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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Failing Forward

American Outlaws-Seattle & Women's Sounders show support of US Deaf Women's National Team

There is a lecture series at the University of Washington called, "Failing Forward."  My friend & boss, Lesle Gallimore, was a guest speaker and I followed along to see what it was all about.  She was on a panel with various other highly successful, well known adults in our community.  
Glowing on the screen in a standing room only auditorium, was each speaker's title while their resume was read by the host; a resume oozing with accomplishments.  When the applause stopped, each speaker pulled out a more personal resume; the resume no one had ever seen, yet the resume that was mostly responsible for each one's success.  Their failure resume.  

The room fell into an uncomfortable silence as these well known guests read about how badly they had stumbled in school, their careers, in life.  There is something risky, yet cathartic about showing the whole you; not just the good stuff.   I do think the more you own your failure without pointing elsewhere, or ignoring the issue, it becomes the catalyst for improvement.  Acknowledging, "I wasn't good enough," shouldn't sound so terrifying, but we certainly don't hear it very often.  

So.. here it is.  After my 5th excursion with the United States Deaf Women's National Team I was getting pretty cocky.  Assuming I was doing swell picking up new words and phrases in sign language I trotted off to take a test to see just how good I was.  Walked into the office and said 'Hello" to Professor Forshay and the test had officially begun.  He signed some basic questions and the sweat began to glisten on my face.  After the basic questions, he fell into step.  I'm pretty sure he signed something to the effect of:  "Tell me a funny story."  Many shot to my lips ... but zero found their way to my hands.  I stalled and replied with jerky motions, "Do you like sports?"  His reply I translated adeptly, "No."   I tried my best to tell a funny story, on the spot, to a complete stranger, in sign language.  Crickets.   Knowing I was a coach, he followed up with, "Describe soccer, the movement, the style... " I THINK he said something about describing their legs... but that didn't seem right.  AS honestly as I could I replied in 100% fingerspelling, "I don't know how to sign, "legs, movement, style" and that's when it hit me.  I didn't really know how to sign anything in relation to the sport I'm trying to coach. Hence, ... my test.  Kinda embarrassing but I'm tossing it out there for you to see.  

In previous posts I have mentioned how difficult it is for our team to communicate.  Some players sign while others do not.  We always talk about learning and improving, but .... well... that is about as far as it goes.  So, after 30 years of not taking a class... BOOM  ASL 101.
"STUDENT" and Prof. Winters 

Uncomfortable,  awkward and awesome. Uncomfortable because it took me 3 weeks to realize the syllabus and homework was on "catalyst" and I could find it online.  I was wondering how the hell was able to conveniently slide their homework to the front of the room. The whole time I thought I must have missed her signs during class.

Uncomfortable because my partner was a 7'2" offensive lineman for UW and I'm sure he really enjoyed getting stuck with the ol' lady. 

For the record, he was awesome, but I felt at a slight disadvantage due to the fact his hands were the size of Milwaukee.

Awkward because I am shy, hate mingling, and do not like interacting with strangers.. and above all DO NOT enjoy video taping myself as part of an assignment.  No.. am not posting that little gem.
Awesome, because it truly is fun to learn something you know will help.  Awesome because I had a choice to walk into the class the first day or not.  Knowing it would be embarrassing and uncomfortable I walked in anyway.  Uncomfortable seems to be as exhilarating as failing once you make up your mind to just go for it and not worry. It's pretty fun.

I need to post this because the U.S. Deaf Women's National Team has a camp beginning on Thursday, Dec 29-Jan 2nd.  I'm not fluent or smooth.  I don't know how to describe the sport I'm trying to coach with much clarity... but I'm better than I was.  So.. .I am throwing down the gauntlet to our players. Because actions speak louder than words; especially on this team.

Thank goodness for Amanda, our interpreter. 
Amanda Newcomb:  ASL aficionado and interpreter
That's why she gets paid the big bucks... well... that's why she would get paid the big bucks if we had it. 

OSA FC "Plugged in" 

 I know we are looking forward to regrouping since our camp in Seattle in June.  Last camp our opponents, refs and coaches wore earplugs to gain a new perspective.

Each year players pay to attend camp and we are lucky to get 8 days per year.  Austin, TX here we come!

Come out and watch us "PLAY" 

 First Day of Camp for those of you in Austin.  Come on out! We have 3 new players joining us this camp! Yippeee!