He never had paper or a pencil for his classes, but he made sure to hand write an NFL rankings list every Monday morning without fail. He waved it high in the air as he walked through the hallway like it was his flag. The title of the list was “49ers are the best!” or something to that effect. Major sports kiddo. He’s one of my favorites for sure.
I have a huge stack of college pennants in my office, ranging from UC’s to CSU’s, private to HBCU’s, and what nots. Every time he’s come in during the past two weeks, he made it a point to look through them and would tell me if the basketball team was going to play in the NCAA tourney. “Nope, didn’t make it. Nooo, they didn’t have a chance. I don’t want that one. Yea, they’re in! Can I have it?”
Since he was on the rise and showing improvement in his classes after our last meeting, I visited him in class and made a deal with him to have him help me pick teams for my brackets once he finished with his work. He could not contain his excitement! His eyes bulged and his lips were pursed to hold back his smile. Kids noticed and asked him what happened but he just shook his head and continued working on his assignment. When he finally got to my office, I read off the names to him and without much thought, he knew exactly which ones to pick. “Gonzaga or West Virginia?” “Gonzaga!” “Iowa or Connecticut?” “Connecticut! but they call it UConn…” Apparently, I need to brush up on my college names. He was so excited with the process and took his time to carefully pick his NCAA Champion, North Carolina. C got in on it and filled out the rest of her brackets with his help, which I think he really enjoyed too. He was beaming. Before he left our office, he even tried to negotiate how we’d split our winnings. I offered him a nice treat or lunch, but he wanted to go “halfsies” on the winnings, ha!
It’s little things like this that keep me going.