Saturday, January 14, 2012

What's In a Name?

My first bazillion choices for the name of this blog were already taken. Kind of cool, really, since it suggests that there are a lot of unschooling blogs out there.

It made me have to think of another name, and take a little more time with it.

At first, I wanted something to do with "thinking about stuff," since that is what I do a lot of. Maybe too much of, all things considered.

Then I went with some learning-related names.

Still no go.

So I started thinking. Imagine that.

I came up with "Unschooling Me" because I like the double meaning.

One is that I really plan to write about my own learning, for the most part, rather than that of my kids. As I say in the sidebar, I can write about my own process from the inside, but can only observe my kids' from the outside.  Also, I'm resisting the concept of "unschooling" as something done to kids, since in my family it has been something we all do together. Or do separately, together.  Or something. I am living and learning just as much as they are.

The other meaning for the title is that this blog is about this particular part of me. I wear a lot of hats, both literally and figuratively. I've written about other things on other blogs fairly extensively for the past few years. I've written about unschooling all over the internet, except on one of my blogs.

So this blog will be about the "unschooling me" (n) unschooling (v) me.

I expect it to cover a lot of ground.
Even if I stick to MY interests, that is just about everything.

Today's thing I'm thinking about: football.
Watching the San Francisco 49ers currently beating the Saints, which is connected to a lot of memories for me.

I have 49-er related memories going back to junior high school, when a bunch of us adopted names of famous people as nicknames, and mine was John Brodie, who was the 49er quarterback. Since Brodie was my last name at the time, it was a natural connection, although as far as I know, he isn't actually related, at least not in any way we're aware of. Funny thing, though- he kind of looks like my Dad. So who knows?

During high school, I attended every football game, but never really watched any of them. I was in the band, and decidedly uninterested in football. A bunch of guys wearing a lot of padding, and running into each other. What's the point? The only player I had any interest in watching was my friend John who was a football player- and a jazz trombonist.

I started watching football when we lived out in California, in the Bay Area. Home of the 49ers, oddly enough. The only NFL team I had ever had any interest in, and there we were. A funny thing happened, though. They were good. And not only were they good, but they had a quarterback at the time who was clearly smart about it. Suddenly, football made sense, and not only that, was something I could watch and analyze and learn about.

Joe Montana.
One of the best who has ever played the game.
Able to leap tall buildings in a single... you get the idea.
He and Jerry Rice, who I will personally argue IS the best who has ever played, made a nearly invincible team. Excellent work ethic combined with intelligence and a thorough understanding of the game, and football was no longer a bunch of guys crashing into each other. It became a fascinating display of combat theory.

We watched every game.  Memorized plays. Knew everything that was publicly known about every player. Subscribed to the 49ers insider newspaper/magazine, for even more information about the team and the players.

This continued past Joe Montana, into the reign of the Steve Young/Jerry Rice partnership. One excellent quarterback followed by another, at least equally brilliant, superb player. The Glory Days of the team, for sure.

This was something we did as a family. We wore 49ers clothing, watched the game every week, kept tabs on what was happening in the offseason, and even after moving back here, we went to the first game they played in Buffalo, the closest team. Where they were brutally beaten, sad to say. Still, it was great. The drive up there, every car that passed, every rest stop and gas station, awash in a sea of 49ers colors.

I stopped watching football not long after that, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here. A change in priorities.  During my hiatus, I think the team took one as well. Things have not been going so well for my team. The great players retired or moved on, and the league-wide salary cap and other changes, in search of equity, made it a challenge to replace those players with any of equal caliber. Not that there were any, anyway.

But here I sit, years later, watching the 49ers, still leading the Saints, and it warms my heart. I can't name the Niners players anymore, but there is still enough of that feeling of "my team" left that I can't help but smile.  The kids aren't watching with me. They've moved on, as well, and are no longer interested.  Even so, since discovering what I'm doing out here, there have been a couple of expressions of being pleased that "we" are winning.

It's halftime.
Time to get off my butt and make dinner.
Thanks, team. Maybe it's true that you never really forget your first love. I can't imagine ever cheering for any other football team.

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