SPORTS BALL IS NOT MY THING. I don't enjoy watching football, or baseball on tv. There is something about the constant noise of a televised game -- the sounds of the crowd and the constant senseless chatter of the sportscasters that sets me on edge. My absolute least favorite are the post and pre game discussions. Pregame goes like the: "What they need to do is prevent the other team from getting points and then what they also need to do is get as many points as possible." I mean, really?
Some people believe because of my thoughts about watching sports ball that I am not an athlete or interested in playing sports. This is not true. I played softball in school, and was a volleyball coach for years. I just don't like sitting around watching sports. I want to play.
All of this to say that I just now got home from an amazing evening at Levi Stadium - home of the San Francisco 49ers. I should preface all of this by explaining that I am a Cowboys fan by marriage, and that The Husband did not appreciate my foray into enemy territory, but he puts up with things for the good my students.
If you are not aware of this, the 49ers have a really amazing education program. They have several state of the art -- seriously cutting edge technology -- classrooms and each school year tens of thousands of kids get to come to a FREE field trip to explore the science, math, technology and art of sports. Tonight, they held an open house for educators, showcasing their program. I was one of the lucky few who were invited to attend. It was wonderful.
The official story behind their 49ers Education Program is that Jed York's wife was a middle school teacher who was frustrated because their was no money to transport her students to a museum. Her frustration that her kids were going to miss out on some amazing opportunities simply because their was no budget for a bus has resulted in a program that will allow over 60,000 students to visit Levi Stadium and learn about science and math.
We got to tour the classrooms, walk all over the stadium, and take pictures all over the place. It was a really special thing to be a part of -- to be in a giant stadium with a small group of 200 people and to stand at the edge of the field. It isn't something many people get to do. Their program is amazing, too. Great hands-on, high interest stuff. I get to bring 30 of our students on a field trip later this year, and I can't wait for them to see and experience it. It will blow them all away!
But more than anything else tonight, I appreciated the heart behind it. We heard from Jed York, the owner of the 49ers, Jesse Lovejoy who heads up the educational program for the 49ers, and Tom Torklason, California Superintendent of Public Education. These are all men deeply committed to making sure that all students are aware of all the ways that math, science, creative thinking and innovation help us build a better world. The world is full of really kind, thoughtful people who are committed to improving students lives. One of the things I really appreciate about the program, is that the 49ers are making a concerted effort to reach out to schools that have low income students. If you can't get your kids to the field trip - they will send a bus and pick you up. They are also determined to draw in more diversity to the world of engineering, and math.
None of this has made me a 49ers fan. The Husband would be brokenhearted, but I am a tremendous fan of the 49ers Organization. They aren't just talking about the need to improve education for ALL students, they are actively doing something about it -- on a grand scale. I'm kind of a big sap, when I listen to these men talk about what they are doing for kids - who would have no other opportunity to not only see a big stadium like that -- but even to travel deep into the heart of the Bay Area, I get a little teary eyed. It is so good to know that the world has people who think about the impact and legacy that they want to leave behind.
It can be so easy to get focused on all the angry, negative voices, but buried underneath all that chatter, are powerful words of kindness; you just have to listen.