Ready or not

One of the things that scares me the most about opening day is that some kid is gonna listen to me for 2 minutes and think I’m a total idiot1 that doesn’t know what they’re doing (and if I was ever right to fear this, please feel free to keep it to yourself :).

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Back in 2010, the great NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice shared something at his Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony that resonated with me:

My single regret about my career is I never took the time to enjoy it… I was always working.

I was afraid to fail. The fear of failure is the engine that has driven me my entire life. The reason they never caught me from behind is because I ran scared. People always are surprised how insecure I was. The doubts, the struggles, is who I am. I wonder if I would have been as successful without them.
Jerry Rice, Hall of Famer


I remember numerous sports commentators discussing this with bewilderment, wondering how someone so great at their craft could possibly be scared of “failing” at something that they were obviously so immensely talented at.

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I’ve seen it numerous times in my students, but I didn’t have to become a teacher to understand that sometimes those who work the hardest at what they do are also driven by an immense fear of falling short. But everyone is wired differently and that’s just the hand some folks are dealt.

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As I was getting things together this afternoon, I thought to myself that I’m not sure I’ve ever really been “ready” for the first day of school. I’m not sure anyone ever really is, rather I think its just one of those things that father time takes and shoves into our chests.

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  1. keep in mind that I have taught AP/Pre-AP every year since opening day #1, so this could very well be legitimate []