Wednesday, August 6, 2014

10 Things About Football and Me

1.  I grew up in a family of 49ers fans.  I've never cared about football on television.

2.  When I was ten I liked the looks of flag football.  My brother played on a city team and I loved the flags flapping and the heroic running across the grass.  I asked my parents if I could be on a team too.  On the first day of practice I kicked the coach’s hand instead of the ball by mistake. He cursed at me and that was the first and last day of my football career.

3. When I was ten I liked the looks of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders that I saw on a poster. I thought they were the epitome of womanhood and if that was what puberty had in store for me, I was really looking forward to it.

4.  That wasn’t what puberty had in store for me.

5.  I attended Carondelet High School, the across-the-street sister school of football powerhouse De La Salle High School. I went to a few football games because my friends were going but I watched exactly zero seconds of any play.

6.  After teaching at all-girls high schools for eight years I started watching Friday Night Lights on television. Perhaps I chose to take a job at Sac Charter High mostly because of the show Friday Night Lights. Perhaps.

7.  One of the deans and assistant football coaches at my school was a former college and NFL player. He told me that playing for the NFL was a dream come true. He had a rough childhood in the same hometown as me, and sometimes brought groups of kids to see where he grew up to show them what was possible through hard work and commitment.  

8. I have known students who play football with the power and grace of Achilles on the fields of war. They are the reason I wrote How to Be Manly.

9.  I have known coaches who drive students to school who otherwise don't have rides. Who  show up at a classroom within five minutes of a call that a student athlete is having a bad day and turn that student’s outlook around with a single conversation. Who  bring food for students who don't have enough at home. Who sit for hours counseling a student who is having a hard time. You think Coach Taylor of Friday Night Lights is great? Well he is, but real life asks so much more and the coaches I’ve known are heroes. They are the reason I wrote How to Be Manly.

10. When the school where I used to teach went against the school where I currently teach in a playoff game, I escaped by driving out to the middle of Death Valley and camping there for four days. It was a confusing time. 
When this happened, I went to the desert.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Manly Music

All of my novels have playlists that I listen to while I write them. The characters choose the songs so if you don't like them do not blame me.

Here is the playlist for my YA novel How to Be Manly which will be released by Giant Squid Books next month.

Lose Yourself by Eminem  

Matty plays this on his way to summer morning football practice. It keeps him from going back to bed.

Dear Mama by Tupac Shakur

Matty and Grandma. Ride or die.

Gunpowder by Wyclef Jean 

Don't you know that we can't stop the violence. The song makes me cry every damn time.

Dem Boyz by Wiz Khalifa.

Matty tries this persona for about twenty-four hours.  It's about all he can take.

Revolution by Kirk Franklin

Grandma likes this song.  This is the only singer they can agree on in the car.

Can You Stand the Rain by New Edition

A little old school for when Matty is feeling sorry for himself over Cassie.

Who's That Lady by The Isley Brothers

Woah. Jessica is a girl.