My second graders took the stage today. I have been in charge of 7 amazing children who were asked to speak during our all-school assembly. We were charged with the task of speaking about goals. This group decided, in the midst of the Super Bowl excitement, that we should use the Seattle Seahawks as our inspiration. I am not a Seahawks fan (although I was raised with an avid Seahawks fan for a dad) but it was hard to not get caught up in all the excitement. We decided that we would focus on 4 players who had to overcome adversities in their life to achieve their goal of playing in the NFL. We have been talking about persevering and this was a great place to reinforce that skill.
One young lady in particular stood out today. She decided that she wanted to research and present Marshawn Lynch. Don't worry, it's OK if you aren't a football fan because you can still imagine what a little girl sounds like and how that completely contradicts what a football player usually sounds like.
On our first day of practice, she sweetly read about Lynch. She had great inflection when she read and added a little personality to it as well. I applauded her first try and then gave some pointers.
"R, you have to channel your inner football player...bad boy...tough guy.", I said in a scruff voice.
"What does that sound like or look like?"
"Well, you have to puff yourself up really big and talk like you mean business." I did the best I could to model what this would look like. She giggled a bit and began to puff up her chest and pull back her shoulders.
"You mean like a teacher voice?"
I wasn't really sure how to take that. Do I use a gruff voice when I use my teacher voice? I asked her what that sounded like. To which she used a strong, commanding, "I mean business" tone.
"Yup, that is exactly what I'm talking about.", I replied.
~ Fast Forward a few weeks to today ~
I brought my son's hockey chest protector/shoulder pads in for several of my speakers to wear under their football jerseys so they'd look bigger and tougher. I should have brought black paint for under their eyes but I didn't think about it. They sat on a bench together, helmets in hands, and prepared for their parts. It was R's turn, she was the first one to speak.
She stood with a commanding presence, hunched her shoulders a bit, and shifted her weight to one foot. She scrunched her nose up like she had just walked past a garbage can and then began to talk. "Hi, my name is Marshawn Lynch..." The sweet little voice from moments before was gone and a tough football player captured the attention of every audience member.
You could hear giggles of disbelief and then there were some hoots and hollers as she connected even more with the audience.
"The Seattle fans love me and call me Beast Mode."
AH YEAH! Came a holler from the audience.
R broke character for just a moment as a smirk appeared on her face, and then she got right back to work. I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear and get a goofy smile on my face. They each worked so hard and it all paid off. Their perseverance and passion shown through on that stage and I couldn't be more proud.