Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My 15 Minutes of Fame is Over

Movember is now complete! Special thanks to all of the South Medford High staff, students, family and community members who donated to the Mo Panther team and the fight against men's cancer. Most of all, I'd like to thank my loving wife for hanging in there with me on one of the most hideous things I've ever grown.

Huge shoutout to Jenica Villamor, a talented local reporter on CBS affiliate KTVL (and a grad of the awesome school of journalism at U of O). She did a news story on our efforts which resulted in a lot of exposure for the cause and some key donations. Here's Jenica's piece on the Mo Panther team at South. Well done. I must say, fellow teacher and hoop brother Russ Miller did a great job representing our team! I'll update this post with our final total as we wind down.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Duke vs. Oregon: A Festival of Singlers

The family travelled to Portland this weekend for a little getaway and to see the Oregon vs. Duke basketball game. About 800 South Medford High fans made the trip up north to see our favorite basketball sons, Kyle and E.J. Singler (both are grads of SMHS). The game wasn't much to talk about but it was cool to see a number one team in action. Kyle had a big game, scoring a career-high 30 points in the game. It was great to see a couple of Kyle and E.J. interactions - these guys are serious competitors and you could tell that their rivalry goes way back to childhood.

The Rose Garden Arena was impressive - it's an amazing facility with a great vibe. I had not been to the site since the old Memorial Coliseum days of the Rip City Blazers. It's well designed and it had the same feeling of intimacy with the court, even though it's much larger. Hank got a pic with The Duck (made his day!). Oregon had just beat Arizona in football the previous night, so props to The Duck for making the trip less than twelve hours post game. Apparently, school spirit takes no naps. Overall a very fun weekend of hotels, shopping, food and sports!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Amazing Clarity on the State of Public Education

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you and your family are enjoying a day of rest and thanks. I am very thankful for all of the goodness in my life. I heard an excellent quote today, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift". Later this quote will change to, "Ugh, I ate too much", but right now I am fully present and in the moment.

Fellow teacher, Steve Jensen hooked me up with this clip from Sir Ken Robinson on the paradigm shift that is needed in education. Essentially, that our current educational models are based on outdated influences from The Age of Elightenment, and production line efficiency of The Industrial Revolution. I have never heard such a succinct and clear summarization of the problem. I also love the RSA's style in this video - these whiteboard illustrations are a captivating way to deepen our understanding of a complex topic. Side note; RSA stands for "Royal society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures, and commerce". The RSA is a 250 year old organization dedicated to enlightened thinking, and social progress with a focus on ideas in action. Check them out at http://www.thersa.org/. Their dialogue is fascinating and important.

One caveat, this video accurately describes the problem, but it falls short of the massive solution that is required to fix the problem. We need a sea change in education, a foundational shift in the way we do business. Regardless, this is wonderfully thought-provoking and I encourage you to share Ken's wisdom with other people in your community.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Donate Money to My Mustache and Support Men's Cancer Research!

It's MOVEMBER! Much to the chagrin of my wife, I have been growing a mustache for charity since November 1. It's been a lonely ride, but thankfully 15 other
guys at my school are doing the same thing. We're formally participating in Movember, an international fundraising effort that supports Lance Armstrong's Livestrong, and the Prostrate Cancer Foundation. I'll let their web site do the talking...

"Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days.

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia. The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health. Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement."

You, YES YOU, can support my stash and the South Medford High School "Mo Panther" mustache team by donating to our efforts. You can easily donate electronically by clicking on the following link (you'll even get an electronic tax receipt):


As a special bonus, I promise to send pictures of my stash to anyone who donates! I need your support!

Monday, November 1, 2010

R.I.P. Luke!

Earlier this month one of my childhood heros died. Maurice Lucas, talented basketball player and all around good guy, died of cancer on October 31st at the age of 58. Luke (or "The Enforcer" as he was known) played a key role in my childhood in Portland. Maurice Lucas was part of the 1976-77 Portland Trailblazer NBA championshiop team. This team overcame monstrous odds to beat the Philadelphia 76ers which was loaded with talented players like Darryl Dawkins, and basketball God, Dr. J. Along with Bill Walton and a cast of no names, Luke provided the muscle and drive to win the championship, and essentially the hearts and minds of the city of Portland, OR. Game 2 of that series was a real turning point. Philly was about to go up 2-0 in the series when Darryl Dawkins got in a scuffle with forward Bob Gross, wrestling him to the ground and throwing punches. Luke stepped in to nail Darryl in the back of the neck, a scuffle ensued and both were thrown out of the game. Chocolate Thunder went into the locker room and destroyed the bathroom stalls (with Dick Schaap reporting remotely from the bathroom), and the Blazers went on to win the next four games and the championship. Luke represented the pride of our city, much aligned for being one of the smallest NBA cities and a place only famous for rain and progressive city planning (yawn!). I can remember my Dad and I running outside and screaming at the sky when the Blazers won. Portland went nuts! People were honking car horns, impromptu parades started, and general mayhem ensued. Nothing this big had ever happened to Portland, and Luke helped to put us on the map.

Luke went on to play for several other NBA teams and eventually became an assistant coach for the Blazers, under coach Nate McMillan. Although he was feared on the hard wood, off the court he was a gentle soul. Bill Walton was so affected by him, that he named his own son Luke. From what I've read he was a great role model to young NBA players throughout his career.

Thanks for the memories, Luke. You lifted the spirits of a rainy city and made all of us feel proud! Here's a clip of the final moments of the 76-77 Trailblazer NBA Championship...