NYSP Journal

Because I cannot keep a journal on my own, and i’d like to for NYSP (the sports camp i’m working), I’ve decided to create and keep one on Maddenation. I will do my best to comment daily, or almost daily, or whenever. If you feel I’m lagging behind or have a comment to my comment, feel free to add your thoughts.

DanNews06/24/03 29 comments


Dan • 06/24/03 7:56 AM:

this morning, nysp day 4, i am up early to lesson plan the day. we’re working on passing and throwing today (i’m the football coach, which isn’t a typical football coach, i just give the kids “fun” things to do and make sure they do it with a football in hand). we’re doing pass patterns with and without defense, then partner passing, then, with their partners, running downfield passing to each other, ala 3 man weave with 2 people. we’re also doing relay races. we’re going to have a heat day, which means that we’re going to go inside debartolo in the afternoon to watch a movie in a/c instead of being out in the roasting sun. heat days are the best. my worst group is my last group.

Dan • 06/24/03 5:08 PM:

here’s how the camp works: there are about 300 kids. they’re divided up by birthday into 24 groups. each group is headed by a notre dame student or americorp volunteer (these are called team leaders, and i was one of them last year). there are also coaches for football (me), basketball, swimming, softball, soccer, and golf. there is a computers instructor, a drugs & alcohol prevention specialist, 2 enrichment coordinators, and an art instructor (and visiting artists). for discipline we have 3 liaison officers who tell kids to stop being bad and such. there is also a program director.

Dan • 06/24/03 6:10 PM:

there are 5 periods of the day, not including breakfast and lunch. each team is partnered up with a team the same age, so i’ll get teams 1 and 2 at the same time, then 3 and 4 the next period and so on.

i’ll backtrack and tell about the first 3 days of camp. for day 1, i made a lesson plan for the first two weeks of camp. for the first week, i coach half of the teams (12+). then it switches and i coach the other half (younger, 12 & under). i will have each team for 3 weeks.

DAY 1 (thursday): i told everybody that i made plans for the first 2 weeks of camp. i had. i did an introduction. it included
-what we’ll learn
-season phases (summer session, preseason, season)
-where my program is derived from (i made up some crap about ND football using “these same drills!”
-my goals (enthusiasm, learn fundamentals, have FUN! whoopee!)
-warning: i was a team leader (don’t piss me off…)

after this i had them stretch, do cone agility drills, shuffling, and ball-carrying.

they hated every minute of the hour session (all 5 teams). it was disasterous. they did not give a crap about the fundamentals or that the stupid cone drills were done by tyrone willingham. when i threw the ball to a girl to demonstrate communication (she was SUPPOSED to yell “BALL!”), she folded her arms and watched as it fell to her side. that was great. they jogged/walked through every activity i planned, scowling the entire time. ugh. it was ugly. and i was miserable for the whole day. i decided to scrap the entire game plan of not scrimmaging until day 5 of the week.

Dan • 06/25/03 8:27 PM:

DAY 2 (friday): thursday night i had a discussion with katie solic (staff member, fellow 03 graduate, friend, head of senior program [a life skills teaching program) and mike luber (ex-NYSP liaison officer) about what the crap to do for the remaining 24 days of NYSP. after discussing how much the kids like to compete, we decided that a game is in order. so we played ultimate football. the game has the same rules as ultimate frisbee: you score by getting the ball across a goal line, but you can’t run with the ball, you have to throw it to your teammates. you can run without the ball, run pass patterns, play defense, etc. possession changes when the offense drops a pass. then the other team picks the ball up and goes wild throwing towards the opposite goal line.

it was awesome. it was not hitchless, but closer to really good than day 1. there was some participation problems (mostly girls standing around picking at their nails because the guys weren’t passing to them), but i did my best consulting with entire teams about letting everyone play. so mostly they got the point after a few stoppages of play. it was a good day.

i also introduced Up-Downs, which is a football thing where i blow my whistle and the teams begin chopping their feet (ala basketball defensive slides without the slides). on the 2nd whistle blow they have to dive on the ground and come back up ASAP and continue chopping. this is done with everyone in a circle. it works mostly well, except some kids don’t want to get their clothes dirty. i usually step in front of them and yell in their faces until they do it. i yell in a nice, productive way.

we also do the tyrone willingham special. at pep rallies, he does this thing where he raises his hand with either 1,2,3,4 or 5 fingers up. He then says ďhutĒ into the microphone and at that moment the entire arena claps (if heís holding up 1 finger, they clap once, 2 fingers, clap twice, etc). itís awesome. The kids like it. I like it. It gets kids listening and ready.

My voice is pretty hoarse. Itís Friday. I have a weekend to figure out what the heck Iím going to do for an encore.

Dan • 06/25/03 8:53 PM:

DAY 3 (MONDAY): I found this website that gives a bunch of flag football drills. I took a couple ideas from that, but Iím saving most of them for later.

