Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornados Ain't Got Nothin'

I'm going to divert a bit from my usual posts about school because the following happened while I should have been at school. So, here goes.

My wife, Emily, and I flew back to Salt Lake City (our hometown) for the weekend to attend to some family concerns and had a great time considering the circumstances. There was great weather the entire weekend, but, of course, the weather turned south on the day we were supposed to fly out. We woke up Tuesday morning to snow flurries. Yes, snow. And, yes, it's nearly May. This did not bode well for me at all because I had just watched a BBC documentary about a plane carrying the Manchester United soccer team that crashed in 1958 during a snowstorm. Great.

Well, luckily, it stopped snowing right before our flight, so it was no big deal, a pretty smooth flight into Denver. I checked the weather reports because there was a looming storm that was supposed to hit Memphis, but it was fine because we flew into Nashville. Then I checked Facebook and what I saw horrified me.

Yup, tornado cells above Memphis. Tornado sirens blaring. Kids crouching in hallways. And it was all headed for Nashville at about 11 p.m. We were supposed to arrive in Nashville at 10:40 p.m. Great.

Well, long story short, we flew out, but had to go to clear up to southern Illinois to avoid the storms. The turbulence was terrifying. I honestly had prepared myself to meet my Maker; it was the worst I have ever experienced. I just stared at the "No Smoking" sign on the seat in front of me

Monday, April 18, 2011

I'm Still Alive

It has been a month and a day since I last updated everyone on the happenings of a Memphis classroom. I feel like a bum, but since Spring Break, it has been an incredibly hectic month due to state testing (the dreaded TCAP), Capstone (a mandated end-of-year service project/essay thing) and the overall apathy of the students toward the last five weeks of school because they think that the TCAP = end of the year for EVERYTHING.

There have, however, been some great highlights this month, so let me recap:

1. The boys' soccer team is tearing through the district competition and dominating all in its path. They're such an awesome group of boys; very humble, appreciative and willing to learn. The captain, Luis, really might have a future in soccer if he continues on the path he's on. Since I last posted, their record is 4-1, having scored 37 goals and only allowed 8. Playoffs are in two weeks and I really think we'll win the city championship this year. Check out our website for updates.

2. Each year, my school puts on a "TCAP Chant-off," which is an opportunity right before the state tests (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) for the kids to make creative chants or raps to get their classmates pumped up for the tests. It was hilarious to say the very least. Our team didn't win, but they still had an awesome showing. AW, who was featured on my blog earlier for his version of Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing," was the force behind our chant and he did an amazing job. Here's a quick clip of his part of the song:

The 7th Grade Honors Team had an amazing chant, but I was only able to film the tumbling routine at the end, which was pretty cool in and of itself.

3. A tornado passed through Memphis and touched down for a short period of time near my house, but there was only small damage (ripped-off window shutters, fallen branches) to houses surrounding ours, but somehow our little house made it through unscathed. However, a huge tree in front of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house on the University of Memphis campus was not so lucky. Good thing it happened to them and not SigEp, that's divine intervention.

4. My trusty truck of seven years finally gave up the ghost and is no more. He pushed as hard as the lil' guy could, but it seemed the task was too lofty this time around. He'll be missed. I dated my wife in that truck. I drove all the way to Boise overnight just to see an Interpol in that truck. I bought the truck when I was a senior in high school. I drove across the entire United States with that truck. I met J.B. White & Co. in the parking lot of AutoZone when I first arrived in Memphis in that truck. RIP Lil' Beal, 1994-2011.