What a day it has been… but tonight was my favorite part! All too often, when we see sports figures we categorize them in a class their own. Far from “normal.” They take on a “super star” status. I see this in kids, as well as adults. Tonight the riders of Discovery’s Pro Cycling Team shone in a different light. We were able to see them in the same fluorescent incandescent light bulbs that shine in our classrooms.
Our evening capped with a reception at the Waterfront Restaurant in San Francisco. Only about 30 people gathered in our private room and as the waiter staff tried to stuff of us full of hours d’oeuvres that included crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, and steak skewers, we were able to sit back and watch the riders true colors shine.
George Hincapie sat and chatted away with his father (who looked proud as ever) and his cycling partner Fumiyuki Beppu. M ichael Creed, still a newlywed, sat gazing sweetly into his wives eyes as they chatted with Antonio Cruz (a CA local, residing in Long Beach). And as Jason McCartney mingled among the crowd he had his arm around his pregnant wife and gave her a kiss on her forehead. Ryder Hesjedal , Volodymyr Bileka , and Pavel Padrnos sat casually at a table relaxing and talking with various guests. Could these be the same guys that just endured a grueling 108 mile race and were bombarded the cameras of screaming fans just a few hours ago?
They were humble and open as they each shared stories of the days events and from the Tour de France. They took the time to explain strategies that sometimes had gone astray, plans for the future, and they made fun of their sports manager, Johan, as they sarcastically thanked him for all the training sets on hills that were nearly at a 89 degree incline. Bileka was candid when asked were fans cheering your name, he responded “Yes, but they were also shouting ‘Faster, Faster’!”
As I sat back and took the time to reflect, I began comparing cycling to the classroom. Strategy came up in several discussions throughout the night and how sometimes no matter how much planning goes into a ride, somethings just don’t turn out as well as others. I am sure that many of you can agree. I find that many teachers also have “super star” status among their students. It is important that we remember also allow our students to see the “real” us and to share openly about victories, defeats, and the importance of working as a team.