For warmup in the morning, I have the kids run from one goal post to the other and back to the middle of the field for stretching. Usually about half of them actually do it. One must pick oneís battles. I donít care much if they warm up. Then we stretch (arm circles, quad stretches, hurdlers, butterflies, jumping jacks). Then Willingham clapping. Then up-downs.

Today I wanted to get them competing for a bit without scrimmaging in anything. We did relay races. I had scheduled a passing relay, but, judging by their faces and moods, I skipped that one. It would have been bad. They would have hated it. I decided to have them roll the ball 5 yards around a cone and back. That was a good relay, especially with the oldest kids. Then we did a handoff relay. That was good. It warmed them up.

Then we played a game called Jets Across. It is exactly like Sharks & Minnows in the pool. We play this game in Teamwork for Tomorrow tutoring. There are boundaries about 100 feet wide and 150 feet long (or something like that, big). It starts out with 2 people ďitĒ in the middle trying to tag the rest of the group who are trying to get from one side to the other. We play with flag football flags. When you get your flags pulled, you become it along with the other ďitĒ people. Itís good. I played all 5 periods. By the end of the day I was drop-dead tired (and gorgeous).

My favorite group so far is the oldest kids in 3rd period. They all participate (a miracle), and they really like the activities. My first group, 13 & 14 year olds, are my trial group. Theyíre a good group to test my lesson plans on. I have done stupid crap with them and scrapped my plans because they didnít work, like the time I had them do stupid square cone side-shuffling and backpedaling and nobody liked it, they wanted to kill me. You might ask, ďDan, are they SUPPOSED to like everything that they do?Ē NO, of course not, but some things just DONíT work. Like explaining that Airball develops teamwork, passing, and throwing techniques. Nope, doesnít work. They donít give a crap. My 2nd group, a mess of 30 kids (WAY too many for only 2 team leaders), wants anything but to do relays. So I didnít do relays with them. We played jets across. Not bad. But one of the team leaders, while making a super-smooth cut off his left foot, went down hard. His knee got wrung out of shape or something. So some of the kids left the field and took off their flags, and when 10 kids decide to quit, itís hard to stop them. My 4th group is a good group of 12 & 13 year olds. They participate, they have an energetic team leader (yes, there are 2, though), and they tend to follow directions. We had fun in relays and in jets across. My last group consists of a bunch of kids from my team last year. This is not good. They yell and bitch and moan about me working them too hard when itís too hot and crap, and we donít get much accomplished. I didnít even attempt relays today. We went straight to jets across. Even the Willingham claps were worthless. Annoying.

Overall, very good day. Good days are measured not by adding up the good and subtracting the bad, but by just adding up the good. There were 3 really good teams today and I had a ton of fun with them. I was freaking out the first day, not knowing what Iím doing, scared, feeling worthless and failed, but I made it. Iím starting to get the hang of this and am enjoying it.

Dan • 06/25/03 9:15 PM:

DAY 4: Katie Solic told me yesterday that there were two kids from the oldest group who were interested in helping out coaches. She wanted to know if I would be interested in working with two of the 16 year olds in football. I was all for it. After all, she said they were 2 of the best kids. Some of these kids are good, some are bad, some are TERRIBLE, and some are GREAT. These 2 are great. I took them.

Today I wrote out a lesson plan to include them in the activities. After warm-ups, we did throwing relays with the new coaches, Chris and Travis, and me as quarterbacks. I taught them pass patterns and we competed against each other. The first group was not into it at all. Itís 9 in the morning when they come. Ugh. But we trucked through the relays, then we had them all partner up and do passing back and forth like full-court passing drills in basketball. That was terrible. And to think, I scrapped the plan of adding a defense to the pass pattern relaysÖ I then had the kids compete with their partners in a longer-throw contest. That sucked too. Then I brought out hula hoops and staggered them in front of the groups and awarded points for hitting inside of them. That sucked too. All chris and travis did was throw the balls back to the kids. I had them shag. I felt like a jerk. So before the 2nd period we brainstormed ideas. We came up with a flags/defense drill. There was one ball-carrier and three defenders in a row. The ball carrier had to stay between the cones I set up and juke the defenders to try to get past all three. Rarely did the ball-carrier get past the first defender. This sucked a little also. But not as bad as the crap I had group 1 do. Chris and travis helped me set up cones and facilitate the drill. They were much more helpful with ideas and getting the drill flowing than in shagging. Though they were really good shaggers.

Group 3, the oldest kids, liked the throwing/catching/pass routes relays. I would have had them play defense on each other, but I forgot. After that we were going to do the same 3 defenders/1 runner drill, but we decided to play jets across again. It was another huge success. I played again. I was really sore from the day before. In the second game, they were all going for me. I managed to escape being tagged until the end, after I had already fallen down on my back gasping for air after a run where I ran about a mile sideways to avoid taggers.

