Though I have been teaching and coaching for 23 years, I have not yet witnessed schools significantly shift as abruptly as they have recently. COVID-19 is turning our schools and world upside down. At the present moment, I am trying to create and lead distance learning and, despite my mediocre delivery, my students have been resilient, flexible, creative, self-disciplined, and gritty. They are certainly struggling for a variety of reasons, though we are slowly adapting to this new temporary normal. We are doing our best.
That said, we are missing school as we knew it; we are certainly missing one another. We all miss the human connections. Sure, it is possible to learn and grow through a computer screen. We quickly realized, however, that school is better together.
Paddling with others is a tremendous way to connect with others.
I launched GO Paddleboard CT LLC four summers ago. At the time, I simply wanted to provide opportunities for people to enjoy standup paddleboarding – it seemed like an organic extension of my professional teaching and coaching experiences. And, such a business venture might allow me to spend more summer time with my tweenage daughters while they still, at least sometimes, wanted to spend time together.
Within the context of our current shared reality, I now realize that my summer GO Paddlebaord CT experiences have been, quite simply, centered about connections. Human connections. Paddling, like school, is better when done together. Since starting this small summer endeavor, I have had the opportunity to witness teenage cousins work and laugh together by paddling one board simultaneously. I’ve seen middle-aged siblings reconnect in a quiet lagoon. I’ve overheard friends laugh with – and at – one another. A young woman encouraged her fiance to get back on his board after a fall. An extended family took a risk and learned, together, that they could paddle and have fun while doing so. A small corporate team relaxed after a long day of meetings. Together. Regardless of the group size or dynamic, human connections defined our on-water experiences.
We will be back on the water together soon…
I also had the honor of paddling with and connecting with some exceptional young men and women from Tidewater, a local sober living community. Their energy was uplifting and I enjoyed being on the water with them immensely. It was awesome to witness and be a small part of their vibe. They did back flips and knocked one another off their boards. They raced. They laughed, teased, supported, and encouraged one another. They charged. And, as one woman noted, paddling can be a metaphor for recovery. We laughed together when I encouraged them to paddle directly into and through the chop and other such cliches.
Many people are metaphorically – and virtually – paddling together now; I look forward to paddling together with you again…
GO Paddleboard CT LLC