Sunday, April 29, 2007

Up The Beanstalk: Summer Internship meets The Enter Key

I really, really wish it wasn't so hard to get an internship for the summer. Last summer I tried to get one and it didn't work out so I ended up running a backyard daycamp for three-year-olds with a good friend. Admittedly, it was one of the best summers I'd had in a while, but I really don't want to do that again. I REALLY want an internship in either a publishing house or a literary agency or anything along those lines, but nooooo. So now I don't know what to do. It's getting late and there are fewer and fewer places to apply to that I haven't applied to already. I'm just getting so discouraged. I mean, really I'd love to spend my whole summer writing, since I scarcely get the energy and will-power to write decently during school, but I also do need to do something a bit more productive, like something that will either earn me money or experience, or both, if I'm lucky. But so far I haven't been lucky at all. In fact, I'm so unlucky that my blog has stopped responding to the enter key on the keyboard so now you all have to read one long paragraph. Ah well. So on a different note, I have recently become obsessed with naming creative things, 'Up The Beanstalk.' I just thought I'd mention that, since I'm in a bit of a rambly mood. I thought of the name while thinking of a name for a literary journal, and now I'm all like, "oooh, shiny, pretty name. Must name everything 'Up The Beanstalk.' I even wrote a poem inspired by it about fairy tales. Perhaps I'll post it eventually, when I'm back at school and on my laptop and the enter key works again.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Case for the Eldest Sibling

We recently discussed in my Myth and Folklore class how it is a common motif in fairy tales that the youngest is always the one who cleverly bests the giant or defeats the ogre, seeing as in reality, the youngest child would be the least valued, while the eldest would get the inheritance. And seeing as society loves the underdog, it is the youngest who gets all the fun adventures and is credited with bravery, cunning, and wits.

I, however, would like to plead the case on behalf of the eldest child. Being an eldest daughter myself, I am constantly offended by the picture of the eldest in fairy tales, and would like to take a stand against it. I should like to think that I certainly am clever enough to defeat any manner of villain, be he an ogre or giant, or be she a witch or sorceress or what-have-you. In fact, I know I am clever enough because, as a young child, I used to figure out plans in my head for what I would do should I ever be in such a situation.

It has come to my attention, as well, that the world for so long has been praising the so-called-underdog, the youngest, that the roles have, in fact, been switched! It is now cliche and quite expected that the youngest sibling will come up with the plans to save the day. The eldest sibling is repressed and made to look the fool, having to trail around following the youngest all the time, or blundering about being dark and evil and proud, OR, in certain select cases (usually when she has no other siblings), being a helpless damsel in distress, which certainly will not do, either.

[This paragraph added on 4/26, 11:52 am] Because think about it. If our town was suddenly attacked by a terrible ogre and an eldest child went up against it, everyone would be shaking their heads and saying, "That's it. We're doomed. That's an eldest, she doesn't stand a chance! Now, if we had a youngest, that would be something. But eldests don't best ogres!"

No, I have come to put an end to all this. It is time for all eldest children to go on adventures and save the day.

Here is an unfinished poem I wrote during my Rambam class one day on the subject as part of the campaign:

[Untitled]

As per tradition nowadays,
The 'underdog' is cheered by all.
The 'privileged' one,
The whole world says,
As per tradition needs to fall.

But what if that same 'underdog'
Was really the one at the top,
And as for the poor 'privileged' one,
Being thought so's not a fair cop.

In Fairy Tales it is always,
The younger sister gets the praise.
She's beautiful and virtuous,
With golden hair like sunbeam rays.

The older sister's pushed aside,
By those biased against first-borns,
Perceived a prig and full of pride,
Wearing an ugly look of scorn.

But take a moment, if you will,
to reconsider this cruel view.
This claim of her dark wickedness
is unjust, wrong, and plain untrue.

To younger sister flies attention,
Beauty, fame, and suitors plenty,
While older girl is left to struggle
Just because she first turned twenty.

Yes, like I said, the poem is unfinished. But there it is all the same. My point is made, I hope.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ISRAEL


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU,
HAPPY BIIIIIRTHDAY TO ISRAAAEEEEL,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!!

HAYOM YOM HULEDET
HAYOM YOM HULEDET
HAYOM YOM HULEDET L'ISRAEL!