It was so hot today (mid 90s I believe), that we took the afternoon off (all of camp) and went to debartolo and watched a movie (the sandlot). It was a hassle walking all the kids from stepan across campus. But it was fine once we got there. I wound up having to seat about 200 of the 300 kids in room 141 debartolo (same room as 2 of my art history classes!). I was mean getting those kids into the seats.

Dan • 06/25/03 9:30 PM:

DAY 5: I didnít even lesson plan for today. We warmed up, I let travis do Willingham claps and up downs (he wasnít very loud. Weíll have to work on that). I then explained the rules of the newest game, AIRBALL II (I just called it ďAirballĒ to them, but said that it was different). Airball II is basically flag football, but you can have as man forward laterals as you want in one play. So that was it. Also, a girl has to touch the ball in order to score a touchdown. Travis and chris were big on this one. We split the teams into 2 fields and I put chris at one field to help facilitate and travis at the other one. I spent time between both fields. It took about 15 minutes to get the wrinkles out, but for the 3 groups (we had another heat day inside and finished watching the Sandlot) the game went well.

Dan • 06/26/03 8:09 AM:

oh yeah. i forgot that rodney, a kid from my team last year, was in trouble and i asked him what the deal was, and he said that none of the girls were participating, just standing around conversating. i corrected him, “conversing,” but i don’t know if he believed i was right. for those who don’t know, “conversating” is used in a number of rap songs.

this is pointing out the influence of music on kids. that’s all.

Dan • 06/27/03 5:23 PM:

DAY 6: today was mid-60 degrees. no kids complained about the heat.

it was a transition day, meaning that i got all new groups. i now have all the younger kids. they’re great. they listen to me pretty well. i think that might be because i am into the swing of things and i’ve developed into more of an authority and coach and i have a style of routine and speaking.

i tend to yell, not because i’m mad, but because i want to make sure i’m heard and it comes out fast and like a safari driver in disneyworld. it’s pretty funny. i make the kids laugh a lot, they are interested in the willingham claps, the do up-downs, heck yes. i even have them get into “clapping position,” which is a basketball defensive stance. that cracks me up pretty hard. so i had two periods today because it began pouring at the beginning of the 3rd period. crappy. we played intense games of hot potato and had some great relay races, including the ball-rolling (my invention) and handoffs. i really can’t believe how much the kids liked it. i was very pleased. i got compliments from a few team leaders. that hasn’t much happened.

when it rained, the camp went into a frenzy because we couldn’t go inside stepan center because there was a basketball camp inside. so all 300 or so kids ate outside under the stepan overhangs (but mostly they ate in the rain. pretty terrible planning). we then moved all the kids to north dining hall for no real reason, and when we finished getting them over there, the bball camp ended. great luck. so from NDH we went to debartolo and watched some of A Bug’s Life. i was running all over the place to make sure a staff member was at NDH and DEBO before the kids get there. in most cases, i let the kids into DEBO and seat them. i also do a lot of dismissing for breakfast and busses. i also give out popsicles at the end of the day, then i eat like 20.

Dan • 06/29/03 4:53 PM:

DAY 7: today was low 80s weather. the volleyball coach was absent today so for the first 2 periods i coached/taught volleyball. i had no gameplan. i went in there and did my clapping routine on the sand vball courts at stepan. then i taught everyone how to “bump” a ball. ELBOWS LOCKED. DO NOT BEND YOUR ELBOWS EVER. EVER. i say EVER a lot. KEEP YOUR THUMBS PARALLEL. DON’T OVERLAP THEM. EVER. so they sucked pretty badly at that. then i taught them setting. that was wonderful. i didn’t know where to start, so i had them form a triangle with their fingers and then “raise the roof.” i had like 30 kids at a time raising the roof on my command. i didn’t give a crap about teaching volleyball after that. i got little kids to raise the roof for a white dude. enough accomplished. so i critiqued their setting. they all sucked bad. it was funny. i didn’t tell them that it takes pretty much a bunch of years to get setting down. so then we scrimmaged. goodness gracious it was the worst. i was laughing the whole time, throwing free balls and watching the kids knock the crap out of the ball backwards. it was good. they enjoyed it, so did i. i had like 7 kids per side on 2 courts and still had to shorten the length of the court just so they could hit the ball over the net more than once. it was fun.

for the first 2 periods of football i had chris and travis (the 16 year olds) coach football. i gave them my lesson plan, which was to warm up, do willingham claps, do up-downs, and then play airball. i heard from every team leader that they did awesome. they said that chris and travis did a great job with explaining the rules and with getting everyone involved. i was happy and they were too when i told them. it made me feel good.

after those first 2 periods, i went back to football. it went well. i did my same routine as on thursday morning.

after camp i hit some golf balls off the driving mats with lance (liaison guy) and katie (senior program). nysp has some crazy awesome golf clubs. a bunch of big bertha woods and really nice irons. a ton of them, adult and kid sizes. we’re talking like 60 clubs total. some nice putters too. and 6 really awesome driving/pitching mats. i ate a lot of popsicles.

