Monday, February 14, 2011


This week has been full of basketball. Last weekend, Dave and I took the highschoolers down to the village of Chuathbaluk for a basketball tournament. Dave is the coach, which is a little funny considering that he's never played basketball. However, armed with the power of the internet, he's done a fine job. three of our 5 kid team had never played a real game before. Despite this they actually won a game! It was really neat to watch them play. The shy ones really came out of their shells a bit, and the hyper one did a great job staying in control of himself, and they really worked well as a team. I would have expected more than one win, but they were up against some stiff competition. Three guys were in the 6'6'' range, and a large handful of average sized kids were fast and sharp shooters. There were even a tiny set of 5th grade twins (the principal thought they were 6th grade when she said they could play) who did a pretty impressive job playing with the 6'6'' boys, scoring a couple points each. We got there in the mid afternoon and they played game after game (4 schools were there) only stopping for a brief time to convert the gym into a cafeteria for supper. The kids scarfed the food and continued with the games until 10 pm, when they were sent off to the boys and girls classrooms and to bed. It's standard practice when schools get together to have all the visiting kids sleep in the school. Everyone brings sleeping bags and a couple adults chaperone. Julia did wonderfully, going right to sleep without a peep. She was tired though, as the little Chuathbaluk kids had a great time carrying her around and playing with her. She was a pretty big fan of the basketballs too, and would crawl out after one whenever there was a chance.
In the morning, there were pancakes and then more basketball, with games packed in until lunchtime. After a fast lunch was a fast awards ceremony (we got 3rd!) and then we had to head back to the airfield to catch our flight home.

Julia is snug and warm in her sling, waiting for the plane to come

Mattie, Jonah, Amber, Dave, Miguel and Alfred

pretty scenery along the way

Size didn't matter a whole lot

They were all fast!

Coaching moments

Julia making new friends

Julia's a big fan of basketballs

Waiting for our departing plane

a nice view from sand mountain

Midweek, I got a moment to do a little bit of valentine crafts with the kids. They never fail to impress me with their creativity. I give them a model, explain how to do it, and then they go to town. Tatiana created a circle heart sculpture that I was especially impressed with.

Julia, Kiley and Wade, checking out the salmon fry

The week ended with more basketball! No traveling this time, as Sleetmute held the tournament. This wasn't a official school event, but more of a community event. After school ended on friday, folks in the neighboring villages came in by snowmachine and anyone who wanted to play for a village's team signed up. Dave was the man of the kitchen, cooking burgers, fries, frybread, and nachos and selling the usual assortment of "student store" items like candy, chips and soda. Games went on long into the evening, and started up again in the morning, only the menu changed to pancakes and corned beef hash. By noon it was back to burgers again, and Dave was kept busy flipping things until late afternoon, when things wound down. Our thermometer was in the -5 to -15 range by then, and as some folks were facing an hour's travel by snowmachine, it could be downright dangerous to wait too long to go home. Susan the principal had gotten the heat finally fixed. Earlier in the day it seemed a bit chilly in the school, and we realized that there was no hot water in the taps. Luckily there were a couple of the school's maintenence guys at the game, and eventually they got things patched up. Dave came home and collapsed on the couch. Friday had been quite a day. Angela (the elementary teacher) was gone, and the school cook didn't show, so Dave had to teach the high school AND throw together breakfast and lunch for the kids, and then roll right into basketball tournament work. Julia and I came down with a fairly wretched cold a little earlier in the week, so we were of limited help. I did work the cash box for awhile while Julia was passed around by the kids, but we mostly took it easy, napping often and long. We're on the upside of it now, and we need to be, because later this week we get to go to Anchorage! Dave gets to attend the Alaskan Schoolteacher Technology Exposition, and give a presentation on the instructional use of Imovie for secondary students. Julia and I get to go to museums and stores and lounge in the hotel pool. More to come on all that!

Julia helping Mattie take money at the Student Store

Julia, supervising pancake making

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