Sunday, January 9, 2022

Aspiration: Inbox Zero Redux

The basket you see in this picture haunts me. It challenges me. It ought to contract, it usually expands. And yet it lives in my sacred space.

The basket as of January 2022

When asked to describe a sacred space, I named the desk in my room. It sits in the bay window of my San Francisco flat and overlooks Fillmore and Washington Streets, the heart of the Pacific Heights neighborhood. From time to magical time, I really do feel like a writer as I peck away on this keyboard from this little perch. I'm not proud of it, but Carrie Bradshaw comes to mind. I savor those moments...until I see that basket.

This Pottery Barn Seagrass basket houses all the articles and magazines I have yet to read or transcribe. I am pretty good about pitching what I know I will never read. That healthy habit is why this basket is a problem. It is full of what I need to file or frame for a future lesson, blog post or article. 

When it became semi-clear during COVID that no one was returning to the office anytime soon, I set a goal—an aspiration—of getting through this basket. For those of you familiar with in-box zero, this was the real world, incarnational variation. Over time, I made significant progress but this literary weed didn't quit. Thus, when the Christmas break and the new year afforded me the opportunity to return to this aspiration, I reached for a magazine very familiar to me: Notre Dame Magazine. 

This is the basket at the onset of COVID. I should have noted the progress I made...

The Winter 2020-2021 issue lived in the basket because I had not read it in the way that I do. I give a Sports and Spirituality review on this blog for each season of the alumni publication. I find this practice to be a wonderful way to guide my reading. I think we all have our own way of navigating a trusted journal. How do you proceed?

Thus, this post serves three purposes:

  1. Consider this question: How do you decide what you read? The answer to the question ought to help you read more. And, I hope it helps you discover something about yourself!
  2. It lays the foundation for my next post.
  3. Being that one of my aspirations for 2022 is to move toward Pottery Barn Seagrass Basket zero, I am about to unload 10 articles from it now. Here are links and insights for each.
I unloaded these articles from the basket, thanks to this post.
It also helped me lesson plan for this week!
This got me thinking: “...the emissions from food waste in the world is twice the amount generated by all the cars in the U.S. and Europe and that rescuing food lowers those emissions.”

Insult has been added to the injury. Wasting food is completely unnecessary. 

  • 2. Alumna Feature CHRISTINA CHENAULT '15 from the Carondeletter
My high school's alumni magazine profiled Chenault, Carondelet Cougar record holder in the triple jump, long long, 200m, 400m 4x100m and 4x400 relays. Can we say decorated?! This athlete and advocate "started a sports media platform, a creative: a creative outlet to share fellow athletes' stories, find internships for athletes, and increase her profile as an athlete and entrepreneur. This piece led me to look up Chenault, only to find an informative interview on NPR. Former NCAA Athlete Fights For College Players To Profit From Own Names
My cohost Haley and I run a loose script for each episode. In the basket lives the notes from September 19, Season Two, Episode 14—The 25th Week in Ordinary Time. 

The show's outline: The Flame—What's hot this week, Spiritual Stew and our take aways are printed as a reminder to post stories, images and more to our Twitter and Instagram feeds. It lives in the basket because I have yet to post.  Tackling social media is NOT for the weary! 
The editor of Irish Illustrated writes, "Rees' success on the gridiron was predicated upon factors beyond his physical abilities."  As a fellow coach, I loved reading what Rees looks for. No doubt those qualities extend once again to the football field, albeit in another role. Grateful for his leadership and commitment to the Irish. 
When Brian Kelly accepted the job at LSU, Irish fans wondered what coaches he would take with him. Special teams coach, Brian Polian, the author of this guidebook was one of them. Given what he writes about BK, I am not surprised.
Working for Brian Kelly is very rewarding for me personally. He has taught me a great deal. "BK" is a wonderful communicator, a natural leader, trusts his people to do their jobs, and treats the staff and their families with respect. He has also help me to re-emphasize the importance of building relationships as a coach.

When we returned to Notre Dame in 2017, the Irish were coming off an uncharacteristic for an eight season in 2016 and Coach Kelly was evaluating every facet of the program. Watching some of this take place in person was an incredible learning opportunity. He met with just about every player in the program and sought feedback on their experience. He had uncomfortable conversations with leadership and wanted to know what he could do better. Then he set in motion a plan to reset and refocus the culture of the program.

I wish the two of them good luck at LSU. 

  • 5. KEN VENTURI 1931--2013 The Stylish and Stalwart 1964 Open Champ turned TV voice was an icon of golf's greatest generation, by Michael Bamberger
I've wanted to write about Venturi because of his San Francisco roots, But this tribute by Bamberger provided another reason.

"In his San Francisco boyhood Venturi had a serious stammering problem and was drawn to golf because he could play it alone. He logged hundreds of rounds at Harding Park, a city course where his parents worked in the pro shop. He overcame his stammer with intense devotion to breathing exercises and other therapies. He loved the movie The King's Speech."

I had a beloved student who struggled tremendously with his stammer. He found music to be his outlet. Perhaps golf could have been another.
  • 6. Shining StarPioneer astronaut Sally Ride still inspires women to aim high by Kathy Zonana
Inspires and gives me pause for amazement is more like it. My jaw might have dropped when I read, "Ride's first achievements came in tennis. She was a nationally ranked junior player and reached the collegiate quarterfinals as a Swarthmore student before transferring to Stanford, where she played No. 1 singles. The tennis ace was "lighthearted," says teammate Anne Connelly Gould, who was part of a pack of summertime tennis teachers who would race to Ride's Escondido Village apartment at lunchtime to watch All My Children. "I think tennis was an outlet for her," says Gould, '72, MA '80. "Obviously, she was a very serious student."

Stanford is among the top ranked tennis teams in the country, then and now. What an outlet!
A long time fan of the Pizzookie, it's time I've made my own. In the tragic event you are unfamiliar with this sweet treat, here is what you need to know. "BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, a popular chain in the U.S., created a gluttonous masterpiece called the pizookie. A pizookie is a pizza-cookie hybrid, topped with dripping scoops of ice cream. The dense cookie flavors include salted caramel, cookies 'n' cream, peanut butter s'mores and more. This culinary invention is not to be missed."

The recipe I will be using is from the Woman's Day: Back to Everything 2021 issue. No sports connection here. Am willing to make a case for a spiritual one, though! 
Let's discuss....
I start a new section of Sports and Spirituality this week. Fresh crop of seniors, some of who I taught during the junior year in Moral Issues. This conclusion from the former football player, now professor of English at University of Virginia will serve as an opening discussion. 

Do sports build character? Sports are what Derrida, in an essay on Plato, associates with something called the pharmakon, a substance that is both a poison and a remedy. Sports can do great good: build the body, create a stronger, more resilient will, impart confidence, stimulate bravery, foment daring. But at the same time, sports often brutalize the player—they make him more aggressive, more violent. They make him intolerant of gentleness; they help turn him into a member of the pack, which defines itself by maltreating others—the weak, the tender, the differently made.
A sticky note lives on this page with the question: For next year? Truth be told, I still can't decide if I should follow up Edmundson's claim with Rushin's treatise. The Sports Illustrator columnist is tremendously creative and flip. Perhaps I should share him with high school students for that very reason. I can't predict how they will respond. Stay tuned.
All points are true but I will be blogging about number 10 and number 11? One of my 22 for 2022. Aspiration 2.0.

I'm beginning to think that to succeed with my aspiration of Seagrass Basket Zero, I may need to post a listing of articles from time to time. Let's see where 2022 takes us!

photo credits
Gen Z

No comments:

Post a Comment