Dan • 06/30/03 6:50 PM:

DAY 8: the weather was weird. cloudy, but sunny, the kind of day that you burn like a maniac because you think, eh, it’s not too sunny, i’m not going to put on sunscreen. but those uv rays keep on coming. but i was smart and put on the spf45. i ate waffles and bacon for breakfast.

the day went well again. the first 2 morning groups were sluggish, with a hint of aggravation. i snapped them out of it with some up-downs and i didn’t stop until they all did it. i preached teamwork and encouraging each other if they weren’t chopping their feet. they sort of listened to me. pretty cool when that happens.

after warmups we played jets across. it was cash-money again. all 5 groups. a couple groups showed up early and the game dragged. i was asking lance (liaison officer) what other drills and activities i could do to kill time, and instead of giving me an idea, he offered to take over football for that period if i gave a talk to the older kids about inappropriate touching. i declined.

a highlight of today was when were were playing jets across in the 4th period and carl, the camp director decided to participate. he was sly and displayed uncommon low center of gravity and lateral mobility. also, when only a couple kids were left (minnows/jets), one of them ran straight into a girl with a straight-arm to the neck, knocking the hell out of her. he continued running for a bit until i realized that had actually done that and i blew my whistle a million times and told him to take his flags off and i almost flipped out at him. i talked to him about it, and i don’t think he’s going to have any more problems during football.

i heard “conversating” and “conversate” a lot today. what the heck?

Dan • 07/01/03 6:46 PM:

DAY 9: i had to explain to a lot of groups that just because it is hot (low 90s) doesn’t mean they can mope around and complain about the heat. aside from that and the fact that i think i have the flu (and worst sore throat ever), football ran smoothly. we worked on ball-carrying, pass patterns, and catching. of course hardly any of the kids carried the ball properly after 15 minutes of relay races involving handoffs and passes, but whatever. i occupied their time and i think they liked it pretty well.

we have staff meetings after camp every day. i remember last year we went around and let every team leader and coach talk about his/her day, and it gave everybody an idea of what was going on with them and how they were doing with the kids. we don’t do that this year and i don’t have any idea how anybody is doing. so i suggested that if anyone wanted, they could speak up and say a thing of two about the day. i think this idea is going to kick off a bit more. i mentioned that pretty much every group i have is really good, even though that’s really general. but it’s true. i haven’t had a bad group since day 2.

tomorrow is airball, which is flag football and as many forward laterals per down as you want. it’s going to be good. i’m anxious to see how the younger kids handle it.

oh, in jets across yesterday, some kid in the first group was doing awesome because he would run down the field doing spin moves the whole time. it was hilarious. he knew he was being smart too. he was by far the best player. i was happy that he figured out a strategy.

Dan • 07/07/03 4:44 PM:

DAY 10: today was the season-simulation day. we “played” flag football. it went ok with the first group, although i had two fields playing at once and had difficulty getting the games started. once they did, i had trouble getting everyone involved, which is the basic nysp problem. some kids just won’t cooperate. yes, they come to sports camp and don’t participate. whatever.

so, a lot of the time the games were boring, basically because the teams were trying to understand the rules. one of the rules was that a girl had to throw or catch a pass in order to score a touchdown or get a first down. that rule became interesting when the defense ran back interceptions for touchdowns. i ignored the rule in those cases.

the youngest kids (10) was disasterly. they weren’t really listening to the rules and i had to keep saying them and it was pretty much pointless. it was pretty funny/boring. i laughed it up with team leader clare.

it was really hot today. every team was pretty misbehaved, but, since every team had been really good the whole week, it was like that for every coach and a pain for every team leader. oh well. some days are like that. plus, flag football is undoubtedly confusing for 10 year olds.

Dan • 07/09/03 8:45 PM:

DAY 11: it rained after the first period. we just played airball (we watched Like Mike for the 2nd, 3rd, and lunch periods) all day long. not much else.

Dan • 07/09/03 9:21 PM:

DAY 12: i’ve had a bunch of kids ask me if i am going to teach them how to throw a football. the way i see it, i’d better give it a try. you can’t go through summer camp with a football activity and not even learn how to throw. so today i taught them the basics…elbow up and back, middle finger at the end of the laces, follow through across your body like you’re throwing a baseball.

i didn’t really know how to make drills to make the groups have fun and not stand around just chucking footballs. i just had them partner up and line up across from each other and throw back and forth. then i had them play ultimate airball (ult. frisbee), but i made a rule that they couldn’t throw the ball more than 10 yards. this was to make sure they don’t just chuck up the ball down the field and they concentrate on throwing good passes and such. it went well.

the 2nd group was terrible. they wouldn’t do my warmups (stretching, willingham claps, and up-downs) so i made them do up-downs the whole time. it sucked. they hated it. they didn’t play football. they were talking and yelling and being bastards. the group is horrible mostly, so i took aside a kid and talked to him for a few minutes. he is the leader of the kids in his team, the kid whose actions, good or bad, dictate the behavior of everyone else. mostly he behaves badly, but he’s definitely a good kid. so i told him that he has the ability to make his team good, basically. he didn’t believe me, and i don’t even know if he heard me.

