Day 100 (of 184) an event.
Sometimes things happen that are big. Really big. Today was one of those days on the west coast where the Super Bowl championship of the Seattle Seahawks was celebrated via a parade downtown. As a self-admitted fanatic of the Seattle Seahawks, it was with the support (pushing) of my family and my learning community that I chose to be part of something that was much bigger than what I expected:
Looking at the crowd, it was easy to assume many school classrooms were almost empty all across the Pacific Northwest. Jose Banda, the superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, was roundly criticized for not closing the schools Wednesday.
“It will be treated as an unexcused absence,” Banda stated in a release. “While we support the team, academics must come first and it’s important not to lose a day in the classroom.”
We’re all in favor of education, but one day in fourth grade can’t compare to the memories of a lifetime and the lesson of civic pride that came from attending this event.
Banda later backed down, saying each school principal could decide what was right for his or her school. Many teachers elected to bring TVs into the classroom and allow the students who were there to watch the parade live.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared 12:12 p.m. PT as a moment of loudness across the state. As the parade began people spilled into the street, making it difficult for the vehicles to get through.
Thousands of students apparently skipped school to attend. Seattle Public Schools said more than 25 percent of the district’s 51,000 students were absent in the morning. By comparison, about 5 percent were absent the day before. The school district also said 565 teachers were absent, far more than usual.
“This is a historical event, once in a lifetime. To not show up would be blasphemy,” said Jesse Lake, 36, a carpenter from Port Orchard, who stood in the packed parking lot outside CenturyLink Field to greet the team as they arrived.
Chris Hoops, a sales worker from Everett, and his school-aged daughters left home at 7 a.m. to get a good spot.
The girls, 11-year-old Emily and 8-year-old Bella, were bundled in sleeping bags at his feet. They warmed up when they were asked whether they were sorry about missing school. They shouted “no” in unison.
“I like the Seahawks,” Emily said. “They were really good this season.”
The sense of community that existed within the crowds was amazing – everybody was there to be part of something bigger – something that the “12th Man” has tried to always embody – that there can be a common connection which can be ‘much greater than the sum of its individual parts’.
I (and my sister with her husband) were with another family who was there with their son. They confessed that the playoff run brought the family ‘more together’ – they developed common language around a common ‘passion’ (the mom was there to support her son and husband but her football knowledge was…..well…..). But the family was connected through this event, and were connecting with other friends and family scattered along the parade route.
Lots of other families were in attendance. Some laughed that as a Principal I had taken a personal day (spoken with my superintendent ahead of time!) because I was modelling ‘following ones passion’ – as I often ‘talk’ about at school (and a common discussion throughout our school district), now I had to (got to?) ‘walk what I talk’ and enjoy & reflect upon one of my passions.
And for one day, even though I wasn’t ‘from’ Seattle – I was for that moment and I learned that sometimes ‘moments’ become bigger than even a community and when it happens, it can be very powerful and positive. The “12th Man” is indeed a powerful idea and sometimes (as the Superintendent of Seattle Schools learned) can create very powerful opportunities to learn, to connect and to last a lifetime.
I can hardly wait till next year….!