104. EDITORIAL: THE “DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR” MYTH, RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. V & ATHLETIC ADVENTURES OF MICHELLE

Hello Dear Readers: This week was a bit of a “recovery week” for me with my beloved Georgia Bulldogs LOSING to the much despised Steve Spurrier coached South Carolina Gamecocks 😥 (or Barnyard Chickens as some of us Georgia fans call them). Earlier this week, as I (Renee) left the middle school late Monday afternoon to pick up Tyler from Kindergarten -My car broke down! Good Grief! Well, I was able to call via cell Jenny at the Elementary school to take Tyler with her and Tommy -I would get Tyler later. And guess who pulled over to the side of the road while I waited for John to pick me up? A bunch of the high school football team members who just finished their practice. Of the six in the pickup truck, two were former students of mine! And one was Greg of RENEE’S HALLOWEEN (AND FIRST) PADDLING! Well, it was Greg and a couple of his buddies who figured out what the problem was and stayed with me until John arrived. They even helped John out with getting the car to a garage to be fixed.

So much for the anti’s mythology of “abusive paddlers” and “damaged-for-life victims”. But then again, IMHO, the antis live in an alternate universe where down is up, up is down, black is white and white is black.

EDITORIAL: THE “DISRUPTIVE BEHAVIOR” MYTH

Sometimes, a general phrase or tag gets extrapolated into something far removed from reality. One of the tricks of the anti c.p. zealots is to take what might have occurred decades ago and then superimpose that onto ALL contemporary situations. In a thread on another forum, it has been postulated that, in order to get to use the paddle when all else fails, “paddle happy” educators have the “fail-proof” offense of “disruptive behavior” to fall back on.

What garbage logic!

First, today’s schools make use of defined disciplinary policies (matrixes} instead of general “catch-all” terms when a student is referred to the office. None of us at TWP can fathom just sending a student to the office with only “disruptive behavior” written down as the reason. Any real life principal is going to want SPECIFICS in any referral he/she receives. And a teacher who cannot give a specific reason will have their teaching competency questioned.

Second, in the REAL world of REAL schools, students are sent to office for extreme behavior, not trivial offenses.  One story that came to our attention was of an autistic teen who assaulted his teacher and even had to be subdued w/tasers by police! That is a very extreme case of “disruptive behavior” but is certainly closer to the misconduct of office referrals over the minor violations imagined by the antis. Those anti c.p. zealots would have everyone believe that minor infractions such as talking out/out of turn, chewing gum, getting up to sharpen pencil w/o permission are all “disruptive behaviors” punishable by office referrals for paddle swats.

Third, as for myself , I take a very dim view of frivolous  referrals. My policy as an assistant principal is that all referrals must list SPECIFIC behavior infractions. I insist on knowing who, what, when and where. It has been my experience that when a student is sent to my office -It is pretty serious. And I DO listen to the students side. However, a referral is not trivial and the bottom line is the question I always ask: “Did you (the student) do (or say) what is on this referral (push/shove/profanity/throw object/hit)?” 99% of the time, the student will admit to the “charge” because my well-known policy is “Honesty means a lighter penalty”. Lying ALWAYS means more trouble. And NO student of mine that has told me the truth has ever been paddled.

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. V

Acceptance?

As I disseminated last week, joining a college sorority is a multi-step process of “rushed” and frantic introductions to begin with. After that, the process slows down and becomes more selective -Both for rushee and sorority sister. The last night in the second week was by invitation only and I was invited by both the Alphas and Rhos. My heart pulled me in the direction of the Alphas that night. All that was left then was a unanimous vote by the 100+ sisters of Alpha -And yours truly would become a pledge.

I know and understand that all of this “rush process” seems intimidating and unfair to many. I felt the same way. But there is a reason for this method. Unlike any other student organization in which members come and go, a sorority sisterhood is for LIFE! After initiation, that sorority will be the ONLY sorority that you will ever belong to. This is not something to be taken lightly. IMHO, no social “wall flowers” should attempt this type of membership.

The unanimous vote for pledgeship seems unfair to some but there are reasons sororities (and fraternities) do this. The pledge is a member-in-training and I personally feel that it is even worse to have someone pledge who doesn’t have a realistic chance at the all-important unanimous initiation vote. In other words -Don’t waste the time of someone who you do not want as a future sister. As to the bid invitation vote (to become a pledge), I recall some heated debates on several prospects, some which we did not vote in. For myself, there were a few candidates which I voted for who did not get in and a few others who I felt didn’t show a real desire to join who I voted down. No matter how long it took (Up to an hour or more), we always ended our secret ballot bid vote meeting with a sorority song about sisterly love and unity. Only then did the rush chairwoman seal all the bid envelops for hand delivery the next day.

