With most classes, the end of the quarter means that it’s time to do a memory wipe of everything you’ve learned in the last 10 weeks. But as I’ve said all quarter long, ESS classes are not like most. I not only learned how to play a couple of new sports, but each class taught me something beyond the sport. I give you Mark’s ESS life lessons of Winter 2011:


Tennis: Sometimes all you need is to switch things up a little bit.

Charlotte’s tennis class was my favorite of the three classes because even if my tennis game wasn’t quite up to par that day, the activities we were put into always held my interest.

Yesterday I decided to practice my serve, hitting literally every ball onto a different court. But after 10 minutes of wanting to smash my racket John McEnroe-style, I moved into volleys and got the confidence back up.

In life, when one thing isn’t working, it can be helpful to look at it a different way. By the end of the quarter, I will have had about 20 lessons. I played tennis every day, but never in the same way, and I think I’m a better tennis player because of it.


Soccer: Forgiveness is important, even if someone seems to be proving otherwise.

This class always frustrated me, simply because I don’t have the soccer skills to be really good, and sucking sucks.

That being said, soccer can be a fun sport to play for the reason that it has aspects of gameplay that are far different from any other sport I’ve played. In basketball, for example, if you blow a layup on play, there’s a 99 percent chance you’re not getting the ball the next time around. Maybe it’s an American thing.

In fútbol, your teammates are much more generous. I blow at least two or three breakaways per game. I would move to defense, but then the other team would just rack up goals, so instead I stay where I make the least overall impact on the game. Despite my shortcomings, I keep getting the feed to try again. It’s as if the entire team is working together for the best opportunity, no matter the player.

Whenever you’re playing some kind of team sport, and probably sometimes in life, too, forgiveness can make a big difference.


Volleyball: Putting in real effort when nobody is looking almost always translates into success when people are actually looking.

Kathy Gregory exudes success. She has the swagger of a winner. That’s what I’ve learned from a year of following her women’s volleyball team fairly closely with the paper, highlighted by having her teach my class.

Learning how to spike, serve, set and bump requires a certain technique. Learning the technique requires a lot of repetition.

We do a lot of drills, and they weren’t always fun, especially in the beginning. As we move into more games and competition, not thinking about how to hit the ball makes the game way more fun.

When you start a project, doing the bullshit stuff to get the train rollin’ is tedious and time-consuming. Three weeks later, when it’s time to put up or shut up, you’ll be glad you did the work before. We too can be Legends of our own Domes.


Am I a new person after these 10 weeks of ESS classes? Let me answer that by saying I write this article currently in the midst of a munchies coma due to free IHOP pancakes day (and a burger and fries), so … no. But I do have a new repertoire of activities to break out when I want to get some exercise. There isn’t yet a rigorous workout schedule worked into my life, but it’s something. Who knows, maybe I’m just doing the bullshit stuff and it’ll pay off later. Let’s hope so.