Does anyone remember those blue and white cupcakes with little Israeli flag toothpicks in them from when we were younger? I WANT ONE NOW!!!!
They looked like this:

Monday, April 23, 2007

We Will Always Be Family

In conjunction with my previous post, I would like to discuss one of probably the many significances of Yom Hazikaron. Today is the day we commemorate and remember the soldiers who gave their lives for the State of Israel, but we must also remember to think about and appreciate those who were willing to give their lives, even if, baruch Hashem, they were not required to actually give them up. It is important to keep in mind that 'giving their lives' does not only mean being killed. It could mean losing an arm, a leg, becoming emotionally unstable, losing a best friend. Anything that effects them in such a way that they will not be able to live their lives the way they had previously planned. This is the meaning of true sacrifice.

When I was in Israel for the year, we spoke about the fact that in a mere twenty-four hours, Israel goes from being in a state of utter mourning to being in a state of utter celebration. This is what has defined the Jewish people through our history. We are constantly going from highs to lows and then back up to highs. From Golden Age, to persecution and expulsion, to Golden Age. It is our quality that we are able to seize the day, to grab the moment. Carpe Diem. When tragedy strikes, we mourn. When, moments later, we are victorious, we celebrate.

We see this dualism in the Pesach seder, not so far behind us yet. We eat matzah, poor man's bread, as a symbol of our freedom! We dip our vegetables in salt water, symbolizing tears, and yet dipping food is a sign of wealth! Of kingship! Throughout the entire seder, we are constantly struggling between commemorating and remembering our enslavement and celebrating our freedom and victory. So, too, are the forty-eight hours of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut.

But I think Yom Hazikaron commemorates more than the lives of soldiers. It commemorates the lives of Jewish soldiers. Every single one of the soldiers who fought for our country was a Jew. He could have been secular, religious, modern, yeshivish, right-wing politically, left-wing politically, a kibbutznik, a city dweller, from the shtachim, anything. And yet we are all brought together in this common goal: keeping Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael alive. We are one Am, one nation, one people. We have one land. On Yom Hazikaron, it doesn't matter what sort of Jew you are, what your religious practices are, where your political standings are. We all mourn together as one family with one, shared history. The chayalim in the Israeli army defend us all, no matter who we are as individuals or what our opinions are. And we support them all, no matter who they are or what their opinions are. Because they are Jews, we are Jews. We may fight, we may argue, we may disagree, but so do all brothers and sisters.

We are family.

We are one.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

We Are Family

I generally know, or at least recognize, basically every Jew in my community. It happens very rarely that I'll pass by a family who I don't at least know of or who doesn't even look familiar. Today, however, as I was walking to a friend's house, I passed by three older adults who I completely did not recognize walking towards me. Still, they smiled at me and said "good Shabbos" and I, of course, responded with a friendly "good Shabbos" of my own. As they passed me and I walked on ahead, it got me thinking. How many people in the secular world say "hello" or "good morning" to the people they pass on the street? How many people acknowledge that we are, all of us, part of the same human race and that we ought to treat each other as such? Now, I know I'm talking about something that would occur in a utopia, but not in the real world. I mean, we're taught as young children not to talk to strangers. Still, though. When the adults I did not know and I exchanged a good-natured "good shabbos," it really made me appreciate being Jewish. It was a clear indication of how we're all one family. No matter where you are in the world, no matter what language you speak or what your political opinions are, or even religious opinions, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew and one Jew will (or ought to) wish another Jew a good shabbos.

When my grandfather was here from Israel for Pesach, he told me a story of one time when he was in...I don't even remember what country it was, but somewhere where there were not necessarily a ton of Jews, and he was walking in the street and an old, poor man sitting on the side of the road saw them and asked excitedly, "lanzmen???" (I actually don't know how to spell it, but that's how it sounds) which basically means, "are you like me? are you Jewish?" (If anyone knows the actual translation, I might be just a bit off, but that's the general gist). He was so happy to see another Jew.

I'm an idealist. I am. But I truly believe that, at the end of the day, whether you're right-winged, a leftist, whether you're modern or yeshivish or...or anything, if you're Jewish, you're my brother, my sister, my family.

I just wish all Jews would see it like that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Prophesy and Favorite Books

Today in my Rambam class, we were discussing Rambam's view on prophesy. In the Moreh, Rambam discusses three ideas about prophecy. The first idea, held by the pagans, is that G-d chooses whomever He wants to be a prophet. The second idea, held by various philosophers, is that prophecy is attained through the natural progression of becoming a philosopher and perfecting rationality and imagination. The third idea, which is Rambam's view, agrees with this second idea, but he modifies it. Rambam says that while someone who is a great philosopher may be eligible for nevu'ah, G-d sometimes performs a miracle and does not allow him to receive any.