The Next Day

Of course, I was unaware of the positive vote for me by Susan and the Alphas. I was uncertain of the outcome when I met with the marching band and color guard for another “walk-through” at Sanford stadium field (aka Between the Hedges) that Saturday morning.  I saw Susan lining up but as we prepared to go through our routine, I decided to let Susan make the first move.

SHE DIDN’T!

As I lined up, I was overflowing with apprehension. As we started the routines and motions, a thought flashed through my head. “What if I was S***** last night!”  It was then that the whole “walk through” seemed to go into super slow motion -For me! But I still managed to get through it without any major boo boos. And when we finished, I quietly turned to leave, half expecting and half hoping to hear Susan say, “Hold up, Renee…I got something for you!”

She never did.

It seemed to be a slow bike ride back to the apartment. And my mailbox in the lobby-foyer had only advertisements and coupons in it -No bid invitation. Well, with my roommates both gone for the weekend, I just threw myself a really good, one-girl pity-party. Hey, at this point, I was already planning my next move: To a smaller state university closer to home by the first of the new year. Being a small town girl at a 35,000 student university was losing its appeal fast.

Catching up on chores around my apartment unit -especially the shared kitchen area- certainly does one thing: Takes your mind off of whatever. The rest of the morning, I spent doing the first really good clean up job since I moved in several weeks earlier.

Then it happened.

A knock knock.

It was almost lunchtime and I was about ready to pop one of those low-cal dinners in the microwave when I answered the door.

It was Susan.

A smiling Susan.

But I felt a bit miffed so I played coy.

Susan said, “I didn’t think they’d ever let me in this joint!…But not to worry…Getting into Alpha …. …. will never be that difficult!”

Susan grinned as she handed me a small sealed envelop which had an official seal with Greek letters stamped on it.

I decided to play cool as  I took it from Susan’s hand.

Susan whispered, “We decided that you have something to offer us…The decision if to pledge or not is entirely yours…It will not be easy but nothing worth anything ever is…”

I thanked her and replied, “I’ll get back with you soon!”

As Susan turned to leave, she reminded me, “As we told everyone last night, if you get a bid and wish to pledge, it must be returned by 4:00 p.m. today at our ‘New Pledge Reception’…I’ll be looking for you there!”

As Susan walked out towards the elevator, I closed the door thinking, “Yeah, I’ll be there…by 3:59 p.m. and not before…The VERY idea of letting me “hang” all morning!”

I made it a point to make myself “unavailable” by doing some errands and library work with my cell phone turned OFF. Then I met my folks as they drove into campus looking for an early parking spot for the game that night. I had them drop me off in a new location:The Alpha sorority 10 minutes before 4. I took my time walking up to the front porch where the reception was already underway.

Smiling at a few other new pledges, I walked in.

A relived Susan at the door exclaimed, “Its about time you got here, Renee…Where have you been?…I’ve been looking for you the last two hours and just got back here myself a few minutes ago!”

Holding back a huge grin, I answered, “Did some prelim term paper work at the library and had my cell off …Miss me?”

Susan frowned a little and tapped me on the shoulder saying, “Renee honey, as a pledge of ours…You will need to learn better ‘time management’ skills!…Now put the bid card on the mantle and be sure Rush Chairwoman Annette sees you!”

I chuckled outloud and did as Susan instructed.

And a lifelong membership with people whom I think of as nearly real sisters began.

 

ATHLETIC ADVENTURES OF MICHELLE

Dear Readers: This new segment was brainstormed by the four of us at TWP over the summer. TWP has gotten a few e-mails asking about our growing up years when we played in various sports. While the RECOLLECTIONS series touched on our athletic participation, we decided to go back and give some more detail. But, as in all cases, this series will not give traceable clues as to our identities.

Howdy y’all. This is TWP’s very own Alabama Crimson Tide ex-cheerleader and her story, apart from college cheerleading. Although my family was of financially well-off status, that did NOT mean my two older sisters,younger brother or I just loafed around doing nothing. We all chose and enjoyed sports because we got to meet and be with and make new friends. Another reason: Mom and Dad had this habit of giving out more chores if they thought we were getting bored.

T-ball

My earliest memories is of T-ball, which Renee’s Tyler and Jenny’s Tommy started playing this year. I still have some old pictures of myself with ponytails and an adorable smile wearing an outfit resembling a MLB uniform. What is hilarious is the somewhat too large helmet all the kids were required to wear. Add chewing gum and you have a typical Miss T-ball.

