The Emotions of My Life

I can’t explain it. It just happens. I hear a speech, I watch a kid struggle in a race, I watch a student helping another student deal with a crisis…the situations are various and diverse and the tears rise up from the bottom of the well and threaten to be a gusher flowing out my eyes and down my cheeks.

I’m experiencing the emotions of my life experiences. It’s okay and yet it’s unpredictable. Yesterday I watched a video of an old friend of mine from my middle school days in Zanesville, Ohio. Terry Kopchak is in the midst of some serious health situations. The video was of him being helped as he walked down a rehab hallway using a walker. I teared up as I watched my old friend who I chummed around with and played basketball with almost 55 years ago.

Last night I was sitting in a middle school cafetorium watching the performance of Annie. My grandson Jesse played the part of Rooster. As he danced with two girls on stage I could feel the volcano of tears building within me. I mixed the eye moisture with chuckles as I watched his amazing performance.

A few weeks ago in my language arts class I was listening to an oral presentation by one of the students. As she gave her speech, that dealt with a life situation she had no control over, the mist began to invade the boundaries of my eyes. I was on the verge of that moment resembling the emergence of our lawn sprinklers, suddenly rising above the turf and spraying in all directions.

Emotions rise within me. At a middle school track meet a few days ago, my deep heaves of tearful joy began as I watched a seventh-grader, who has struggled in his running of the 1600-meter run, put it into a different gear and cut forty seconds off his time. He’s a kid who has a big heart that makes up for his limited athletic ability, the kind of kid I love to coach. Anyway…here comes the rain!

Some might say I’m softhearted. I’m not sure. I was still able to ream a student for moments of arrogant impoliteness last week. I still feel the rage when I hear middle schoolers using profanity as if they’re just munching on popcorn. I turn red with rage when a team I’m coaching is going through the motions in practice or playing with no energy.

As long as I can wipe my eyes with my hands like windshield wipers in the midst of a misting rain, I’ll be okay. If I get to the point where I’m like a sixth-grader who has been summoned to the principal’s office for what he believes is some form of execution or to be hauled down to the school dungeon, then I hope someone steps in and shakes me back to somberness.

If given a choice between someone who looks like he’s been sucking on lemons or resembling a fountain, I’ll gladly take the latter.

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