Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fate, Firing Metal Clay, and Having Faith in Your Teammates

HOCKEY AND FAITH

Backstory: At the end of last season, Gabe went to southern California twice for tournaments. As I recall, they won both tournaments (I was unable to accompany him). In one of the tournaments, there were some very strange games… or outcomes, anyway. There was a game in which Gabe's team was down 0-4. Yikes! But Gabe was the only goalie on the team so there wasn't even the option of "pulling the goalie". His team came back with four unanswered goals, however, and that tie was enough to get them into the championship game.

In the championship game, they found themselves once again down 0-4. And again they came back with four unanswered goals. But since it was a championship game, they couldn't end in a tie. They did OT, I believe, and then proceeded to a shoot-out (interesting side note: the name of the tournament was something "shoot-out"). Anyway, then ended up winning.

Jump forward then to several months later when Gabe is on a different team. He and the other goalie seem to be fairly evenly matched in skill. But for some reason the coach has taken to pulling Gabe from a game when two or three goals go in on him. Toward the end of the season, Gabe was being played very little, in fact. His team made it to the play-offs and lost in the first round… with Gabe watching from the bench.

Jump forward again to Gabe's current team. A recent game of theirs went like this: Gabe was in net and within the first few minutes of the game, two quick goals were already scored on him. I thought to myself: "Well, this is it… he's having a bad day or this other team is too good for him or something, but he's gonna get pulled and the other goalie will be sent in." Much to my surprise, Gabe did not get pulled.

Gabe's team continued to battle with this other team, and although two more goals went in on Gabe before it was all said and done, his own team also managed to score four goals. Their fifth goal went in during the last minutes of play and Gabe's team was able to hold onto that lead until the final buzzer.

The thing that impressed me the most about that day was that Gabe's coach had faith in Gabe. That says so much. It was what I wanted to tell Gabe's previous coach… "Just have faith in your goalie… let him finish the game… he can pull the team back, he's done it before." But I don't get "into" coaches' business. Never have, and hopefully never will.

I'm guessing, however, that the unspoken message of players' coaches can affect how they play. Gabe's current coach had faith in him. And Gabe didn't let the coach or the team down. He stayed in the net and continued to fight the battle with composure (well, not really, but that would have been nice) and skill.

BTW, I'm not saying you should never pull a goalie. There are definitely times when it works great: the goalie's having a bad day, the goalie needs time out to get unflustered, the team needs a momentum change, etc. But consistently treating someone as though you expect them to fail... that's what I'm talking about.

And the icing on the cake? I asked Gabe if his coach went into the locker room after the game and said to the team, "Yes, we won, but not because we played great. You guys still need to …". I've seen that before, from many coaches. I'm not saying it's never warranted, but someone who always does that is kind of disrespecting his team.

Gabe said, no, the coach had come into the locker room and said something along the lines of, "Great job boys! It was really nice to see you come from behind and win the game. That says a lot about your skill and your emotional fortitude."

"They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel." -- Carl W. Buechner


BEADS

How can I entertain my beady readers if I haven't been doing anything interesting? This week is/was:
Monday: work, then hockey in Oakland
Tuesday: work, then hockey in Santa Rosa
Wednesday: work, then hockey in San Jose
Thursday: work, then hockey in San Jose
Friday: work, then hockey in San Jose
Saturday: three hockey games in San Jose
Sunday: two hockey games in San Jose


FIRING METAL CLAY

I suppose maybe I could try running the kiln tonight. Yes, I'll try that. What do I have to put in there?
-- Two large curved earring charms in bronze
-- Two differently shaped lentil beads in bronze
-- A copper tube bead (that I thought was bronze… I was at Hadar's… I was nervous)
-- A copper flat bead with a hole in the center (I figured I'd hammer it into a bead cap after baking, but Hadar said the metal wouldn't be strong enough for that and hammering after baking should be reserved for minor shape fixes, not major overhauls)
-- One already fired earring charm that had a crack, filled and ready for refiring
-- Two round flat pieces that were going to be the top and bottom of a hollow bead, but I never got around to making the part that holds them together… wonder if I could do it and get it dried in time

I also have those six silver bead caps waiting for my first silver firing (I'm always nervous about "firsts"). I got my order from Cool Tools (which included a firing dish and some Alumina Hydrate), so I'm good to go, I guess.

BTW, did I already give you the link for the Cool Tools Learning Center? There's some great info there… and videos too.

So, as I recall (but I will check before I actually do this), I used PMC3. There seems to be a variety of options for firing schedule:
-- Min: 1110F/30 min and Max: 1650F/2 hrs
-- 1290 for 10 min 1200 for 20 min 1110 for 30 min
-- 1650 for 2 hrs 1290 for 10 min 1200 for 20 min 1110 for 30 min
-- 1290 for 10 min 1200 for 20 min 1110 for 45 min
Why are there choices for firing schedules? I don't mean choices from site to site, but choices at individual sites? How do I know what the differences are of firing higher for less time versus lower heat for more time?

Okay, after a little more reading, I think firing at 1650 for 2 hours sounds like what I'd like to try for. I wonder, though, if I need to ramp up slowly… lemme go read s'more.

I gave up and asked on LE.

And the answer is: if I haven't added inclusions (gems, cz, etc), I can go full ramp.

If I remember to, I'll take photos of the "green" (dried but not fired) clay and the finished products.


BACK TO BAD PARAPHRASING AND FATE

So on our way to Santa Rosa last night, Gabe and I were continuing to listen to The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I think I may have done a terrible job of paraphrasing in regards to "the brick wall". I think it's more like, "The brick wall is there for you to see how badly you want what's on the other side of it." Meh… don't know if that's any better than my entry the other day, but I think I get it and it's not totally out of line with "going with the flow of the universe".

Now, here's one huge reason I have no desire to believe in fate/destiny… Is life still fun if you know the outcome? Or even just knowing there IS a preordained outcome?

How fun would sports be if we knew that although WE might not know who the winner is going to be, the winner is already decided well before play begins? I wouldn't want to play… what would be the point of trying? If your team was destined to win, it doesn't matter if you try hard or don't try hard. If your team was destined to lose, it doesn't matter if you try hard or don't try hard.

I think I really prefer the idea of nothing being preordained.

And then there are those who say: Fate exists, but it's not set in stone.

What?!?!?! What the heck does that mean? Something is either fated to happen or it's not… you can't have fate AND randomness.

We will continue this discussion later.


COMMENTS

Thank you, gaffergirls for your nice comment. Yes, indeed… if you have that much silver clay, you've outdone me for the "hoarding and not using" trophy. Heh… can't wait to see what you all make!


CLOSING

BTW, I think the great cheese was Hanford Jack Jalapeno Cheese.

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