I just cannot understand why the Rambam would make such a statement. To believe this way, that anyone can become a prophet by being philosophical enough, negates any influence G-d has on the whole thing, aside from the fact that G-d can prevent someone from receiving prophecy. But what about someone who is not a philosopher? And we discussed how the fact that it is something natural means that G-d does not directly speak to anyone, not even prophets. So what about all the conversations in the Torah between Avraham and G-d, Moshe and G-d, basically anyone else and G-d. Are they all just having inner conflicts out loud with themselves? And how about the fact that Nevi'im know certain things that will happen? Take Yonah, for example. Am I meant to believe that Yonah made up the whole thing with Ninveh and decided, on his own, that they needed to do Teshuva? But then ran away from himself? It just doesn't make sense.

A lot of what Rambam says I find rather perplexing. The Guide for the Perplexed has only made me more perplexed, not less. A lot of what he says is contradictory, or we just don't know what he actually means and what he's just saying 'for the masses.' And does he truly not believe anything he says 'for the masses?' Why would he say things he does not believe? Even if normal people cannot understand certain concepts, it does not help the situation to then lead them in a wrong direction, just because they can understand it better!

It's weird. The more I learn Rambam, the less I'm growing to like him.

On a totally separate topic, I was talking to CuriousJew today about fantasy books so I would just like to list some of my favorites here. I made this list mainly because I was bored in class, but if anyone is interested in reading young adult fantasy and/or science fiction, these books are definitely must-reads. At least, in my opinion. There are for sure books I left out, too, but these are the first that came to my mind. Harry Potter isn't on here because I'm assuming anyone who wants to read the books has done so already. If anyone wants to recommend books of their own, feel free!

Good Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi Books I've Read:

Diana Wynne Jones:
1. Witch Week - it's about a world similar to ours and yet different, during modern times where witches are alive and well and in hiding from the inquisitors.
2. The Lives of Christopher Chant - a boy with more lives than he knows what to do with, but he'll need that many to save the world as he knows it
3. Conrad's Fate
4. The Pinhoe Egg
5. Fire and Hemlock - a modern day retelling of Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer (True Thomas), as well as the story of Polly Wittaker's growing up
6. Dark Lord of Derkholm
7. Howl's Moving Castle
8. The Tough Guide to Fantasyland - a creative, witty encyclopedia about all the cliches of the fantasy genre, and more.

Orson Scott Card:
1. Ender's Game
2. Ender's Shadow

Greg Bear:
1. Songs of Earth and Power

Patricia C. Wrede:
1. Dealing with Dragons
2. Searching for Dragons
3. Counting on Dragons
4. Talking to Dragons
5. The Enchanted Chocolate Pot or Sorcery and Cecelia

Philip Pullman:
1. The Golden Compass
2. The Subtle Knife
3. The Amber Spyglass

T.H. White:
1. The Sword in the Stone*
2. The Once and Future King
*The Sword in the Stone is, in fact, a story in The Once and Future King, but I listed it separately because the version in TOFK is not exactly the same as The Sword in the Stone on its own. I happen to prefer The Sword in the Stone on its own version of the story, seeing as it has the awesomely fun battle between Merlin and Madam Mim and the TOFK version, sadly and for reasons I don't quite understand, leaves it out and has instead a longer adventure with Robin Wood, who is clearly not as cool as the battle Merlin has with Madam Mim.

Madeleine L'Engle:
1. A Wrinkle in Time
2. A Wind in the Door
3. Many Waters
4. A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Bruce Coville:
1. My Teacher is an Alien series (somewhat juvenile, but I have great, great memories of these books)

Ella Enchanted (I'm too lazy to look up the author, but it's a really good book)

Authors/Books Recommended to Me That I Have Yet to Read:

1. Neil Gaiman (specifically Neverwhere, since I own it)
2. Terry Pratchett (I own Color of Magic and I have never been able to get into it. I would like to try some of his other stuff, though)
3. Diana Wynne Jones - anything of hers I have yet to read
4. George R. R. Martin - I hear his Song of Ice and Fire series is amazing and I must get my hands on it
5. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel - I'm not sure of the author to this book either. I own it and am finding it difficult to get into, but I hear a lot of great things about it so once summer comes, I'll have another go at it.

