I threw the frisbee twice. The first time I hit a kid. The second time …well, let’s just say that disc of plastic is still on the roof the the Physics lab.
It was lunchtime on a beautiful Friday at San Dieguito High School Academy, and in the terrifically busy month of March our teachers had organized another day of this year’s Dorkathalon.
When people ask me about what makes San Dieguito so special, it’s things like this that come to mind. Sure the school is filled with outstanding teachers, curious students, and caring staff, but it’s also place where being silly is just part of what we do.
I see this healthy nonsense in all kinds of events: Staff vs Students softball at lunch, The Makeup Free and Manly Month of March, and throughout the creative competitions of our Homeroom Olympics. Murals fill construction fences at San Dieguito faster than the buildings inside those fences spring up. Seeing students in capes or Pikachu costumes, that’s a Tuesday at SDA. Seeing a teacher dressed like Lawrence of Arabia or leading her kids in a round of caroling, that happens more often than you’d expect.
Ours is a school that understands that happy communities are healthy communities, and that when people can laugh together they can learn together. Both are vital to the health of a school.
And so, Dorkathalon.
No one is trying to be cool in the Dorkathalon. No one is suave or sophisticated. This isn’t a formal affair like a staff meeting; it “smells of brown soap and beer” as she says in The Manchurian Candidate, a down to earth opportunity to simply get together and have fun.
Dorkathalon events have included Bocce Ball, Cornhole, Boggle, and today’s Frisbee Golf. Teams of staff members (teachers, secretaries, and even admin like me) gather across campus to compete in events more filled with laughter than skill or points. At its best, our Dorkathalon is a chance for the adults on campus to spend time together, usually outside, playing.
It’s in these moments we share outside of offices or classrooms that we can really connect, and a connected staff is a staff that looks out for one another, cares, and can make a difference. Our staff does all three, and smiles a lot while we’re doing it.
It would be foolish to suggest that tough times don’t ever visit schools, but I’d argue that these silly times, these flights of fancy, these opportunities to be dorky together prepare us better than almost anything else to confront the serious stuff with the balance we need to survive and thrive.
We might find almost anything lurking just around the corner, but together we’ll be ready for it. …and I’ll probably hit it with a frisbee.