Monday, June 16, 2014

Proofs and penalties, or a random World Cup memory

I'm learning in my professional life the importance of having a good manager, but as I student I always knew the value of a good teacher.  I had a really great math teacher in high school, Mr. Spiller.  How great?  After taking his class as a Freshman, a large handful of nerds, myself included, took a summer school course with him so that after one year of Pre-Calculus with another teacher, we could spend our Junior and Senior years taking two more years of Calculus with him.  It's a testament both to our irredeemable nerdery and to his coolness as a teacher.  His walls were plastered with pop culture posters and a collection of Pez dispensers, but aside from that, he was just very good at teaching math.  It was worth six weeks of unnaturally early (for a teenager) summer mornings to be in his class as much as possible.

What on Earth does all of this have to do with the World Cup, you might ask?  Well, that summer just happened to be 2006, when Germany hosted the World Cup and the United States, like today, found itself in a group with Ghana.  Their match happened to take place at the same time as a test.  This was back in the day when, being the nonconformist that I was in the midst of football-crazed Texas, the only sports I paid any attention to were tennis and soccer.  Knowing this, Mr. Spiller, as he made the rounds up and down the aisles during the test, slipped me a piece of paper with the score of the match in-progress.

Since then, I have inexplicably become a crazed fan of a few more sports, including football, and at least vaguely proficient in discussing several others.  I've accumulated many memories over the course of those years (for example: Go Spurs Go!).  But this one still ranks as one of my favorites.  And we didn't even win.

At the time of this posting, we've just entered halftime for another US-Ghana match.  I hope we win this one...

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