Dan • 07/14/03 1:09 AM:

DAY 13: before period 2 today, i tracked down the kid i talked with yesterday. i looked him in the eye and told him to test out what i said today. he nodded and i was sort of convinced that he would act pretty well. i had punting/kicking on the agenda, but i wanted the group to run around, since they hadn’t played football at all that week (rain on monday). so in warmups the kid counted loud and did the stretches and claps and up-downs, even smiled a couple times. then we played airball. the group was improved. i was psyched about it. certainly i don’t think his behavior will be exemplary every day, but i told him that when it is, look what happens. his group has a good time and doesn’t get in trouble. it was cool to see all the group following his lead.

we did punting and kicking today for the other groups. they partnered up and kicked back and forth to each other for a while. it’s pretty cool when i help a kid with some technique and he improves right then. i was thinking, i have no idea how i learned to punt. weird. i think i taught myself how to kick field goals. with the first group we did punting relays, as in, they all kick one ball right after another and whichever team kicks the farthest wins. that didn’t work well because there were 6 kids in each group and we ran out of punting room after the 3rd punter so they had to turn around and punt back. it was dumb. we need like 2 football fields to do that relay. so we just punted for a while with the rest of the groups and i laughed at funny technique and told most of them to point their foot more.

at the end of the period i let them kick field goals off a tee. that went well. i showed them the form, but i didn’t really care about critiquing their form. i figure, 2 tees for over 20 kids, that’d take too long to fix everybody’s technique. every group had some good fun watching the kicks. some were terrible, some were really good.

my groin hurts from kicking. i was out kicking field goals at 8 am as the kids were coming to camp. i made 3 or 4 out of 15. i was the kicker in HS for 3 days, until i pulled my quad doing it. i was the punter, though.

Dan • 07/14/03 9:02 PM:

DAY 14: i don’t really remember what we did today (i’m behind). i think we pretty much did flag football. i made all the teams do up-downs until every person did it every time (i did it in rounds). so that took a while. one group (period 2, of course) didn’t get to play football. i made them sit down for like 20 minutes. it sucked.

Dan • 07/14/03 11:53 PM:

DAY 15: no more backtracking. i can’t remember anything about today other than we played flag football.

i do remember that period 2 was the greatest day of football ever for any group. we played 12 v. 12 on a huge field. everybody was into it and playing defense and stuff. everyone was yelling and excited and it was a close game all the way through. it was great.

the rest of the day went well. yeah. we did fast warmups so there was plenty of time to play. the last period it rained a bit so most everybody who was supposed to be at football went inside stepan center. so i and a few kids played 3 on 3. it was going well, then the program director, carl, came and played and all he did was shove the hell out of the kids like a lineman kicking the crap out of defensive backs. it was ridiculous and i was getting mad at the guy. he’s an idiot.

Dan • 07/15/03 12:04 AM:

DAY 16: finally i’m up to date. it’s a new week, and i have 2 teams (period 1) for the first time. it went ok. we skipped hot potato and just did relays. they didn’t dig it as much as the younger groups (they’re 12).

we played flag football today with every other group. third period we were stretching and i was screwing around with a british accent and calling a kid “authuh” (arthur) and he was laughing and then some kid mentioned PBS and authuh got mad and told me to stop and he nearly cried. the team leaders were loving it. when we played flag football, some kid launched a terrible pass to the 10 kids standing in the middle of the field and the defense tipped it and one of the offense dudes caught it and ran for a touchdown. then on the next possession, a girl ran for a touchdown, but ran like 20 feet out of bounds. i let it go. it’s best to end these games with a tie. even when your game is stupid and nobody seems to want to play, you realize they’ve been keeping score when they start rubbing the final score in the losers’ faces. weird/stupid.

fifth period was a huge group. i (because of a late-returning field trip) had 5 groups, a total of about 45 kids. we played the biggest game of jets across (sharks and minnows) ever. also, a kid busted up his knee pretty good. on the 3rd day, a team leader tore his acl during the same game. unbelievable. for the game, the kids had to have their flags on each side of their hips. so, without knowing what i was going to say, i said, “PUT YOUR FLAGS ON YOUR HIPS.” i realized that it was the perfect time to quote a rather inappropriate rap song from the mid-90s. “PUT YOUR FLAGS ON YOUR HIP. WHEN I DIP, YOU DIP, WE DIP.” i hesitated a second and considered inappropriateness v. awesomeness, and awesomeness won. the kids loved it. the team leaders loved it. apparently, everyone had heard the song, “the dip.” i was the man.