But I slowly got a knack for T-ball and little league softball. So much that I went through a bit of a tom-boy stage early on. Yep, at that time, I considered dressing up for these first beauty pageants as a bore and did it so momma would let me play t-ball later. (Unbelievable, huh?} To this day, I do not recall any records or scores but DO recall the ice cream treats the team got after each game -Win or lose.

Softball

Starting with little league softball, I got a bit more into the game. I tried pitching but the coach would only let you if you could throw the ball into an open shoe box (set on its side vertically) from about 20 feet. I could get the ball in only a few times out of about 20 so pitching was out. I didn’t like playing 1st, 2nd or 3rd base because I kept forgetting when to cover a base-runner and when to help cover the infield. (Softball/Baseball isn’t as simple as it looks) So, it was the outfield for me.

I was probably a “natural” for the outfield being taller and fast footed. But I thought it was BORING! I made some dashing catches but messed up a few times because I wasn’t focusing on the next pitch -Until it was too late! It was my dad who suggested I try out as catcher. Good ol’ daddy (Who made time for us kids out of his hectic schedule) was a fan and supporter as well as a parent. One game, he had just flown in from a business trip and rode from the airport straight to the softball park in his limo! -Yea Daddy! I took his advice and…I LOVED playing catcher! I may not have ever looked the part of Catcher being a long legged, tall blond but with the face-mask and body padding, the only clue it was me was my blondish hair tied in a ponytail.

From then on, I was Miss Beauty Pageant/Softball Catcher. Think split persona: I could compete in a beauty pageant in the morning and later that afternoon, work the tom-boy out of me while in the middle of the action playing softball catcher. You can’t beat that, right?

Not quite.

The position of catcher can get rough sometimes and daddy did caution me on that. But tagging out a hard charging runner at home plate was what I lived for. And because little league softball is coed, I tagged out boys as well as girls! (HA HA) But there are some hazzards as well. Bumps, scrapes and minor cuts come with the position.

Problem comes when softball precedes a beauty pageant. And I DID have a problem once. In a high school softball tournament, I played a morning game in which I made a crucial tag at home and preserved a win but at a cost. My left elbow was cut and bruised in a collision while making that tag. Problem: The beauty pageant evening gown competition was that night in the town one hour up the road. Everything was right: Dress, Shoes, Makeup. But there was NO hiding the bandage on my left elbow. Miss Beauty Pageant had another side to her.

Actually, I did just fine in both the Evening Gown and Interview competition. I just varied my routine and minimized the bandage by slightly turning my left arm. All you folks out there who are internet detective wanna bees -Good Luck – because I’m not telling how high I placed. (I entered so many pageants when growing up, I cannot even remember!)

Volley Ball

My winter sport of volleyball was definitely NOT the “Beach” version! In fact, so far as collisions with the hardwood floors of school gyms are concerned, volley ball is on par with basket ball. One nice thing about volleyball is that knee and elbow pads are mandatory. Of course, while I DO enjoy “all out” competition -No one ever had to force me to wear pads!

Unlike Renee, who was best suited in the backcourt as a server, yours truly is taller and hence, did her damage in the frontcourt right where the net is located. Read that as Spiker/Blocker!

And I LOVED it!

So much that when a jock boyfriend of mine referred to Volleyball as a “girlie” game, I didn’t let him get away with it. Yep, the tom-boy in me came out full force. I challenged him one-on-one to spike or block a volleyball on me during lunch period in the gym where a volley ball net was already set up. Suffice to say, just because you can play football (American style for you folks in Europe) does NOT make you a volley ball player. I don’t think he was taking me seriously because I spiked the ball into his forehead! (That taught him never to diss a young lady with a mind of her own! Giggle) Of course, athletic football player ARE faster than girls so…

In actual volley ball games, I have already recounted in RECOLLECTIONS how I got under the skin of the other teams and referees with my “YEAH!” outbursts after each time we made a spike or block. No “showboating” intended -It was just the cheerleader coming out of me! Beside the one time a referee warned me, there was another incident. Another team didn’t take too kindly to my volley ball persona and decided to do a “Yeah!” in unison whenever I missed or messed up. That fired me up for sure! But after 5 LONG sets, I recall my team lost that night.

Conclusion

In both softball and volley ball, I truly enjoyed playing not for trophies or acclaim but rather, for the shear fun of it. Combined with cheerleading and aerobics (summertime), all of those activities also helped me to stay in great physical condition. I am an advocate of sports for children of all ages because our children cannot afford NOT to. With the current rate of childhood obesity, we in the U.S. will pay a high price in future medical cost -Unless that trend changes.

 

COMING NEXT:

ALUMNI INQUIRES TO MICHELLE,

RENEE CHRONICLES: THE COLLEGE YEARS pt. VI

&

TBD

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