Monday, March 21, 2011


You would have to be living under a rock somewhere to NOT know it's NCAA March Madness time. And, amazingly so, the Butler Bulldogs have stunned naysayers who chalked up last year's performance of a lifetime to just that -- a once in a lifetime thing. A fluke. Yet here they are again, with their dancin' shoes on in the oh, so Sweet 16. I recently read Butler's Big Dance, written by Butler Professor Susan Neville (whom I may or may not have had as an instructor at school). It is an amazing account of the entire phenomenon that gripped my alma mater, our state, the sport and the nation, as the "unknown" Bulldogs came out of nowhere... and proceeded to fight their way to the top of the heap. When Gordon Hayward's shot missed by three inches (yes,... three inches) the team lost the honor of a national championship. But in the process of losing that, they gained the love and loyalty of, well, everyone, it seems. Duke may have added another trophy to their case, they got the hats and shirts and the confetti rained down on them from high above the court in Lucas Oil Stadium -- but it was Butler that people were talking about. And it's Butler they are still talking about. Who knows what Thursday's game will bring. As much as I'd love for them to post another win, really, making it back to the Sweet 16 is an incredible accomplishment in itself. I love my school, I admire the team and Coach Stevens -- they are a classy bunch of gentlemen -- and I love that they are showing everyone, once again, what down-to-earth, hard-working, academically accomplished students they are.


This year, students in grades 3, 4 and 5 at the boys' school were required to create books for the Young Author's Conference. I, for one was thrilled. Jack, Charlie and Sam? Meh... not so much. They were enthusiastic about the stories they wanted to write, but when it came down to the writing, well... the weather was getting warmer, the basketball hoop was put up and they suddenly had much more important things to do. However, a requirement is a requirement, and three boys dictated three stories which I typed verbatim. (Which, at times, nearly killed the OCD grammarian in me.) In the end, the boys created some pretty good stories, and they were presented well. Today, Sam told me he was chosen as a representative for the 3rd grade to attend the conference in a few weeks. I was thrilled! I had won the Young Author's Conference at my school in 5th and 6th grades. (You know, back when 6th grade was still in an elementary school and we scratched our lessons onto stone tablets with dinosaur bones.) I clearly remember the grumpy mumbling of classmates when I was chosen the second year in a row. "But sheee went laaaast year!" I simply shrugged. I certainly had nothing to do with the selection process -- I just liked to write stories. I read through the paperwork for the conference today, and felt a little jolt of excitement when I saw that parents are welcome to attend the workshop with their child. Trying my best to sound nonchalant, I said, "Hey, Sam... do you want me to go to the Young Author's Conference with you?" He answered yes, and I proceeded to do a little happy dance in my head.


I am still on JoyQuest2011. Some days I kind of forget that I need to be "finding the joy," because someone has positioned his or herself in my path, making it imposssssssible to find my sanity, let alone any joy. But I am still trying. Every day, even when I slip and quietly cuss someone out for driving like a maniac, or politely turn away to roll my eyes privately at a person's actions, or even mumble under my breath some choice words to make me "feel better" about the present situation, I'm stopping myself. I immediately say a quick little prayer for forgiveness, then -- you guessed it -- find the joy in the situation. I feel like I'm still deep in training mode, but there are still plenty of days and weeks left to get the hang of it. Breathe deeply... find the joy.

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