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Are you kidding me? School Hockey game at -29!

Posted by on in Education Leadership
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Are you kidding me? Hard to believe. We saw the photos of the polar vortex. Brrrr.

Gorgeous ice formations, but feh! The havoc wreaked, maybe not over yet. Time will tell what Mother Nature has in store with her fickle surprises lately.

Looked like a disaster movie, maybe the one with Dennis Quaid, Day After Tomorrow, where the kids ended up burning books in the library to stay warm. But they were saved in the end. Happy ending, reunion. I like happy endings. I'm not so sure this story about the hockey game has a happy ending. Let me know what you think about the whole fiasco. Oops, meant to, well, sort of, hold back my opinion. Here goes.

Oh boy, call me crazy! And the best part of this story is, well not gonna' tell you. Just a quick read here to find out!

"This is how you earn the title of the greatest rivalry in high school hockey history." (posted by Zach Halverson, January 30, 2019, see link below).

I say just stay home, people. Stay home. A polar vortex is nothing to take so lightly, maybe just my opinion, but I don't think so. Be sure to peek at the article, in case you haven't heard or read about this. I believe it has enormous ramifications for all of us, as educators, parents, family and members of the greater community. It seems to me we have an obligation to do the nobler thing, to be better than what we have done before. Is competition so fierce that it is The Hunger Games in school sports? if it is not in the best, safest interest of the children in our care, shouldn't someone or a bunch of someones just said a loud, "NO, not worth it!!?".

Seems like we all know what safe schools mean. We may have different ideas, and different ways to get there, but we practice drills, of all sorts now, more than when I was a kid. So it's pretty obvious to me, we take bring prepared for anything imaginable to take precedence over anything else, especially a school game.

When I was little, I remember walking home from school and hiding under our desks, as drills. While Principal, I can assure you we did due diligence to fire drills, no intruder drills then. But I was privileged to be servant leader in a school that people had given up on. We lifted each other up, and therefore the children. But the first thing we did was secure the campus. Period. I had to figure out how to get the community to help, so no more bullet holes in the school or vandalism. And so we did. The children were safe, fed and clothed in our care. Safe, first. School as sanctuary of the soul.

I'm sure educators everywhere recognize the importance of my rule number one. Safe and orderly environment. Those years I taught University Administrative Credential Courses in leadership, the first thing I did was refer to the California Education Code, in particular sections on safe and orderly environment and our "duty to protect".  I taught future administrators that they were, in fact responsible for children before, during and after school, from the time they left home until they arrived home safely. That included bathrooms, halls, buses, playground, classrooms, field trips, and GAMES, you get the idea. Before curriculum, art and craft of teaching, safety. 

I'm sure most states, districts and schools, probably everywhere, not just in the United States, take safety as the most important thing of all. Right?

Another issue I feel strongly about is the extraordinary amount of competition in school and school sports. I'm personally pretty non-competitive. I wrote about this in an earlier BAM blog " Participation Trophies and Winning". I understand, of course that these schools fervently believed they were right. But someone, student, administrator, parent could have been seriously injured or worse. Assuming, of course these people were all about cold and how to avoid it. I get that. But it just takes one. One incident. One liability that didn't need to happen. This game should have been called off. Always a way to postpone. Always.

And in no way should school have been in session that day, possibly endangering, just so that hockey game could be held. Bent the rules. What a decision, a dumb one by those schools' leadership teams, in my opinion. And how could both schools have been so Zook and Yook that their rivalry led them to that decision, even considering mitigating factors. 

It's the  Butter Battle all over again. Dr. Seuss wrote The Butter Battle Book  in 1984, and it's just as relevant, maybe more so than when he wrote it. Each time I read it, I find more and more similarities to a lot of things we experience in life.

In case you missed it, Butter Battle tells the story about the funny characters, Yooks and Zooks who had quite a forever rivalry, arguing simply which way to butter their bread, right side up or upside down. Well, obviously there is a lot more to the story than that, but I'm not writing about that tonight, simply the rivalry between two sides of a simple equation, really.

Just stay home, hockey players! What a historic battle, that's what they thought. Couldn't miss it. Had to play. In fact, nearly all the schools in Minnesota cancelled school those days of polar vortex bitter cold. But not these schools. Not only did they play, to do so, they had to make kids go to classes that day to be eligible to hold the game.

I'm sorry, what a potentially health and life endangering decision. A case of frostbite, anyone? And what about those spectators, who weren't moving as players were? No matter how Christmas Story bundled up like Ralphie, it was still unbearably cold, even colder than the recent NFL Rams and Warriors football game. How cold you ask?

Now granted, it is likely always cold up there in the winter, closer to Canada, than maybe parts of already frigid Minnesota. But are you kidding me? These two rival schools refused to cancel their 154th game in historic weather. Check this, the temperature at puck drop was minus twenty-nine degrees, with wind chill at minus fifty-four. Good grief!

What in the world were administrators and parents thinking? Did the Superintendent and School Board know? If only one school and another one school, someone had to be in charge. A rivalry so Yooks and Zooks that this game had to be played that exact day? I'm sorry, I don't think so.

Here's the really pathetic part of this story. There was no winner. The teams finished the game in a tie. A tie! "The game ended with  a score of 2-2, the fifth tie in the history of their long standing rivalry.

You tell me. Was this worth it? Really? When I say, "Be a risk taker", I don't mean about safety.

Leaving footprints on your heart, Rita

 

 

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Modeling the art and craft of teaching reading for 47 years, Mrs. Wirtz taught language arts, speech and reading at all levels preschool-adult, including penal. She served as Pre-school and K-6 Principal. Rita was also a Curriculum Consultant, ESEA, Title I Program Evaluator and literacy trainer. At the university level she taught school administration in the Bilingual Cohort at CSUS and National University, Sacto. Mrs. Wirtz also taught all reading courses for Chapman University for many years in Sacramento and Placerville, Ca., and mentored student teachers. On the national level she was a well known motivational Keynote Speaker and Seminar Leader. Most importantly, Rita walked the talk, teaching with teachers in more than 500 K-12 and special needs classrooms. Rita authored books, publications and Pre- YouTube, videos were filmed by San Diego County Office of Education. Calif. ASCD authored companion book guides, and Calif. school districts correlated her basic skills instruction with State Standards. Mrs. Wirtz' newest book is Reading Champs! Teaching Reading Made Easy, a review of the basic building blocks of English and Reading. Rita is currently teaching in a multi-age, fully incuded preschool, ages 2-8. Find Mrs. Wirtz on Twitter @RitaWirtz, Facebook and website- www.ritawirtz.com.

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Guest Wednesday, 20 February 2019