On the Wave


Image: ©Spelic

Truth #1: I bought a wave board on Wednesday.

Truth #2: My 8 year old was begging for one beginning on Sunday after trying it out (and succeeding by Monday) at his cousins’ place.

Truth #3: Although he can use it (already 10 times more successfully than I), I actually bought it for me.

Truth #4: After 4 days of practice I am much better than I was and OMG what a feeling to be on that board swaying and shifting for a few graceful seconds!

Here’s a short video intro to my new hobby.

Sure, I could leave out this information. No one really needs to know this about me. Yet, as I practice – that means I go out to the park and try, try, again, 15, 30, 56 different times to stay on a little bit longer, ride a little bit farther – I am having the time of my life.

I am working at a task. I am trying and missing and trying and getting it and trying and almost missing it but then getting it and oh my gosh, I made that turn! 30 some minutes of me-time with this funky wheeled contraption.

A wave board is unstable. In terms of body positioning and movement it may come close to snowboarding (minus the snow) and surfing (without the ocean) and to a lesser degree,  skateboarding (without the fixed board). And for some reason I decided to try it out last weekend when no one was looking.

My 10 year old niece and her 15 year old brother are expert wave boarders, whose finesse on the toy is breathtaking. My young son aspires to such fluidity and is in an awful hurry to reach it. While I don’t fit the profile of a typical wave board user, there are aspects about its construction and possibilities which make it surprisingly irresistible:

  • A little downhill momentum goes a long way and speed is easily broken by a minimal incline.
  • It’s easy to jump off and the board doesn’t go very far as its sides fall to the ground immediately.
  • Practicing doesn’t require a huge space, just a smooth and somewhat level asphalt area.
  • The board itself is not too big and relatively easy to store.

As a movement practice, this is a whole new world for me. I don’t ski, skateboard, or surf. But this, THIS sense of flow and groove when I’m up and riding and my upper body rolls along, relaxed and confident. When my feet find just the right balance and I can shift the weight on the back foot just so to move the board forward and I master the curve without falling off! THAT is what this is about!

I am a champion!

I am also sure that my fitness trainer and physical therapist friends could educate me on the remarkable benefits of this new occupation: The boost to my proprioceptive functioning and sense of balance, the healthy exercise of connective tissues in the ankles, feet and lower leg, and probably more. But this is not the point. Not this time.

This is about enjoyment and accomplishment and bravery and possibility. This is about challenging my own assumptions about what I can do, what I can try, where I can be successful and what I am willing to do to get there.

What does your “wave board story” look like?

An Unusual Honor

On Wednesday at my school it was “Dress up as your favorite teacher day” and it was a surprise for teachers.  The Elementary Student Council, comprised of some very clever 4th and 5th graders, came up with the idea and organized the whole activity without the knowledge of their teachers.  Parents were informed through the secretary and the results were simply amazing.  Imagine coming to work and being greeted by 3 or 4 (or more) younger versions of your professional self!

My colleague, the art teacher, managed to get a picture of her assembled fan club – many of them sporting colorful smocks and aprons.  So many inspired Ms. Sabinas laughing into the camera. I can hardly express the thrill of having students tell me: “I’m you today!”  There simply can be no higher compliment than that.

Dress up as your favorite teacher Day!

Dress up as your favorite teacher Day!

Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, this remarkable display of student ingenuity and generosity struck me as a powerful reminder of how much there is to be grateful for and that who I am and what I do as an educator matters. What an unusual honor.