It's been a rotten week, salvaged only by a baseball practice just now in which I was able to throw two hours straight of batting practice. I will be sore tomorrow, but at least heaving several hundred baseballs at my players is a good stress reliever.
Why has the week been rotten? I'm not sure. It's just one of those weeks where the minor conflicts and workload associated with teaching is especially difficult to bear. I had a huge case of the crankies today, and it wasn't until baseball practice that my mind was cleared of it. This is why baseball is a good thing for me. Even though the time commitment is incredible, the stress relief is something I count on to bring me through to through the middle of May.
Our undefeated season will almost certainly remain so through the end of the week. We are playing two teams that we mercy-defeated by scored of 22-3 and 33-1 earlier in the season. However, on Monday, we play the #1 team in the city in a doubleheader and, on Wednesday, we play our chief rival (who seem like they might end their eight-year run of consecutive city championships this year after a couple of key losses). Three games in three games, and my star pitcher can't pitch all three of them, so it will be an interesting week. We're a good team, but it's also that time of year when the team is competing with proms, closely approaching graduation, and even a little ennui.
Last week, I had one of my favorite players quit. He's a sophomore on a varsity team, a kid I kept because I thought he was a talented athlete who I could be able to groom as a catcher for next year. I was right on the first point. After four games, he'd gotten into three of them to get an inning or two of garbage time. In our last game, he was a pinch-runner in a very tight spot and ended up getting picked off. The next day, he missed practice without warning. The day after that, his dad called me, asking about playing time. Now, it was after four games, so I'm not sure how anyone can really complain about playing time just yet, but I'd never met the father before so I was polite with him. I told him that J would get his time, but that this is a learning year for him and he shouldn't expect to be starting as a sophomore over my team captain and senior, one of the best catchers in the city. I told him that I was a big fan of the kid's - this is why I kept him on the team, why I've taken him and another sophomore under my wing (I took him to Sports Authority and bought him his first cup, I took he and another player out to Chili's for dinner because it was so late, I give him rides home all the time). The father cut me off, said there were other teams that wanted him to play, and said, "Coach, if you're not going to let my son show you what he can do, I'm going to pull him from the team." I then told him that if he quit two weeks before the end of the year, then that would certainly affect his status as a player on my team in the next year and the year after, and that it was very disappointing to hear that he would consider quitting the team at this juncture after four games. The father ended up threatening to go to my principal if quitting the team would mean he couldn't try out next year, and I said that was fine, and then he hung up on me. The kid has never come to me about this, but he hasn't shown up for a practice or a game since then, so now I can assume that he has officially quit. It bugs the crap out of me because I really liked the kid, and he is a talented athlete, but this means I certainly can't have him on the team next year or possibly the year after. In addition, it bugs me because I really read this kid's character wrong. I can at least point to the fact that his dad is an asshole and that's probably why the kid is, but - sheesh - it's a huge disappointment, especially when he barely made the team and I've got some really great kids slumming it on the JV team that could have had his spot.
As for class, it's just been a hard week to teach. Today was the first day without a fire set in the bathroom since last Wednesday, and the way they prevented any fires was by locking every single student bathroom in the school, except for our general adult guest bathroom near the main office. I guess that is one solution, but it certainly was not very convenient for me, when I had to go to the bathroom, nor if I wanted students to be able to go quickly to the bathroom without making a big production of it. Today, however, we did have drinking water in the building, so that's a plus. Yesterday, I've never been more tempted to drink the lead-infested water out of the sinks; I was so thirsty that my mouth felt like it was full of cotton. I ended up just splashing the lead water on the face, and pretending that this was actually quenching my extreme thirst.
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