Report from the Front Lines:
|Harper MacDonald is a real cut up. (Photo by Rick MacDonald)
I haven’t had a concussion since sixth grade. I had three that year, one in each sport I played. In soccer I got hit in the back of the head by the ball when I wasn’t looking. In baseball, I conked heads with a friend in the dugout. Both times, I saw stars, stumbled, and slurred my speech. I was nearly recovered when I convinced my doctor that I really needed to run the final race on the Carlisle Cross Country team. I tripped going through a stone wall in Lexington and hit a tree with my head. So much for cross country being a safe sport.
I’m not sure what the proper concussion protocol is for dogs. My dog runs with scissors. Also socks, paper towel rolls, army men, tulip bulbs, umbrellas and flashlights. She runs with gusto. She runs with panache. Last weekend, she ran so fast after a friend’s dog that she didn’t see the chicken wire fence between them. My dog now has a bloody nose, and maybe a concussion. Anyway, my dog is laying low and staying away from reading, bright lights, and video games.
My own concussion experience made me realize that school is a long game. That year, I went for weeks without really being able to do homework, and somehow the Carlisle School let me pass 6th grade. This year, I was kind of overwhelmed at the beginning of the year, keeping up with soccer, figuring out how grades work, remembering to turn in my homework. My performance isn’t yet stellar, but I’m getting there. To report a minor victory, I’ve improved my math grades enough that my teacher has recommended me for honors next year. It seems likely that I will pass 9th grade.
Last month I told you about my analysis of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in English class. This past week was the last bit of assignments from that play. For my final project, I re-wrote a gang confrontation between the rival Capulet and the Montague families into a modern hip hop rap battle. (“I’m gonna Cap You -- let -- you go down hard!” vs. I mon’ TAG you…”) I’m not sure I’ve quite captured Shakespeare, but it is pretty cool to see how he described a world that’s still familiar today.
As a final thought, I note here for your general edification the fact that sleep scientists have observed that most teenagers, unlike adults, don’t get sleepy until about 11 p.m., because of the physiological timing of melatonin release. We still need eight hours of sleep each night. My bus goes by at 7:15 a.m. I would like to still be asleep at 7:15 a.m. Even now, with less than a month left in the school year, I miss my pillow.
On a somewhat related topic, I’m grateful to my mother that I’m still alive after the day last week when she warned me not to miss the bus. Also, I am eternally indebted to a friend’s mom, who drove me to school when I missed the bus. ∆