Dan • 07/15/03 10:46 PM:

DAY 17: the days are going by quickly. it’s hard to believe the fourth week is halfway done almost. today it rained in the morning so we watched Cool Runnings, the movie about the jamaican bobsled team. “see, coming from jamaica, the only thing we like cold… is miller lite.”

the rest of the day (only 2 periods, the last group didn’t show up) i taught passing mechanics. it’s amazing to see these kids throwing ducks one minute, and then when i correct their form, they’re throwing spirals. wow. it actually happens. most every time. it’s easy! so that’s pretty cool. i played softball for the last period of the day. that was boring because there weren’t many kids and they didn’t feel like getting outfield grounders. and i didn’t get to bat because i was chasing a kid who sort of ran/trailed off because he didn’t get to play 1st base. i did see two girls sprint into the outfield to get a grounder. one of them picked it up, then they both stared the heck out of each other like clubber lang and rocky. it was hilarious. it went on for almost a minute, and would have went on for days if the softball coach didn’t break up the staredown. good stuff.

Dan • 07/16/03 6:19 PM:

DAY 18: sometimes kids are complete idiots. we did punting (and passing for 2 groups) today. all i asked them to do was to get across from their partners and spread out on a line (i marked lines with cones). it took like 10 minutes to get them to where i wanted them. it was ridiculous. i screamed once. just a generic “ahh!” because i couldn’t believe they were STILL standing around like butts after 5 minutes. sometimes kids will do anything to avoid listening to instructions. seriously, just FACE YOUR PARTNER AND SPREAD OUT. that isn’t hard. ahh!

another group was playing ultimate football and we were like 5 minutes into the game and kids were going WAY out of bounds, but the direction of the game had long been determined. still, after i called a kid out of bounds, like 5 kids were like, BOUNDARIES???? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? WHERE ARE BOUNDARIES? i was like, ARE YOU A COMPLETE IDIOT? DO YOU NOT SEE THE FREAKING CONES THAT MARK EVERY GAME WE EVER PLAY? goodness gracious. then they still didn’t know which direction their team was going (remember, we’d been playing for 5 minutes, and the ball had been moving parallel to the goal posts the whole time, and we’ve played that direction every day for 4 weeks). some things, …

watching 10 year olds try to punt can be pretty hilarious. teaching them can be a pain (but in a fun way) though. they don’t understand the concept of steps and DROPPING, NOT THROWING THE BALL IN THE AIR. one of my greatest achievements of camp so far is getting “Not the Mama!” (she looks like the baby dinosaur from the old puppet show “Dinosaurs”) to stop being frustrated from bad punting technique to follow my footwork and drop the ball perfectly and boot a ball pretty well. she was really sad that she couldn’t do it, and it took a good 5 minutes of having her take steps and stuff, then, as i was about to give up, BOOM! she launched it. it was great.

Dan • 07/18/03 12:03 AM:

DAY 19: i just lost to super macho man from mike tyson’s punchout. i had one more punch to tko him, but after his super spin punch, he changed his routine and i got confused and he uppercutted me and knocked me out for good. i am pissed. it’s not that bad. i’ve beaten the game a bunch of times.

i’m feeling a little run down. the new group (period 1) isn’t enjoying football too much, and i think it’s my fault because i haven’t been as active and energetic as i was 2 weeks ago. i’m trying. it’s pretty tough, though. today i made a whole team walk/run to the FAR field goal post (so far that when i told them to go, they didn’t complain, the just said, “woooooaaaaaaah. there?” and i was like, “yeah. go. now.” it was super. for 4th period team leader carol brought 3 football players to hang out and play flag football with the kids. it went really well, the kids loved it. the problem was that 2 of the players were steady qbs and it took them a long time to start throwing to the kids (they threw to the team leaders like everytime, and threw WAY too hard for the 10 year olds to catch). one little kid, purnell, joined the warmup circle with his green swim goggles on. it was pretty hilarious. for 5th period, we combined teams 20 and 21 (hell teams) and 22, 23, 24 (they came from the senior program, katie solic’s program) to have the biggest game of flag football ever. it was eh. not great. we had 2 teams, each with offense and defense. it was really fun getting kids to play just defense. ugh. terrible.

i put a lot of sunscreen on my face every day. today, i don’t know why, but it (along with a lot of sweat) got in my eyes really badly. during 2nd period, i had to leave/run to the trainer because i couldn’t open my eyes. it was terrible. i was washing out my eyes and putting in eye drops for 15 minutes and still my eyes were killing me bad. so i went to next period unable to open my eyes (well, barely, and only briefly). it went away after about 1/2 hour. it sucked bad. it hurt a lot. that’s about it.

