school master pointed out that her son would have to cut his hair to attend, because after all, " ... long hair on boys was associated with homosexuality."
She pointed out the picture of a long haired Jesus on the wall and left, never to return.
I think she is homeschooling her child now. More power to her. I have no quarrel with that either if the parent is capable of teaching. To assume that all are capable is to live in a fantasy land, because it takes a lot of work and time to do it right. I know some home school parents who do superior jobs and others who home school an older sibling so the parent can go to work and have a free babysitter.
Wandered a bit didn't I?
I think I just started out making the point that the school we played was as white as a Least Tern's ass in a county where the demographics are more the color of a Fish Crow's butt.
And then there is our team ...
Our team ... wooo boy ... we are a spicy calalou of white Americans, black Americans, hispanic Americans, and some fascinating mixes of each. We are a mix of economic classes too. My son is in class with kids above and below his economic level with about as much of a melanin mix as is possible.
He has a solid set of values and recognizes that some of his classmates do not. Interestingly, those classmates who are lacking in what most of us lump together as morals, respect, and basic decency have not dragged him down by proximity in a mixed classroom.
In fact, I would say they have made him stronger and more prepared for the world he steps out into when he graduates this year.
Is this a football post or some kind of essay about education in America?
Wasn't I supposed to be Dadly bragging on my boy?
Here we go ...
First, we won for a change. Woohoo!!! 31 to 12.
Here's Junior breaking away after catching a long pass. Number 12 caught up with him just before the goal and forced him out with a face mask grab.
He did apologize right away though, and even Junior agreed it was not intentional. I will give this private school points for good sportsmanship.
THAT is an area that some of OUR players could work on.
A little Junior blocking action that luckily happened right in front of me. The little flash on the Sony has trouble reaching waaaaaay out there when the action happens down field.
Junior kicking for extra points.
He doesn't miss these things, and they usually go far beyond the fence.
Standing on the sideline with my camera, the chain crew was next to me, both of them parents from the private school team.
"Now THAT is how to kick a football! Our guy needs to watch this guy" exclaimed one of the chain guys.
"That's my boy." I replied.
Man, that felt good.