Fall is for Football

The school is a-buzz this week with talk of football. Specifically, talk of one particular football game- Gilman vs McDonogh. Even our youngest lower school boys know of the big game and understand the long standing rivalry between the schools. This week there has been an increase in the number of footballs brought to school and the number of boys participating in recess football games. Maybe this is due to the building excitement for Saturday’s game.

Our wonderful Mr. Bowie leads the chorus of football cheers. He has been a part of the team, both as a player and now as a coach, for a good part of his life. Mr. Bowie’s enthusiasm for football is contagious, and he will happily tell you how football builds character and teaches life skills. It was lucky for him that his first homeroom as a teacher was fourth grade, where Mr. Herb had already instituted a math unit of Fantasy Football. All fall, the fourth grade students routinely check scores and fill in charts. Good-natured teasing about players’ tough weekend losses dominate Monday morning conversation. Even Dr. Webster has formed a fantasy team this school year. He reads the stats and marks his scorecard each week.

Mr. Bowie and Mr. Attenoukon, while being known for their abilities in the classroom, are also known for their throwing arms. Lobbing spirals to the awaiting hands of a first or fourth grade student is routine during recess.

Football talents are impressive at a boys’ school like Gilman, and the boys take the sport very seriously. Recess games of touch football mirror the intensity of the sport at every grade level. Occasionally over the years, we have had to give the boys a break from their beloved game. Poor sportsmanship choices that involve more that one or two boys can lead to a “ban” for a few weeks. The encouraging part of the situation is that the boys know that the game has become “not fun” anymore and that reinstating fair play and rules are necessary to make it enjoyable again.

So, once again, our young boys will watch old rivals come together on Saturday. Hopefully they will see modeled for them a “fun” game, with good sportsmanship, appreciative fans on both sides, and celebration of team over celebration of individual. Next week we can remind them of how special football can be and continue teaching those life lessons through the friendly competition of recess games.

I hope that my communication with you each week encourages “talking points” to inspire weekend conversation with your son or sons. Here are some “talking points” for this weekend.

  • Did you participate in the “stuff the bus” campaign? What did that mean? Who will benefit from the food supplies?
  • How was the pep rally? Did everyone cheer for Gilman? Why is it unkind to boo another team even if they are your rivals?
  • If you are in Kindergarten- How did your patterned hot air balloon turn out? What was it like pretending to be donkeys in PE? What do your classmates bring for lunch? I hear there is a wide variety of foods.
  • If you are in Pre-First- What did you learn about Mrs. Matthews this week? Hint- she is in a country that ends with the letters of her first name. What book did Mrs. Teeling read to you that talks about that country?
  • If you are in First Grade- How did your math test go on Friday?
  • If you are in Second Grade- How are you using the iPads to give you “seed” ideas for writing projects?
  • If you are in Third Grade- Where did you search for arrays in math class? How many varieties did you find?
  • If you are in Fourth Grade- Did you enjoy baking bread in Spanish class? How was it different from other bread you have had? Did you enjoy having the girls from Roland Park come to discuss books this week? How is it different from having just the boy’s perspective?
  • If you are in Fifth Grade- How is play practice going? Have you “blocked” the play on the stage? Do you have a favorite song? How was CELP this week? What things did you discuss with the upper school and middle school leaders?

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