20-lap race as my "event" and the training that went with it. Whenever I would swim the 500, I would take it out hard and get to the front as that was the mantra of my coach. Around lap ten the lactic acid pain would set in, and I'd have to face the mental challenge of having ten more laps to go. Once I got to lap 16, however, no matter how bad I was feeling, I could always pick up the pace and finish the race strong as Lap 16 was the point at which I could see the end. The Lap Sixteen mindset has stayed with me long after I competed in my last 500 freestyle.
Three years ago, I started another kind of distance event: A Ph.D. in Urban Education at UCLA. In the same way that my physical attributes led me to the distance events in the pool, my mental attributes have led me to education. As of the writing of this post, I'm about to submit my dissertation proposal, which to me has become the Lap 16 marker. I can not only see the finish line, but I can feel it. I went to UCLA's graduation to see a few friends get their hoods, and I welled up just watching. so now it's time to pick up the pace and finish. The creation of this blog is part of that process.
For the last three years, I've sat in classrooms learning new theories, gone to conferences and digested lectures, and have still managed to hang on to a wife, raise a son and coach a swim team. This blog will be my space to explore where all of that information intersects, understand what it means to me and ultimately the children I want to serve when my Ph.D is done. One day it might be the merits of public schools, another it might be asking how our most privileged can better serve the poor. I hope you visit often and enjoy the race to the finish of my Ph.D program and beyond.