Saturday, April 16, 2005

All Hail Heilmann!

We’ve been doing a lot of role playing in social studies lately. I try to anticipate which way the class will lean and then stake out a position 180 degrees away; the joys of being the devil’s advocate. We’re in the 1760s now, studying the people and events leading up to the American Revolution. I do my lessons as the King of England, opening and closing each class by polling the kids: Are you a Loyalist, a Rebel, or neutral? Each day kids switch back and forth, swayed by our discussions. At the start of the unit only four of 24 students were Loyalists. I had a good week and by yesterday could count 14 Loyalists in the ranks, but the Rebels are stubborn. Talking about the Stamp Act, I point out that the Rebels are hypocrites, promising things they can’t deliver. (Me: “You complain so much about taxes, but you know that even if you get rid of English rule, you’ll have to set up a tax system of your own.” Linda, one of my students: “It’s better to try and make things better than just leave them the same, and at least that way we’ll get to decide about the taxes.”) Right now, most of the class appreciates the King's candor, while the others call me a dirty Lobsterback ("And the only good Lobsterback, Mr. Faloon, is a dead Losterback!")

Walking down the hallway yesterday after school, I passed a former student. We were both late for something but we managed to continue our conversation by talking as we walked backwards in opposite directions. I said goodbye a split second before stepping on one of the paper mache mask projects drying outside of the art room. I felt terrible. I thought to myself that it was the biggest mistake I’d made in a long time, and, as I tried to fix the mask, I, apparently, said as much out loud because out of nowhere I heard Linda, the class’ most outspoken Rebel, say, “So the King has made another mistake, good thing there was a Patriot here to see it.” Busted.

And while I’m clearing the closet of mistakes, I have one more: I want to take back my question about whether or not Pedro is an upgrade from Al Leiter. He is, and I’m in his corner. And I’m glad the days when Leiter and Franco and Piazza ran the Mets clubhouse are over. Each of them’s a stand up guy, but their version of the team was in a rut, a group of guys phoning it in. The new blood is making things happen, even, like last night, when four of the regulars (Floyd, Wright, Matsui, Cameron) were out of the line up, and an unproven kid (Aaron Heilmann) was on the hill (tossing a fantastic one-hit shutout, the team’s first whitewash of the season). I want that to be a matter of public record before today’s Pedro/Leiter match up which is just three hours away. Let’s make it six in a row!

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