#SOLSC22: 14


“the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

— Oxford Languages



Return kindness!


Specific appreciation.

“joie de vivre”

March 13, 2022 was an auspicious day. The Iowa Men’s basketball team won the Big 10 Tournament. As did the Iowa Women”s team last Sunday. Two Big 10 tourneys in a week. TWO big wins in a week. And the “Big Dance” yet to come.

The men did not have an easy path. The crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of the instate team. Probably 10 to 1. Even the announcers were for the instate team. Playing in Indiana, the crowd was definitely not for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Previous match ups had the Hawkeyes losing TWICE to the Purdue Boilermakers during the regular season. 77-70 and 83-73.

But the team, the cheerleaders and dedicated fans and families persevered in their unwavering support. They had patience. They also had their belief in the top scorer ever in Big Ten history. This team picked to finish NINTH in preseason listings. NINTH. This team that had the audacity to be playing in the final championship game.

Basketball is not my sport. Growing up, we had ZERO girls sports so band was my “thing” and I really appreciated the fact that the band allowed the football team to use our marching venue for their weekly hand to hand combat, but I digress.

The game goes to the players, the coaches, the fans, the families, the pep band and the cheer squad. They were patient. They were skilled. And they had one singular goal on Sunday. Winning the Big 10 Championship!

Who are our cheer coaches in real life?

One name easily comes to mind, Johnny Downey. He is a cheer coach for the Cincinnati Bears. Previously a literacy “cheer coach” in a school building. I think we need more coaches in our school buildings. Cheer coaches to encourage, to celebrate, to convince, to push, to partner as we work towards our student-centered goal … learning.

Thank you, Johnny, for always having a goal in mind for your students and your cheering squad.

Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash

Your cheer coaches may not have that title. But watch and listen for them. When are they most vocal? Most unwavering? Most supportive?

How and when do you “cheer” your students on? What’s the frequency? How do they know that they matter EVERY day?

Trivia question: How many schools are in the Big 10 conference? Where did the league expansion leave them? (hint: definitely NOT just 10)


Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this daily forum during the month of March.

Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

4 responses

  1. Coaches, fans, determination all lead to a winning season despite early rankings. Never underestimate an iunderdog.

  2. There are a couple of people right down the hall from me who could answer your trivia questions just like that! You’ll be happy to know that I have my brackets filled out and I am ready for the dance. I even picked Iowa for a first round, though I can’t remember the second round and those brackets are downstairs. Love the connections to schools and cheer coaches, Fran. Yes, they are so important in keeping that efficacy going for EVERYONE.

    1. 14 teams
      Thanks for picking Iowa.
      The women are excited to be on their home court!
      Guys … NY

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