May 15, 2010

A diploma and a disc

It seems just the other day that Boy in Black was giving his high school valedictory speech. But if you remember him giving that speech, that means you’ve been reading this blog for four years. He graduated from college today, with degrees in physics and math.

Boy in Black hasn’t really changed much. The outfit he wore to the Scholars Reception this afternoon was a black shirt, a black tie, and black pants, the same clothes he wore to awards ceremonies all through high school. He’s still got uncombed dark hair that hangs into his face; he’s still tall and skinny and gentle, with an easy-going manner. The math department gives an award to the best student in the department, and so does the physics department. He won both awards. And he’s already begun work towards a PhD in Physics at Snowstorm University. He’s as academically gifted as he ever was.

The biggest change, his biggest gain from college, was not in the classroom, but on the Ultimate Frisbee field. When he entered college, he was just learning the sport, just learning all the throws and rules of the game. He didn’t even own a pair of cleats. Now he’s obsessed.

Ultimate taught him all kinds of skills. He learned how to coach, how to teach, how to be a leader. During an injury that took months to diagnose, he learned how to be assertive with doctors and how to trust his instincts about his body. As one of the captains of the team, he learned how to deal with paperwork, get practice fields, set up tournaments, order jerseys, and collect money from teammates. He learned how to sleep on the floor of a small hotel room, wedged between other sleeping bodies. He learned how to handle frustration, disappointment, and elation.

Boy in Black will continue to play Ultimate as a grad student. Each player gets five years of eligibility so he’s got another year. His plans for this summer include research in computational physics with his major professor, but more importantly, “learning nasty Ultimate skills.” I wonder if Snowstorm University, when they gave him a scholarship four years ago, realized that his most valued lessons would take place in a grassy field with a bunch of other students and a ten-dollar disc.

28 comments:

Songbird said...

Congratulations!!!

Sandy said...

Congrats to Boy in Black!

Rana said...

Congrats! On both accomplishments!

susan said...

What a happy post--I do remember that HS valedictory speech post, and it's been wonderful to read your stories of Boy in Black's continued amazingness. Congratulations!

Krista said...

Congratulations to both of you! I also remember his speech, and a bit before that. Time does in fact fly.

comebacknikki said...

Oh, wow. I do remember his HS speech -- I can't believe it has been that long! Congrats to Boy in Black! :)

elswhere said...

I do remember that speech--just clicked over and read it again, and teared up again. What a smart and principled kid he was, and what a smart and focused and aware adult he is turning out to be.

RageyOne said...

I've been around to remember that speech! Time sure does fly!

Congrats to him!

halloweenlover said...

HOLY SMOKES! What year is it? How is this possible? I've known you for THAT long? Crazy!

Congratulations to him and congrats to you. I cannot imagine the pride you must feel. What a brilliant boy!

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law said...

He learned how to sleep on the floor of a small hotel room, wedged between other sleeping bodies.

Wait a minute - hasn't he been practicing sleeping on the floor "wedged between other sleeping bodies" for years? The only thing that's different is the venue.

Brigindo said...

Congratulations to you both. He sounds like quite the gem.

jo(e) said...

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law: That's true. He had lots of practice in tents or on the living room floor. His childhood was good training for sleeping at Ultimate tournaments.

Kyla said...

Wow! Congrats to him! Excellence in both math and physics is incredibly impressive to me...I'm dreading taking physics and cal next year!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo(e)
I've been reading your blog for about a year (following a Catherine Newman link) and have enjoyed it so much! I've never commented before but after reading this post about your son and following the link to his high school speech, I had to chime in. I am raising three young boys and just hope so much I will be able to be as brave and trusing in their decisions as your were in that situation. I believe sooo strongly in letting them be themselves but still sometimes it's so much harder than it seems. Your story has really touched me and I will carry it with me as inspriation in raising my little men!
Good Job!
Karen

landismom said...

Congrats, jo(e)!

kathy a. said...

congratulations to B in B!

heidi said...

I can't believe he's that old already! Congrats to Boy in Black!

jodi said...

Congratulations to Boy in Black. S1 will be going for his PhD in Astronomy at Univ of Hawaii.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

A son to be proud of, indeed!

Kevin said...

Congratulations to everyone! Wow,it does seem like only a couple of years ago that he graduates from high school...

Liesl from menageriehouse.com -
(I'm using my husband's computer)

Miranda said...

I also remember his valedictory speech, was it really four years ago already? Congrats to Boy in Black.

Amber S said...

Yep, I remember that speech, too. Yours is one of the first blogs I discovered and it's the one I've stuck with the longest. Always a pleasure reading your posts and seeing your pictures.

Congrats to Boy in Black!

Anonymous said...

Wow--
How can 4 years have gone by already?!? I remember when he graduated high school! Congrats to you and him and your family in general on all the exciting things going on for you!
:) Neighbor Lady

BeachMama said...

I do remember that speech, which means that time is really flying by. Four years eh?

How wonderful that Boy in Black was able to learn both in school and on the field, both will help him in years to come.

skatey katie said...

wow, yeah, four years.
time flies huh.
so proud of your boy.
way to go - in every field X

Rev Dr Mom said...

Wow, congratulations to Boy in Black and his proud mama!

I think I've been reading your blog more than four years...where does the time go?!

YourFireAnt said...

Everything we need to know we learn in 3rd grade, right?

;-)

BrightenedBoy said...

I just went back and read his high school graduation speech. He should be commended for saying what he did.

If he was already that mature and insightful as a high school Senior, I can only imagine the kind of person he is now.