So this has been a tough summer. I love, love, love my new class but they are a handful to say the least. They're all very explosive - it comes hard and it comes fast - and they're all runners. I've becoming very familiar with the layout of our building and the best spots to corner someone. I think the adjustment has gone very well considering I've only been in the room for four and a half weeks but they definitely keep me on my toes.
I've taken a particular liking to one of the kids. He's probably the most challenging. He lived the first part of his nine-year-old life in a very violent, abusive situation and it shows because he blows very quickly and he gets very aggressive. Twice this summer we've had to pull the other kids out of the room while he completely trashed it - kicking over chairs, flipping desks, throwing papers and pencils around the room. When he lifted the teacher's computer monitor over his head we finally escorted him out (whether it should have gone that far first is up for debate) and let me tell you, putting your hands on a kid who's already flipping out? Not that enjoyable. He's got a good heart - as most of them do - and he's really funny but he's a tough-talking little guy who already has way more walls up than any kid should.
But today kiddo had a great day. There was a point when it became clear he was starting to escalate - the body languate, the face, the pacing - and when I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk and take a break from what he was doing, he actually agreed which is a very big deal for him. He took my hand and we took a little stroll around the building so he could have a few minutes to chill out which he did pretty quickly. Right before we went back in the room I stopped him, put an arm around him and pulled him toward me and said, "Hey, bud, I'm really proud of you for taking a break before you got too upset. That was exactly the right way to handle things," and then I gave him a soft little head-butt on the side of his head - he's tall so his head is not too much lower than mine when we're standing side-by-side. He pulled back and said, totally shocked, "Did you just kiss me?!" I said, "No, I head-butted you, you goof." And he said, "Oh, okay..." and then added, a little more softly, "But you can if you want to." These kids, I'm telling you, they break my heart in good and bad ways all at once.
And now back to your regularly scheduled sporting news...
For a few months now people have been telling me how we're really lucky that part of this hockey off-season is going to be filled by the wonder and spectacle of the Olympics. Too bad I hate the wonder and spectacle of the Olympics.
I hate the pomp and circumstance of the Opening Ceremonies. It's fifteen hours of people walking around in stupid outfits. I hate the commercialism of things like the USA's official candy bar and the USA's official fast food sponsor. Please. Most of these Olympians have probably never sniffed a Snickers bar or a bag of McDonald's fries. I hate watching people run in circles around a track that leads nowhere. I hate listening to people go on and on about the beautiful swimmers in their stupid little suits. I hate watching puberty starved little girls flip around on mats and experience the peak of their careers at 14. I hate being told to care about sports where the winner is based on the subjective opinion of a judge. If I can't watch an event and know who the winner is, I don't care. I hate teams consisting of professional athletes who couldn't give a rat's ass about playing for their country pretend like they do.* I hate softball being tossed out of the Olympics with baseball for no good reason at all. I hate weeks of endless stories everywhere about something I'm not that interested in. It's impossible for me to avoid the Olympics because they'll be all over every single channel for the next forever and a day. I hate the manufactured drama of the Olympics. I hate that the networks decide weeks ahead of time who the stories are going to be. I do love when it doesn't quite work out the way everyone planned - see Dan and Dave, 1992. I hate the blown-up pageantry when it's usually a small moment that everyone remembers later. Dan and Dave were a bust in 1992 but who doesn't remember Derek Redmond's father running out of the stands to help his injured son finish his race? That's the kind of moment you can't manufacture and I hate that the bombast threatens to overwhelm things like that. I hate "inspirational" stories about kids who have grown up on the other side of the country from their families in order to pursue an Olympic dream. I don't care. Does that make me a bad person? I still don't care.
So in conclusion, I hate the Olympics.
You know what I do love a little bit though? Badminton. But that's it.
* - I'll exclude hockey players since I think playing on the national team is still a big deal for a lot of them.