Saturday, January 23, 2010

Off Week(end) in Akron: Small Goal Met

Ever since Archbishop Hoban High School had come to The Farm back in October we had talked about going up to visit Akron. Well, we figured that since January/ February is a slow time down here and we had a free week, there was no better time for us to make the trip. So the three of us loaded up into the Snitch and headed AK Rowdy for the January 20-22.

We had a few adventures before we even got to Akron. Bossman Joe had recently laid down the ultimatum to get rid of one of the Farm cats. In our time together in September, we had exactly doubled the amount of cats on the Farm from 2 to 4. The two newest members of our menagerie were C.C. (the Calico Cat or Christmas Cat depending on the season) and Moses. We had hopes of borrowing against our future Farm Manager Nights Out and hiring Jeff Probst to come in to host a special Cat Survivor (none of us were Finance majors in college) complete with a dead mouse immunity idol but instead we just had Bossman decide. So on our way to Akron we stoppped by the Sierra's Haven adoption center in Portsmouth, OH to drop off...(drumroll please) C.C. Don't feel too bad for her, though. When we got to Sierra's Haven, Jamie said it was essentially Cat Disneyland. So we bid adieu to C.C. and continued our travels.

The rest of our trip was uneventful unless you count our drive through scintillating Circleville, home of the famed pumpkin watertower. Jamie and I played a prolonged game of the celebrity name game (You name a celebrity/ historical figure and the next player must name a person with the same starting letter of their first name as the previous famous person's last name i.e. Teddy Roosevelt--> Richard Nixon--> Nelson Mandela). Between my love of sports and general pop culture and Jamie's love for the 1960s and 70s, it was a recipe for tedium. Finally, after 5 ish hours we made our triumphant entrance into Akron.

So we pulled up into a high school with a beat up Gold 12 passenger van and proceeded to abandon it in the parking lot...not sketchy at all right? We got the VIP tour of Hoban from Micah and Scott. I was really surprised by how large the school was when they told me that it served only 900 students. They also had a lot of really cool new resources like an all Mac Lab for digital imaging classes etc. Apparently, earlier in the decade the school got a bit of a facelift, during which they added an homage to a familiar sight on my alma mater's campus. As a Holy Cross school, Hoban dutifully plastered Blessed Basil Moreau's visage on every space of blank wall they could. I swear his creepy stare was looking at me after every corner I turned. It was a nice, albeit slightly disturbing, reminder of college, where Smitty may or may not have pilfered a 5x7 foot Basil Moreau canvas and proudly displayed it in the dorm room.

Oh hello, Basil...It's been awhile since you've creeped me out with that steely stare of yours

Later that night they took us to see the Winter One Act Plays at the school. It was a pun filled evening complete with Zombies, Amelia Aerhardt, and a bisexual stalking tollbooth attendant.

The only thing better than normal puns...Pokemon puns

There were a few kids from the Hoban and St Martha's crew that were involved in the plays so it was good to see their hard work come to life. After the plays, we went to grab some pizza with the chaperones at Luigi's. It was a delicious end to the day. After that, I headed back to Micah's place while Cindi put up Jamie and Colleen for their stay. I made good friends with Micah's three dogs, one of whom (Cowboy Bob) kept me company that night. I feel bad for any future teenagers living in that house because it is next to IMPOSSIBLE to take more than 3 steps without making the house creak like a ship in a typhoon.

Friday began at the crack of dawn, as I was an honorary member of Dudefast (Breakfast with the Dudes) with Micah. Every Friday he and some of the other male teachers at Hoban get together and grab breakfast at a local establishment. It was nice to see such a strong community among the teachers. Conversation strayed from best breakfast foods to classroom techniques to hilarious classroom anaecdotes. It was a nice way to start off the day and I can see why they've made an effort to keep up the tradition. During the course of the meal I learned that real men get gravy on their home fries... also that real men revel in completely destroying their GI tract.

After Dudefast, I met up with Jamie and Colleen at Hoban. We spent the day speaking in the senior religion classes about the work we do at Glenmary and service in general. It was actually pretty funny being at the front of a high school classroom. We could totally see the kids as they struggled to stay awake during 1st and 2nd period, fought off the post-lunch drowsy-hangover, and then checked out for last period. There were questions and people generally interested in what we did so I was glad see that. We spent about 10 or 15 minutes in each class so we had some free time to wander the halls. During this Jamie and Colleen almost got detentions for wearing jeans while I was mistaken for some vagrant creeper. Hilarious. We got to see some of the English projects that Cindi had her class do on books of their choice. We spent lunch with kids from the Hoban and St. Martha's groups, which was good. It was a little strange/ jarring to see the kids in an environment other than The Farm. I had gotten so used to knowing the kids as they were while they were here. It reminded me how special The Farm is that it encourages all these kids to give up things that they're so used to every day. It was fun to see them in their environment. One other thing I had forgotten since High School was how freaking long the days were. We were definitely blowin' through nap time there at the end.

At the end of the long day we went back to Micah's place to indulge ourselves in some hilarious youtube clips. After some dinner at a local Mexican joint we went to the Hoban vs. Walsh boys basketball game. We actually snagged courtside seats, which was great. The gym itself (which was at Walsh) was pretty impressive. It had more of a cathedral-like feel to it and was pretty sweet looking for a high school gym. We got to see some more Hoban and St. Martha's kids that came down to The Farm before and during the game. The game itself was pretty good. It was back and forth with a lot of momentum changes throughout. The Hoban student section was incredibly loud for the whiteout. The two best things about the game were 1) One of the refs looked like a Lionel Richie who had been to the buffet one too many times and 2) The best kid on Walsh looked like a cross between Lil Bow Wow and the dude from You Got Served. If you think I didn't yell at the kid that I wanted his shoes so I could be Like Mike... you clearly don't know me. Unfortunately the game was marred somewhat by the fact that ol' Lionel Richie wanted to be the center of attention instead of the 17 year old kids that were out there playing. Making bad calls is one thing. It happens to the best of refs and I can totally understand it. Going back and forth with student fans and making no effort to hide admiration with individual players is just plain unprofessional. Unfortunate. But it was a lot of fun to go crazy for the evening.

"Why hello there...I am here to call a terrible game...and have magnificent hair while doing it"

After the game we all went over to The Lockview, a bar/ restaurant in downtown Akron... for the delicious grilled cheese of course. Micah's buddies, Nick and Andy (who run the website that I now want to spend my entire stipend on) hung out with us for the night. We had a lot of fun just swapping stories and being oddly struck by how much our waitress loved Delonte West.

The next morning we dragged ourselves over to Golden Corral to experience the most American of experiences... the Buffet Brunch. We met up with a handful of the Hoban kids and it was nice to see them before we left. After we had stuffed ourselves with endless platters of bacon and watered down coffee we bid adieu to the kids and headed back to the Hoban parking lot to pick up the Snitch. We finally pulled out of the Hoban parking lot and began our trip back to The Farm. On the way, we stoppped by Costco and dropped a cool G (you have no idea how much I've always wanted to legitimately say that) on groceries. The rest of the trip was uneventful and we eventually made it back home in one piece.

Our trip to Akron was a smashing success and it was due exclusively to our hosts. So I'd like to extend a huge, HUGE thank you to Micah, Cindi, Scott, all of the Hoban teachers/ kids, and the St. Martha's kids for hosting us this weekend and inviting us into your homes/ schools. We had a blast and hope that you all continue to come to the Farm and enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed your company.

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