Friday, October 24, 2008


I am the new District Leader for the Illinois Valley for the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE), a part of the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE).

It was also our annual convention just last weekend up in Oak Brook, Illinois. I learned a ton of new things, like the fantastic idea of the "novel reduction." I can add that to literature circles and then actually do independent reading of whatever the heck book they want to read. Cool. Plus, I got to meet keynote speaker Tim Duggan, a professor who puts out CDs of Shakespeare and poetry with real music. I also got to meet and hang out with the hilarious Illinois Author of the Year, Simone Elkeles.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Squib Kick

I am a big Bears fan--have been since even before Superbowl XX. I have always admired Walter Payton (and I think his all-time rushing record would still be up there if he had been on a better team for several of those years--Emmitt Smith benefitted from being on a great team around himself).

Anyway, yesterday I watched the Bears beat the Atlanta Falcons with only 11 seconds left. I probably jinxed them because I said, "Bears win!" Then I watched them lose on a fabulous throw by Matt Ryan with only one second left and a field goal.

But it was because of that damn squib kick. That put them in range of that nice little thirty yard pass to set them up for that field goal.

I'm not taking anything away from the Falcons. They won the game, even under the most adverse of circumstances (and Elam should have kicked that other field goal anyway). The Falcons kick returner also had just had a remarkable return, which is what the Bears were afraid of, I guess.

But to squib kick it, not to give their kick coverage unit the ability to stop the returner back at the 20-or-so, like about 90% of kicks in the NFL, they set themselves up to lose.

This is the equivalent in a game of eightball where you leave the cueball for your opponent with a perfect and easy shot at winning.


This is just another instance of watching a game and wondering if I could make better play calls than the coaching staff--just wondering.