It’s hard for me to explain how my brain works sometimes. The best way I can explain it is this: You know how in math class you always had to show your work, instead of just writing the final answer? Well, my brain often fast-forwards through the “show your work” part.
I go from Point A to Point L so quickly, that it’s hard for me to explain how I got there. I just know that I did and it makes sense to me.
Here’s what sparked this post:
I was just writing my third NHL team preview (which I put on hold in order to write this post) and in the introduction, I mentioned watching a sports montage. Don’t ask me why, but that triggered a thought about how I always tried to put my passions into my school assignments.
And when I was finally done going through that nostalgic foxhole, I came out the other side and realized I had circled back to…sports montages. That reminded me of one I saw at the end of the 2010 Winter Olympics, which were held in Canada.
The song that played over the images was called “Red Heart” by Hey Rosetta!. And just a few minutes ago, I finally realized what that song meant. To me, at least. The actual meaning of the song could mean different things to different people.
Are any of you lost? Because this post is making complete sense to me so far. Welcome to my brain; it’s a self-guided tour.
Anyways, one of the recurring lyrics in that song is, “Won’t you let your red heart show?”
To me, that means sharing what you’re passionate about with other people, by any means possible. It means giving the answer that you want to give, not the answer that everyone else is giving. It means playing to your strengths. It means being yourself, even when you don’t think you should.
All throughout my life, especially in school, my default setting was to apply my love of sports to everything.
I remember in Grade 6, we had to draw a picture. I forget what the guidelines were, but I took an 8×11 piece of paper and drew a hockey rink on it. I included all the lines, the bench, the nets, the penalty boxes, everything.
Note: I can’t draw. I draw sausage people. All my animals look the same; the only way to tell them apart is by their tail, or if they have udders. Every time I draw a house, it’s a big square with a rectangular door, two windows, a welcome mat, and a chimney that always has smoke coming out.
But dare I say, I’m an artist worthy of their own gallery when I draw something sports-related.
In my Grade 9 art class, we had to draw a picture using only circles and rectangles. People were freaking out. Not me. Nope. Oh no not I! I will surv…NO, I will NOT randomly sing during this blog post.
I drew a curling rink. The playing surface is a rectangle and there are a bunch of circles on it. Piece of cake. I remember getting cocky and drawing the Olympic rings on it too.
I let my red heart show.
Grade 11 Media Studies class – quite possibly my favourite class of all-time because of all the real life events I learned about. We had to write an in-class essay. I think it was about the JFK assassination.
Well, my teacher loved baseball. So at one point in my essay I had three consecutive sentences that provided harsh evidence for something (I can’t remember). At the end of the first sentence, I wrote “Strike one.” End of the second sentence, “Strike two.” End of the third sentence, “Strike three.”
Bam, a baseball reference for a teacher who loves baseball.
Sure enough, when he was marking my paper, he wrote, “You know your audience” next to that line.
Darn right I know my audience. I’ve always been good at knowing what other people are thinking in certain situations, or how they’re going to react to things. I can’t explain this superpower I have.
Grade 12 English exam – I had the same teacher I had for Grade 11 Media Studies. The exam was an essay. It was held in our classroom. When I walked in the room, I noticed he had the course code to the Grade 11 Media Studies class, written on the chalkboard.
Halfway through my essay, my brain skipped from Point A to Point L again and all of a sudden I’m pulling out stuff I learned in Media Studies the year before and putting it in my essay. Next thing you know, I’m writing the course code in parentheses after my sentence to cite my work.
I’m probably the only student in history to do that.
Again, letting my red heart show.
First year, tourism and the environment class – I had a 40-minute seminar presentation where I had to lead a group of 20 students in a discussion. One very small detail in the content I was supposed to cover was “birding.”
Birding is a hobby where people go and study birds, more or less.
So at one point, I asked the class if they had ever heard of birding or participated in it. I knew the answer would be “no”, but I also had a hunch that the question would elicit some puzzled looks on faces, lighten the room, and force them to listen to my explanation of it.
My somewhat manipulative plan worked to perfection.
In another seminar presentation for a communications class, I had to talk about the early days of radio in Canada. Again, I picked out a small detail in the content and turned it into a question.
The reading package mentioned the song, “Sign” by Five Man Electrical Band. My initial reaction was, “Hey! I know that song! I wonder if my classmates know it. I can’t ask them during my presentation, can I? Ah, sure I can! It’s my presentation! I’m gonna do it!”
The question had no purpose, besides satisfying my own curiosity.
I snuck it in there too, trying to make it seem like I went off-script and was being conversational. Meanwhile, the paper in front of me said, “Has anyone heard the song ‘Sign’ by Five Man Electrical Band?”
It went over well. A few people had heard it before. One guy even said it was “good”. Ha, I wasn’t expecting responses, just nods of heads, or raised hands. Thank you, sir, for indulging my stupidity and helping me kill 8 seconds!
I think if there’s a message from all these anecdotes, it’s that no matter where we go, or what we do, it’s important to bring our personality with us and let the things we’re passionate about shine through.
If everyone always stuck to the same script, we’d be robots.
There are so many people on social media, especially Instagram, who post photos that look like something thousands of other people post, and then they include the same cliché caption that everyone else uses.
You know how many “Take me out to the ballgame” captions I saw this summer? About eleventy two thousand. That burns me inside because, for some reason, I expect other people to be creative.
Instagram is a box. Break it, people. Break it.
I’ve written two out of thirty-one NHL team previews and I already know it’s going to be the toughest thing I’ve ever done on this blog. Because as I’m writing them, I have to fight the voice in my head that says, “The majority of my audience isn’t going to understand this, just stop.”
But if I listen to that voice, I’m not letting my red heart show. I can’t accept that.
See, and now I’ve circled back to the start. Point A to Point L.
If only my name were “Aul”, I could say something like, “In the middle of my thought process, all I see is U.” Get it? Wait, did I just create a pick-up line? I’m going to stop writing now.
Let your red heart show, kids.