Dan • 07/19/03 11:45 AM:

DAY 20: i’ve been feeling a bit worn down this week. i guess that’s what happens during the 4th week. i was revived today and here’s why:

it was drizzling during the first 2 periods. we watched a really terrible movie about baseball in the library (we watched the movie in the library, that is). i was bored of that, and steve, an americorps guy and liaison officer, asked me if i would come with him to discipline arsenio (who was in computer class, only outdoor activities were inside the movie). so i went and we did our thing, then we decided to drive around the golf cart we rode in all over campus and give people rides and be generally funny/hilarious. we picked up jon reither and took him to chemistry class. we also took a few people back to their dorms and asked to talk on people’s cell phones. i was driving the whole time, steve in the passenger seat, weaving in and out of the library columns, and steve fell out. it was good. don’t worry, there’s hardly any way to hurt yourself on those things, they’re not fast. so then we went back inside all straight-faced and hoped that nobody needed to use the cart for anything while we were using it. after the movie i went out and coached 3rd period, which was a tiny group of around 9 kids and we played flag football and nobody could catch the balls because it was wet as heck.

i should probably explain this part: every week the staff picks a team of the week (more like 2 or 3) and they go have fun on fridays at a water park or skating rink or something. so they needed supervision, and since my 4th period was team of the week (which for this week they were going skating) and my 5th period was going to the lakes, i asked if i could supervise the skating activity. so i did. steve and i went with 4 teams to the skating rink. it ruled. pretty much i skated around in ovals a bunch of times and made fun of kids. my feet were killing me after an hour though, so i stopped skating. i had a good time.

Dan • 07/23/03 6:25 PM:

DAY 21: it was sort of rainy for the morning so we watched “the rookie.” it was ok, but i left with katie solic and rode around campus (lakes included) on the golf cart. that was good.

for the last period, we played a huge game of airball in which the yellow team was up 2-0 (these kids take their sports/competitions VERY seriously) and they were about to score again when i (who was not playing) intercepted the ball and gave it to blue. i should have known better, because the yellow team FLIPPED out at me and wanted to murder me for my offenses. it was useless to reason with them, so i didn’t. i just ended the game because it was time for those brats to get on the bus. ha.

Dan • 07/23/03 6:43 PM:

DAY 22: tyrone willingham spoke at breakfast. he was dressed in safari-guide gear. he looked really cool as always. he started off with the willingham claps, where he raises a finger or two or three or however many and then says “HIT” and everybody claps that many times. since i had been doing that for the past 4 weeks, every kid knew what to do, and they were awesome at it. he was a bit surprised. he did his regular kid-talk (he spoke at teamwork last year), about how he wasn’t recruited for football but wrote 100 letters to college coaches and heard back from 2: toledo and michigan state. and how he was good and captain of the baseball team and then coached for a long time with the vikings and stanford and now at notre dame. it’s a pretty cool story. then he answered questions and left.

retired-team leader Justin Brandon was at camp today helping me out. he just got back from africa on an ND international service project. he was good.

my first group sucks. they are terrible i hate them. they don’t run, they don’t circle up, they suck at willingham claps, and they think i am satan. they’re also really late every day. today they didn’t get to play football because they were really late and had to leave. but that was because willingham spoke.

my second group rules. they’re 13 & 14. we played an awesome game of flag football. we divided up the kids, then me and justin joined a team and mike (a team leader) and james (golf coach) played on the other team. it was pretty fun. yeah.

the third group was a big group, and they’re always a little tough to get in order, but not bad. we played a huge game of football, and with that comes some attitudes and kids getting pissy. so when that happens, i make the morons go touch the really far away goal post.

for fouth period, i had planned to do the throwing technique day, but when i told them that, they said they already did it the other week. they convinced me then, but now that i think about it, i’m pretty sure i didn’t teach them. they were lying to me, and the team leaders didn’t know either. what the heck? so we played jets across instead, since they all wanted to play that. it went well, even when i was faking a team leader out (clare) by diving on the ground and kicking the crap out of team leader alissa’s shin. it’s scraped pretty badly. oops. jets across has already claimed a team leader’s ACL (sean) and taken a kid out of camp (anthony, 15 years old) due to bad knee injury. all of these from running across a field avoiding the sharks (being minnows).

fifth period went fine probably. i don’t remember. i didn’t piss any kids off, other than when in warmups when some huge fat kid was flipping out about a dragonfly following him i said “do you realize how ridiculous you look?” (we were all in a circle and he was flailing, looking ridiculous.) then some other kid told me to stop making fun of people. i started to justify myself, then realized that the kid was 11 and i stopped.

Dad • 07/24/03 3:11 PM:

Hey, let’s all be happy about what a good word “flailing” is.

