One of the hard things about being a parent is helping kids to learn what it means to be a good human being. It’s hard to teach them that integrity is something that can’t be faked.
One of the really hard things about being an elementary school teacher is helping children to learn and understand that winning is really fun, but there is more.
I’m a Red Sox fan. I know a lot about losing teams, and about unexpected success. I know a lot about loyalty, and sticking with your team even when it sucks. I’m a Red Sox fan; the memory of the 2004 American League Series will stay with me forever.
There have been few things in my life that have been sweeter than defeating the Damn Yankees. Watching A-Rod squirm. Watching Jeter Mourn. Watching Mariano blow it.
But here we are now, in 2014. And A-Rod has been exposed as the cheater that he was. Mariano has retired. Both the Red Sox and the Yankees are awful this year. There will be no playoff rivalry this year.
This year its all different.
This year is the last year of Derek Jeter’s career. And I find myself thinking, often, of how I can use him as a role model for my students. How he can be a perfect example of what it means to have integrity.
Oddly enough, Derek Jeter is reminding me of my Dad.
Like Dad, Derek Jeter took his job seriously. He was humble. Did you ever here Jeter refer to himself as “we”? Me either.
Like my Dad, Derek Jeter was always aware of how lucky he was to have his job, his skills, his success. He is rich, but I don’t know if he lived that way. He is single, but I have never heard of him being filmed in the elevator with a celebrity, have you?
I know that Derek Jeter isn’t a real hero: he hasn’t saved lives or changed the world or created beautiful art. But he can be a hero in my classroom this fall, as I talk to my class about integrity, and doing your best, and about being a good sport. He can help me as I talk to the kids about why it is important to support your own team but to appreciate the talents and skills and admirable traits of the “enemy”, too.
Maybe those lessons can go beyond the fifth grade classroom. Maybe they can resonate beyond baseball.
What I know is that I hope I can be at Derek Jeter’s last Fenway game. I’ll cheer myself hoarse.