Okay, feel free to add to this list! Booklists are good things, even if no one has time to actually read anything on them.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

To go, or not to go, zot hash'eilah

So it recently came to my attention that I might quite possibly graduate college next June. Or May. Or whenever graduation is. In any event, the point is, I have no plan for what I'm going to do after graduation. I really want to go to graduate school but then the question is, where? You see, ever since I was a little nine-year-old pisher in a Religious Zionist summer camp, I have been announcing to the world that I'm going to make Aliyah when I grow up. Well, here I am, nearly grown up and terribly, terribly afraid of the fact that, according to my plans from little-kiddom, I should technically be making Aliyah next summer.

WHAT?

Yes, my point exactly.

I love Israel. I do. It is truly my home and I don't believe the future of the Jewish people is anywhere but there. Not in Uganda. Not in New York City. No, not even in Honesdale, Pennsylvania (which, by the way, has its own website!). But the thing is, I'm not ready for such a big change in my life. Not yet. And to be honest, I don't have a good idea of when I'll be ready at all. I mean, I do want to live in Israel eventually. I don't know, maybe I'll feel more ready making Aliyah with a husband, or a future husband. And I do have tons of friends there, so it isn't as though I'd be alone if I made Aliyah now. I have a whole network of friends in Israel. So the issue isn't social. The issue is my own maturity, I guess. I'm not ready to leave my family. I have grandparents who live in Israel, but the rest of my family is here, in America. My family has already gone on various vacations without me (incidentally, I had been in Israel each time for various reasons) which makes me feel left out from key family experiences and I'm not ready yet to separate from them for real. It's frightening enough being the oldest and being the first to have to grow up and deal with growing up and slowly but surely not being home all that much anymore and maybe even moving out in a couple of years, I don't know, but moving to a whole other country where I don't even like or feel comfortable with the culture? I mean, Israelis are wonderful but, well, I'm just not one. And I don't think I'll ever be one, you know? I mean, I don't want to be one of those Americans who moves to Israel and lives in Beit Shemesh and never has to learn a word of Hebrew (I'm exaggerating here, bear with me). But I definitely don't want to live in an all Israeli community either. I'm American culture-wise through and through. My personality is anything but Israeli.

So what do I do? I grew up Bnei Akiva all over, Zionistic, must be in Israel every free second I have, etc. And now I'm suddenly getting cold feet. I'm just not ready. But what scares me is that so many of my friends are ready. A lot are there already and others will God willing be there very soon. And what about me? I'm just floundering around here, trying to figure out what I'm doing for the rest of my life because, heck, now my decisions actually matter. It isn't simply a matter of, oh, if I go to this high school it's a twenty minute drive in this direction and if I go to that high school it's twenty minutes the other way, or if I go to this college I get a car and if I go to this one I don't have to live at home every day. Now it's, if I want to live in Israel, it makes more sense to go to graduate school there, considering that's where I'll be getting a job, but since I'm not ready yet to take that step in my life, I'll just go to graduate school here because, oh yeah, I'm studying English so better to study that in a country that actually speaks it as its primary language. Right? Right? I mean, fancy studying English in a country that has a "Lincolin Street" because they transliterated the silent 'l' in Lincoln!

But everyone expects me to make Aliyah, is the thing. It's what I'm supposed to do. It's the road I've paved for myself. I sort of boxed myself into it without realizing what I was doing, and now if I don't, or if I don't yet, I'll just be another one of those who rants and raves about living in Israel but doesn't actually do it herself. And I don't want to be that person. I don't. It's so...hypocritical. Either live there, or don't preach to others about it. Not everyone can make Aliyah just yet. Not everyone's ready. It isn't as easy as simply hopping on a plane, even if you do actually have the money for it.

Yes, we all belong in Israel. Israel is our homeland. It should be the ideal, number one choice for where a Jew chooses to live. But that's so much easier said than done.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Duby dooby doo

Oh. My. Gosh.
So I was in my room watching Scrubs with my sister when all of a sudden I heard this awfully loud shouting coming from downstairs. I paused the DVD and listened intently for some clue as to what was going on.
And what was it?
The Devils had scored against the Islanders with .9 seconds left in the game. The Game. The defining game of the season for the Islanders. The game that stood between vacation until next season or a spot in the playoffs. I bounded down two flights of stairs to watch the replay. POINT NINE SECONDS. I mean, come on. So the score was tied, 2-2, and the Isles were headed into overtime. Of course, as my brother predicted, no one scored in overtime. By this time, the noise my brothers and dad were making had drawn the attentions of my mom and my sister, so the whole family crowded in front of the den TV to watch the shootout. Luckily, the Islanders scored twice and Dubielewicz (the goalie) saved the last two goals of the Devils, so the Islanders won and made it to the playoffs!

