by Payne Schanski
Site Director, Tennis Coordinator, Curley K-8 School, Jamaica Plain

Day 21- April 6

A New Favorite Sound

One of my new favorite sounds has become the rhythmically smooth thump of a good tennis rally against a brick wall—or at least, the way it sounds on camera. Playing it back once it’s recorded, you get that little extra pop from the ball, the hint of an echo, and it drowns out the strings a little more when the ball doesn’t hit them perfectly. For as often as I don’t hit the ball perfectly, that extra buffer from the recording software helps.

For the ‘Rally Wednesday’ video a week ago, the whole minute was just one long continuous rally on the wall. That sound is so comforting and satisfying. There are a lot more inconsistent bounces from brick than a smooth tennis backboard would give, but that just adds to the challenge, and the sound is something I should play whenever I’m having a tough time falling asleep.

Day 23- April 8

Oregon Trail and Audiobooks

It was great talking with some of my middle school players on the phone. Dairon let me know that he did dozens of rounds of the ‘Playing Card’ workout challenge at home. He also told me about an article his virtual class was reading about old school video games and asked me if I remembered one called Oregon Trail. Dinosaur that I am, Dairon probably learned far more than he ever cared to about my famous Oregon Trail exploits on a Macintosh OS 9 in the late nineties. 

Our team started holding small group ‘Virtual Book Clubs’ with the students this week. Ms. Li’s Not Your Sidekick book group enjoyed seeing each other so much that they asked for a second meeting later in the week. The If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period group got a quick cameo appearance from Ms. Roz’s dad, who also plays several key characters on the audio book that Ms. Roz recorded! Oh, and an unexpected side benefit of Zoom – you can mute people who are talking too much and disrupting the lesson (when will real classrooms come with that feature?).