Genuine realizations.

I still think it is amazing the things we miss.

At nine years old, Amaya was simply was a puppy again at training. HUGE credit of course goes to Andres Jannou for the years he actually did spend on her when she and Wriggley needed someone to guide them, as well as Carolyn Baynes who puts the guides and pointers in all the right places. From the very day Amaya had the chance to be a part of the WHS play Annie, she when asked is seemingly yelling, “What have you been waiting for?” Her easy going nature, her eyes, her mannerisms, her willingness to do things that have never been asked and her wanting to be asked – it melts your heart when you take all these realizations and how genuine she is – how absolutely genuine she is and how precious the time is you carve out to make time for such moments, and the realization I could have, should have carved out more moments like these.

Amaya’s second training class – and without hesitation, and truly only her third time asked by meyself for commands – Amaya sat when asked, went into a down positon with the right movements, stayed when asked, and was able to maintain eye contact on her eye after the temptation of food she could not resist in front of her.

If anyone realizes what you lose by not carving out time to just let these genuine realizations soak through your mind and allow you to contemplate what you experience, it is me; thanks to Mexico and a country that taught me it is not all about me, that gave me Amaya, Wriggley, Dane, and Kinah, that gave me Dewy, Suzy, and Hangover, that gave me the chance to reside out of my comfort zone and siingular perspective and realize the genuine nature of others outside of what I always knew – there is no turning back, and I am eternally grateful.

I could also refer to the amazing voyage that Dane, Wriggley, and Amaya made from Mexico City, without their mother Kinah, with three rescued cats in tow in one vehicle, NONE of which ever rode in a vehicle and yet accepted this 4 1/2 day trip as if this had been old hat. Their genuine innocence was and still is beyond words.

When you realize Dane’s story, obviously having been

raised for fighting other dogs due to his scars and tough body, his broken body from people kicking him, runnning over him with a car, the utter mistreatment near death, receiving him from the hands of another absoultey genuine man who had already taken in 6+ homeless dogs in Mexico, who drove almost 3 hours away to bring him to me in Mexico City, Dane, shaking, trembling, covered with blood, and surviving through a pretty painful surgery piecing his leg bones together, months of pain, and STILL he looks at you with those brown eyes with nothing but absolute, genuine adoration – thew veterinarian in Mexico that believed, that truly defies any sense of trust I have ever known, and is a testament to what we can be as humans. What we can do if we want to make a change for the right reasons.

Okay sure, I am discussing pets here, fine, let’s move onto humans 🙂 One of the largest realizations, once I gave myself time to do nothing but reflect, was to see how the element of sports can interact hand in hand with education, and how often academics, take a back seat to sports, for parents, for coaches, for many that let academics take a back seat to sports. The argument often comes up that sports keeps the mental dexterity of the student alive and energized when the academics often can drive a person crazy. Considering a pandemic and how hard academics have been, it has been a revelation to see how, when reshaping education to be as interactive, as exciting as sports can be, how the value of academics is perceived differently.

As a coach, as an educator, as a former bad student in all things Math, I understand that the disservice done to students is the SAME exact model of instruction that tears aways the value of education in light of sports, since; it has been organized this way since the INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION. Just because this is the way it has always been does not mean it is the proper way as timea around us have changed. I look to the pandemic to shape and change the genuine realizations that will target our Departments of Education to go to educators, to go to parents, to go to the students, collect their views, their ideas, and form a more perfect alignment with how education can be a 21st century approach – which allows sports – to align itself with academics instead of competing with it.

The most genuine relationships I have had with my athletes during a sport season have been when we have comiserated over academic issues together, and tried to solve thise issues together, instead of pushing off that academic problem onto the student alone. Sports are as valuable a tool as academics, and academics are as rigorous and valuable as sports, if the same time, equal time is given to both. The comments I continue to receive from athletes that see the genuine realization of their coaches, their athletic mentors, that are willing to put as much time in to their athlete’s academics as they are to their athletic form? – it is beyond appreciation you can put into words, and yet, this is a rare realization – and needs to be a more frequent one.

It is so easy to make judgements calls, be used to your own style, your own community, without ever stepping out to realize what is possible outside of those own familiar patterns. It takes more ability, guts, bravery, and genuine trust to step outside of what you have always known, to discover something you never have, to dissocer those who are not “your people” – it is a feat of bravery and honor to do so. Coaches, Departments of Education, legislators, civil rights leaders, politicians, parents all have the chance to open doors that have not been opened before, and to air voices that have never been asked before; for their ideas, their suggestions, their views, their realizations to be heard, proposed to others that have not been propsed to before. There is nothing more genuine than carving time out to allow these moments to occur, at no specific rhythm or time, but giving yourself some time every single day to allow these moments to simply arrive and not be forced, to be accepted or responded to, without deadlines, without the appropriate expected answers you want to hear.

I am grateful for the lessons my dear Amaya, Wriggley, Dane, Dewey, Suzy, Hangover, have taught me from the time they were rescued to the time I am still learning from them. I am grateful for the athletes who continue to tell me Coach – it means alot when you instil the fact that grades as as important in how we approach them as that next on field milesone you push us towards. Now, I am counting, relying, and looking to those thaty can provide the time in charge of educational changes to be open to a genuine realization that individuals they have never asked might have alot to say and to offer.

From academics, to sports, to the very family members that are our canines, felines, and all other family pet members, from students, to educators, to politicians that at times wear out their welcome, to adminsitrators, to commitee members, if we fail to take away the amazing opportunities we haven’t thought of yet, as the sake of the heavy losses we have been dealt from this pandemic, we all lose and learn nothing. There are truly so many genuine realizations that will never, ever sink in that can change so many things past due for change, unless we allow for the genuine realization to be discussed, to be asked, to be received.

I look forward to see what the next training lesson with Amaya will teach ME, what she will have to teach ME, and to see how genuine I will be to realize the time I have missed 🙂 And in the meantime, I hope the world around us also is willing to be open to the very genuine realizations that will make a better reality.


About Harry Brake

Employee of Woodbridge High School, Library Media Specialist, Media crazy! :)
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