Huffabo et puffabo et tuum donum inflabo!

That's Latin for "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down!" I'm not sure where I found it. But anyway, I take Latin and so does my cousin so over the first days of yom tov, my uncle asked me if I now get the Latin joke in Life of Brian. I haven't seen Life of Brian in ages so I didn't really remember the Latin joke, so after yom tov I went on google and searched for it and this was what I found:

[A Centurion catches Brian writing graffiti on the palace wall.]
Centurion: What's this, then? "Romanes eunt domus"? People called Romanes, they go the house?
Brian: It says, "Romans go home."
Centurion: No, it doesn't! What's the latin for "Roman"? Come on, come on !
Brian: Er, "Romanus"!
Centurion: Goes like?
Brian: Annus.
Centurion: Vocative plural of "Annus" is?
Brian: Er, "Anni"!
Centurion: "Romani"... [writes "Romani" over Brian's graffiti] "Eunt"? What is "eunt"?
Brian: "Go".
Centurion: Conjugate the verb, "to go"!
Brian: Er, "Ire." Er, "eo," "is," "it," "imus," "itis," "eunt."
Centurion: So, "eunt" is... ?
Brian Third person plural present indicative, "they go".
Centurion: But, "Romans go home" is an order. So you must use... ? [twists Brian's ear]
Brian: Aaagh! Imperative!
Centurion: Which is...?
Brian: Aaaaagh! Er, er... "i", "i"!
Centurion: How many Romans?
Brian: Aaaaagh! Plural, plural... er, "ite"!
Centurion: "Ite"... [writes "ite" on wall] "Domus"? Nominative? "Go home" is motion toward, isn't it?
Brian: Dative! [Centurion pulls out gladius and holds it against Brian's throat] Aaagh! Not the dative, not the dative! Er, er... accusative, accusative, "ad domum", sir, "ad domum"!
Centurion: Except "Domus" takes the...?
Brian: The locative, sir!
Centurion: Which is...?
Brian: "Domum"!
Centurion: "Domum"... [writes "Domum" on wall] Um. Understand? Now, write it out a hundred times.
Brian: Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Hail Caesar, sir.
Centurion: Hail Caesar!
Awesomely funny, though I learned that Locative would actually be "Domi," not "Domum."

While I was already on the Life of Brian quotes page, I skimmed it for the other funny quotes and found a few which reminded me just why I thought the Stern play was a combination of Cinderella and Life of Brian. And they are:

Brian: I am NOT the Messiah!
Arthur: I say you are Lord, and I should know. I've followed a few.

Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand?! Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
Brian: What?! Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!

Brian: Please, please, please listen! I've got one or two things to say.
The Crowd: Tell us! Tell us both of them!
Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, You don't NEED to follow ANYBODY! You've got to think for yourselves! You're ALL individuals!
The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
Brian: You're all different!
The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!
Man in crowd: I'm not!
The Crowd: Sch!

It's a very funny movie, but not so kosher. Then again, Monty Python is hardly ever kosher.

In other news, Pesach has been really great so far. I made matzah balls for the first time and they came out awesome. Of course, while I was making them, it took me a while to figure out that if I stand directly over the pot and gently drop the matzah balls in, I won't get splashed with boiling water. Until I figured that out, I was tossing them in like basketballs from across the kitchen so I'd be out of range of the burning splash. It was quite fun. Matzah basketballs!

And now it's back to making note cards for my Latin midterm that I have to take before vacation is over. The good news is, I've finally been able to catch myself up to basically where I'm supposed to be in that class. I think no matter what, there should be a catch up week in the middle of every semester. Sure, plenty of people will waste it, but for those who seriously need it, it will alleviate so much stress and tension. And even for those who waste it, they need a break anyway. It will just be healthy for everyone overall. Sort of like a recharge period.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz...

At last, a Pesach post!

So today my sister and I spent a long time working on the seder table. We're having my cousins over for the first days (so that's two families - four adults and seven kids all together), two sets of grandparents, and then us (my family is six all together) so that makes twenty-one people on the first night, and a possible twenty-second on the second (another cousin might be coming from the other side of the family). That's a lot of people to seat around the table. We have four tables pushed together so everyone can fit, so my sister and I had to make place cards for everyone. Otherwise it's too crazy to have everyone try to find seats.