Dan • 07/25/03 6:12 PM:

DAY 23: today the basketball tournament started (there’s a big tournament between teams. all the kids love bball).

my first group sucked bad as usual. we barely got to play flag football. whatever, who cares.

second & third period the groups had to play their basketball tournament game, which meant that i didn’t have to do anything. instead, i went to the art room where kids were making tshirts and i made one that said (in etched-out “jokerman” font, ‘SUPER DUDE!’ with a giant purple fish print on it (it was a rubber fish). my shirt ruled.

i taught punting 4th period to 10 year olds. that was good. they were awful mostly, but there’s always a couple surprisingly good punters. some get the form and steps right away, some (like tom foley from high school) never will get it down.

was there a 5th period? i don’t remember what i did.

Dan • 07/25/03 6:27 PM:

DAY 24: today should be named DISASTER DAY. the bball tourney is getting busy, kids, team leaders, and coaches are worn down, and (insert 3rd thing bad about the end of a camp). they had raisin french toast for breakfast. seriously, folks, who on earth wants raisin french toast? NOBODY. this is like the 5th time they’ve had that. what are they THINKING? hugh (like “ugh”, but different). anyways, half of the kids (most of the bad kids, actually) from group 1 didn’t bother coming to football today, instead they watched the bball games (which aren’t THAT exciting). so we played a pretty average game of flag football instead. i’m totally drained. second period i told the team leader (mike pykosz, got a 42 on the MCAT by the way) to stick a fork in me because i’m done. that’s a figure of speech. so we kicked a bunch of field goals (i got a 30 yarder off the ground, no tee) and threw the ball around a lot. third period we played a crappy game of flag football. fourth period the kids were being a pain so i made them all sit down and then we played a game where we sit in a circle and say one word each and go around and make sentences (i totally just wrote “sandwiches” instead of “sentences”. what is going on). so some of the sentences were like I WENT TO THE STORE AND GOT A NAPKIN FOR WASHING MY FACE. that was ok. the best sentence was something like this: REENA (girl’s name) WENT TO THE TOILET AND TOOK A TISSUE (that was my word,to move on a different track) TO WIPE (at this point, everyone cracked up) HER (DISGUSTING, DIRTY, BUTT, ETC). that was funny. then we played charades and i did the lawnmower dance and all the kids guessed it right. it was awesome. for fifth period i was spent bad. we just played a pathetic game of jet’s across while i layed, hat over face, in the middle of the course blowing my whistle to signal when the kids could cross. apparently kids were jumping over me. i didn’t get stepped on. that’s all i cared about.

Dan • 07/26/03 8:57 PM:

DAY 25: last day. we had first period today. my group didn’t come (that may or may not because i told them not to if they could find something better to do). so i hung out and hit golf balls off the driving tees. the rest of the day was pretty much a free-for-all. second and third periods were the finals of the bball tournament, finishing off with a staff vs. kids game. i played. we whupped them good. we were going to have a dunk contest, but maintenance was setting up some ceremony in stepan and took out the goals, and the outside rims are WAY too high and stiff to do any sort of cool dunk on (just dunking a crappy dunk is a feat). so i couldn’t show off my stuff. oh well. after that we had lunch and then headed off to the library auditorium for the nysp talent show/awards ceremony. some kid’s talent was contortion, and he was good. it was horrible to watch. he didn’t just put his foot behind his head, that leg went completely behind his body. it was amazing. i wanted to puke. the whole auditorium was freaking out. then some girls did a dance and some of the guys’ mouths dropped for the entire 4 minutes. that was funny to see. some guys did some dribbling, And 1-style, but they pretty much sucked and their song was turned off because the rap featured an F-bomb within the first 1 second of the song. then some dudes danced to reba mcintyre (remember, these are inner-city african-american kids) and did the lawnmower dance (which i showed them proper technique) doe-see-doed (square danced, whatever). that’s about it. i gave my football achievement/participation awards to some kids, but they put the names on a powerpoint slide and forgot to put 2 up there, so that sucked because they also didn’t have enough footballs to give out. dammit i was mad. mike pykosz and martha fulcher were team leaders of the year. that was good. then carl, our stupid director, spoke and pretty much everything he said was dumb. that’s about it. then the kids went home and it was over.

it was a little more emotional for me than last year because i got to know more of the kids and that was really good. i also was a better coach than team leader and i think that showed. it was good to see the kids i team-led last year. overall, last year was run better, but this year was good because i was able to help a lot more, especially helping with team leaders when they felt worthless. it was interesting to be able to see team leaders work, some good strategies, some bad. last year i didn’t really get a bearing on who was good and stuff. i definitely did this year. when i was going back to the dorm at the end of the day, i saw hoopy, my roommate this summer, also my neighbor for 2 years in morrissey, also who i told should do nysp this summer, and we sort of cried a little bit. it was pretty good.

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