Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Voices From the Past
One nice thing about a career in education is the connections you make. Some of these are with young people, who gradually turn into grown people when no one is looking. Twice recently I have had occasion to catch up with old students. At a high school basketball game I worked a couple of weeks ago (I do PA announcing), the ref said to me, "you look familiar." After a little mental digging, we figured it out--this 30 year old man, married 6 years with a couple of kids, was a junior in one of the first US History classes I taught. Today, a phone call came in--a fine young man who used to be my track team manager (best I ever had!) He wanted to let me know that he is finishing his college coursework with an internship with our local police force, and will enter the police academy this summer. It's a good thing--one way or another, Mike was going to drive very fast in the vicinity of blue lights; if you can't beat 'em, join 'em! I still keep in touch with my first-ever state champion (now a computer programmer in the UK) and the smartest 7th-grader I ever taught (now at Yale). It's a real blessing. On a similar note, I got a belated Christmas card today from a buddy from grad school. He recently published his book on Napoleon's Ministry of War and earned tenure and promotion to associate professor. If you've never been in the academic world of "publish or perish," you can't possibly grasp how VERY cool that is, or how happy I am for him. I guess that means that if I had followed that path we started together (many cups of coffee and games of Risk ago), I might now be Prof. Sal and not Coach Sal (or more likely, I would have the world's longest incomplete dissertation). But then I wouldn't have some of those other voices from the past I cherish so much. Thanks for the memories!