We usually make place cards but this year we wanted to do something cute with them. So for the first night, inside each place card is another phrase from "Adir Hu," so when we get up to it, each person can shout out his/her phrase (yes, we're a really corny family :) it's awesome). For the second night, inside each place card is either a line answering the question "__ mi yodeah?" from "Echad, mi yodeah" or a personality from Chad Gadya. It was a lot of fun making them and drawing little pictures on each one, but it got a bit tedious. Then we had to figure out where everyone was sitting because my mom told me to put families together, but there are certain cousins who want to sit together, too, so it got a bit complicated. But finally, it was all worked out.

We also have felt masks for the Chad Gadya personalities and for the makot. They're really funny. And we have these little dolls for each of the makot, too, scattered around the table, and these little plastic frogs with flipper things on them that you hold down and then let go and they flip. Hopefully they'll keep everyone entertained throughout the seder, especially maggid which can get long for some of the younger cousins.

Right now I'm so hungry because there's hardly anything to eat today. It's frustrating not being able to eat chametz but also not being able to each matzah or anything else we'll be eating at the seder, either. Every year on this day, my mom (or one of my aunts, whoever's hosting the seder that year - we switch off houses annually) makes a stew which we eat all afternoon since there's basically nothing else. That, and we usually have pesach chocolate chip cookies which I seem to remember tasting better than they actually do. I guess everything's relative. They do taste better than a lot of other kosher l'pesach food. We completely stopped buying those cereals (fruity o's, honey stars, etc.). They taste worse than eating cardboard. Really vile. And macaroons are even worse. Ew. But that's mostly because I really don't like coconut. My dad likes macaroons, I think. But he likes a lot of interesting foods (like all these weird, random juices with green algae and spinach and other green, healthy things that definitely were not meant to be in beverages).

Anyway, I wish you all a chag kasher v'sameach!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The End of an Era

My brother asked me to write a post about his championship hockey game, so here goes. First of all, here's Mochassid's take on it.

My brother has been playing hockey for a while now, first starting a team in his elementary school when in eight grade, and then moving on to join the hockey team in his high school in ninth. He won two championships while on the team, getting MVP in tenth grade, and has served as team captain both in tenth grade and this year (twelfth), as well as this year being assistant coach to the J.V. team. Sadly, I have not been able to attend most of his games due to either being in school or having way, way too much schoolwork to do, and the one other game I did attend, being at Haftr where there is absolutely nowhere to watch the game, I couldn't see a thing and my sister and I ended up going out for ice cream in the middle. I always did regret being somewhat out of the hockey loop, though, especially since the rest of my family (besides perhaps my sister) was so into it. I happen to love hockey, as well, and always wished there was some way I could play. In high school I helped start hockey intramural teams but it didn't really go anywhere.

In any case, back to my brother. Even though I hardly went to any games, I could tell that being part of the hockey team was good for him. He got a chance to be part of a great group of boys who became household names in our house and, though he is somewhat reserved and mild-tempered, he makes a great leader and was able to develop those skills by being team captain both in J.V. and Varsity. I hear the J.V. kids this year liked him a lot as their assistant coach, too. All in all, it was a good experience for him, which was obvious even to me, who didn't see him much in action.

I also always appreciated how he was so well-behaved during a game. I hardly ever heard stories of him getting penalties or getting into fights with any other boys on the other teams. At the championship game last week, he got two penalties which he said were more penalties than he had gotten all season. That says something about his character.

Although his team lost in this year's championship, they lost with dignity. They played a great game, especially my brother who got the only goal (with a beautiful assist from MG. It was really an amazing play - clean, neat, both boys knew what they were doing, it wasn't one of those dinky goals that can sometimes happen). Besides for my brother's two penalties (which I think happened because he really, really, really wanted to win this, his last championship game in high school ever), the team (both teams, actually) played a very clean game, which was indicative of the decency of all the boys, and great coaching for them by L. And even though they lost, it was a very exciting game. I had to stand on a chair the entire time so I could actually see what was going on (since I'm kind of short and next to me there was a huge mob of boys wearing green paint on their faces and spraying green silly-string everywhere which smelled awful and kept getting in my hair).

I think that sometimes it is good to lose. It's always nice to win, but losing can sometimes put things into perspective. Hockey is fun and being part of a team is a great thing, but it is not the be all and end all. There is life after hockey. My brother had a great career on his high school hockey team, but now he is getting ready to move on to bigger things. I wish him much luck with that and with anything else he comes across in the future.