Math On My Mind

This week I start coaching two mathletics teams (yes, I just said that) in preparation for a competition at the end of January. One team is from my son’s school, the other from the school where I teach when I’m not on sabbatical.

I have been asked why a math team would need a coach. My biggest hurdle here is convincing kids (and adults, for that matter) that this is more about strategy, organization, and hard work than it is about natural talent: as with soccer, cooking, music, or pretty much any other field of human endeavor, you can be as good as you want to be. It’s just a question of how much work you’re going to have to do to get there. My rant for the week, then: do not give up on something you want just because it is hard. ANYTHING WORTH HAVING is going to be hard, so go sharpen your pencil and get to work.

On that note, this week I offer my first real math song of the year. Writing about math presents a special challenge since a math procedure seldom comes with its own story, as do most history or science standards. I think the reason Distance Over Time works with audiences is that it tells a story where a math process is central to the resolution. In this case the story happens to be true, with a few changes in details to protect my family to make the calculations cleaner. The answer is withheld in the song so as not to spoil your fun, but will be in the Notes.

Other news: I had loads of fun at Loscon this weekend. I didn’t get to hear other people’s music as much as I would have liked due to family obligations, but I got to spend a lot of time with great people and I played a clean set. Due to demolition and tile work, I can’t even get into the basement that was supposed to be my studio. Back to Southwest Sound in Sierra Madre later this week.