Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Luck of the Irish

Ryan Patrick McLane.  You could say my parents went all-in with our family's Irish heritage.

About a week and a half ago, my family and I were heading home to Ohio from a weekend trip to a NASCAR event in Chicago (my first one ever, from the pits, probably a future post) and stopped in South Bend, Indiana.  I am a huge Notre Dame fan.  My dad went there, as did my younger brother. I would like to say the reason I didn't attend school there was because it did not have an education program, but in reality, it had more to do with my SAT scores and unimpressive class rank. Anyways, I never held a grudge and always appreciated what the university stood for.

As we checked into our hotel a little after 10 PM, everyone was tired and ready to go to bed.  Everyone except for me.  I was like a kid on Christmas Eve.  I told my wife I was going to drive over to the campus and walk around.  I really wanted to see the Grotto at night.  I'd be back by 11:30 PM (although they would all be asleep, so it wouldn't matter).

I hit most of the typical spots, Touchdown Jesus, the stadium, the Golden Dome, and the Grotto.  It was really nice being there, at night, in the summer, on a non-football weekend.  Pretty quiet and peaceful. 

I walked back to my car, hopped in and started to drive away.  Thump, thump, thump.  I got out, looked around, and sure enough, my rear passenger tire was as flat as a pancake.  Now when I say car, I really mean van. I also know my limitations and changing a tire at 11:41 PM on a Saturday night in South Bend would meet those limitations.

My initial (and very brief) reaction about the whole situation was like "You've got to be kidding me." I mean who really wants to deal with a flat tire, let alone while coming back from a vacation?

I hopped back into the van, got out my wallet and phone and called AAA.  As I gave the nice lady my information I noticed my membership expired in exactly 19 minutes.

As a principal, I talk with kids and adults about having a positive attitude.  Our positive behavior program is based on the equation E + R = O.  The Event plus our Response will greatly influence the eventual Outcome.  Time to put my money where my mouth is.

I said to myself, "This could be worse."  Yes, I was stranded, but I was stranded in a parking lot on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. I was not on the side of a highway.  The weather was perfect.  My family was not stuck in this situation, as they were fast asleep in our hotel room.  And my AAA membership was still valid for a few more minutes.  I was also a block away from the Gug (athletic complex).  Again, there could be worse places to kill an hour.

Robert from the local towing company showed up at about 12:45 AM, changed my tire, and I was on my way.  Instead of being miserable and upset for an hour, I just smiled at how lucky I was.  Like we tell the kids, we are going to experience adversity in life, how are we going to handle it?  In the grand scheme of things, I cannot even consider this event adversity. Just a little inconvenience.

Ryan is the Director of Special Education in the West Muskingum Local School District and principal of West Muskingum Elementary School in Zanesville, Ohio.  He is also the co-author of the book Your School Rocks...So Tell People!

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