My educational summer continued this weekend. My daughter, Sarah, has been a driving force in this process. At the beginning of the summer she said, “You should listen to the ‘1619’ podcast, Dad.” So I did, and she was right. Each episode made me think, made me want to talk to someone, made me wiser in understanding our real history, made me think I’d been teaching American history in the wrong way. I listened to it again with Nancy on our drive home from the Adirondacks.
“Dad, do you follow Clint Smith? I’m not saying that just because he went to Davidson. He’s really good. I’m listening to his podcast, ‘Justice in America.’ I think you’d like it.” This advice came after I’d finished ‘1619’ in June.
I started listening in July. I’ve listened to episodes on Cash Bail, on Plea Bargaining, on Mass Incarceration, on District Attorneys. It opened my eyes to what really happens as opposed to what’s supposed to happen in our judicial system. It made me mad, but it also gave me hope, as they interviewed some of the people who are working on reforms.
Sarah has a good track record. She had also been the one who sent me to the John Green podcast, Anthropocene Reviewed, which might be my favorite podcast series of all. So, last night when she approached me with another recommendation, I was prepared to listen. I was not prepared for what she said. “Dad, it’s almost the end of the summer, and you still haven’t watched ‘Cheer.’ This is unacceptable.
“Sarah, I’ve probably seen every episode of ‘Cheers’ at least twice. I don’t think I need a refresher.”
“Not ‘Cheers,’ Dad, ‘Cheer.’ There’s a big difference.”
“Oh, it’s really good,” my wife chimed in. I was being double-teamed.
“Is it gonna be like that ‘Dance Mom’ show or that beauty pageant show? Cuz I really don’t need to see another show about aggressive, overinvolved parents.” A show about cheer leading really did not seem up my alley.
“No, it’s a documentary. It’s really good. Trust me.” Well, she had earned my trust with all of the other recommendations, so on Saturday night I reluctantly flopped on the couch with my family, filled not only with dinner but also a large helping of skepticism. I said I’d watch one episode.
Three-and-a-half hours later, I headed off to bed, my mind on fire with ideas and questions. How could I adapt Coach Aldama’s demanding, tough love approach in fifth grade? Should I get some cowboy boots? Push ups any time someone forgot to use the hand sanitizer! At the same time, I have to say I was a bit miffed at Monica for the way she manipulated Jerry just to give La’Darius that wake-up call. Granted, Jerry really wasn’t as versatile as La’Darius, with his tumbling and his stunt skills, but I mean, who is, right? Still, Jerry, of all the kids deserved better, right? He is the quintessential selfless hardworking teammate.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it to next Saturday to find out if Sherbs’s injury is going to keep her from going to Daytona. That was crazy how she’d just been talking about falling in the pyramid, how she just closed her eyes and trusted that someone would catch her. Then, BAM, she crashes to the floor. If she can’t make it, will Morgan be up to the challenge? Monica clearly has a soft spot for her. She has that compelling backstory, but I worry that she gets a little too inside her head sometimes, and she’s still having a lot of trouble pointing her toes. I suppose Gabi could take that spot. She is Gabi Butler, after all. Say no more, right? But what about Allie or Lexi?
I know you’ve probably already watched, but please don’t tell me. It’s part of my education, and I don’t want anyone to spoil it.