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    Bridgedale Academy Blog

    Sunday, September 17, 2017

    Save Our Nation - Part 5 - Hockey Breeds Courage

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    Reason #4: Hockey breeds Courage

    The last bastion of hope for toughness in America?

    Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh claimed a few years ago that the sport of football represented “the last bastion of hope for toughness in America in men, in males.” He was explaining why he loved football so much. 

    Harbaugh was of course then pilloried in the press for being so “insensitive.” But I’m going to give him his due because I understand where he was coming from. 

    On the other hand, it is simply ridiculous to speak of “toughness in America in men” and exclude hockey players from the conversation. 

    This blog article looks at Reason #4 why I believe hockey players will save our nation, i.e. the fact that hockey breeds an unusual form of courage in its players. 

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    Thursday, September 7, 2017

    Save Our Nation - Part 4 - Hockey's Code of Honor

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    Reason #3: Hockey breeds Honor

    Is there a place in the game for fighting?

    There is an ongoing debate about whether or not fighting has a proper place in hockey. 

    And at the youth levels, of course, fighting is strictly frowned upon and enforced with game misconduct penalties. It is as close to a “zero tolerance” policy as possible.

    But at the older, more competitive levels, that is, junior hockey and above, hockey players will tell you that fighting is “part of the game.”

    This blog article looks at Reason #3 why I believe hockey players will save our nation, i.e. hockey's unwritten "Code of Honor" and its impact on true hockey players.

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    Monday, August 28, 2017

    Save Our Nation - Part 3 - Hockey Breeds Respect

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    In Part 1, I explained why I believe our nation needs saving. 

    In Part 2, I discussed the first reason why I believe that hockey players have the right stuff to help save our nation, which is that hockey’s nature as a sport breeds a certain “humility” in its players. 

    This Part 3 looks at my second reason, the fact that hockey breeds a unique “respect” in its players.

    (Caveat: In these articles I am not talking about ALL youngsters who play hockey. There are “hockey players” and there are “kids who play hockey.” Any hockey coach worth his salt can explain to you the difference. Here I am talking about hockey players. In particular, I’m talking about hockey players who aspire to the higher levels, and who have demonstrated the commitment level required to really excel at hockey.)

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    Tuesday, August 15, 2017

    Hockey Players Will Save Our Nation - Part 2

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    In my first article discussing this topic I explained why I believe our nation needs saving.

    This article and the next three discuss why I believe hockey players in particular have the right stuff to save our nation.

    (Caveat: In these articles I am not talking about ALL youngsters who play hockey. There are “hockey players” and there are “kids who play hockey.” Any hockey coach worth his salt can explain to you the difference. Here I am talking about hockey players. In particular, I’m talking about hockey players who aspire to the higher levels, and who have demonstrated the commitment level required to really excel at hockey.)

    Do hockey players really have the right stuff?

    A number of years ago, when Bridgedale Academy was still in the planning stages, I had the great good fortune to meet some wonderful people from Hillsdale College and Hillsdale Academy. 

     

    Almost immediately I knew I wanted Bridgedale to become a Hillsdale Academy-model school academically. 

    In one of my early discussions with Hillsdale Academy Headmaster Ken Calvert, he asked me if I thought using a classical curriculum would go over so well with young hockey players. 

    “After all,” he said, “our curriculum is quite challenging. Won’t the hockey players who attend Bridgedale be more interested in the hockey side than the academic side of things?”

    My answer surprised him.

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    Wednesday, August 9, 2017

    Hockey Players Will Save Our Nation

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    Let me repeat that. 

    Hockey Players will save our nation!

     

    That’s a bold statement. And it invites two arguments. 

    • First, it implies that our nation needs saving.

    And I’m fully aware that many of our fellow citizens, quite happy with the path we are on, would disagree.

    • Second, it implies that hockey players have “the right stuff” to do the saving.

    Which simultaneously implies that non-hockey players might not have what it takes, a notion sure to be disputed by many.

    Nonetheless, I stick by my statement and believe it to be so.

    In this article, I'll take on the first of these arguments.

    In future articles, I'll take on the second.

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    Monday, July 31, 2017

    Top 3 Ways to Prepare for AA Tryouts

    Maximize the chances of making the team

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    Although AA tryouts won’t begin until September, there is no time like the present for youngsters to get serious about their hockey training and begin preparing themselves to be at their best. 

    Eating healthy and being in top physical condition are of course just the starting point as you prepare for AA tryouts. 

    This article discusses the following 3 ways to really prepare, ways that go above and beyond merely eating healthy and being in top physical condition:

    • Get on the right schedule

    • Make at least one leap forward

    • Visualize success and be mentally ready

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    Tuesday, July 4, 2017

    Common Core: Mental Junk Food? - Part 3

    Is the Declaration of Independence really just another "Informational Text?"

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    Common Core ignores the philosophical underpinnings of the Declaration

    Appendix B of the Common Core English standards contain a "sample performance task" for teachers to give to their students while discussing (i.e. teaching) the fiction and non-fictional "texts" to be covered in their classes. One of the readings Common Core recommends for tenth and eleventh graders is our Declaration of Independence.


    Here's the sample performance task provided in Appendix B for the Declaration of Independence:

    "Students analyze Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, identifying its purpose and evaluating rhetorical features such as the listing of grievances. Students compare and contrast the themes and argument found there to those of other U.S. documents of historical and literary significance, such as the Olive Branch Petition." [Emphasis in the original.]

    That's it. Sort of misses the point, doesn't it? 

    What about self-evident truths? What about unalienable rights? What about the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God? What about government deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed?

    These ideas and more are given short shrift by the Common Core.

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    Monday, June 26, 2017

    Common Core: Mental Junk Food? - Part 2

    Academic Development vs Hockey Development

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    Due diligence for your child’s hockey development

    Most hockey parents take great care when it comes to nurturing their child’s development as a hockey player and athlete. They generally are very actively involved when it comes to having a positive impact on their child’s hockey. 

    Parents do their due diligence with respect to coaches, instructors, hockey camps, hockey clubs and hockey teams. They talk to others and ask questions of those whose children had previously played for a certain coach or club, or attended a certain camp or clinic.

    It is of course true that parents may not always succeed in getting their child on the team they want, because often that is outside their ultimate control. 

    But, as a rule, they try to do their very best with those things that ARE under their control, in order to give their children a competitive advantage when it comes to their hockey development.

    What about your child’s academic development?

    Yet when it comes to their child’s academic development, most parents believe their hands are tied.

    And so they go along with what the local public or Catholic schools offer.

    Which today almost certainly means: they trust their child’s academic development to Common Core.

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    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    Common Core: Mental Junk Food? - Part 1

    The Debate on Common Core Rages On

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    Few education topics are debated more heatedly these days than the Common Core State Standards (“CCSS”). Whether it has to do with CCSS's creation, passage into law, implementation or results, nowhere will you find a more wide-ranging array of alleged “truths” about a single subject.

    Bridgedale Academy uses a classical school curriculum, i.e. that of Hillsdale (MI) Academy, and so does not subscribe to Common Core, as most other schools in Illinois now do.

    Because Common Core continues to be such a political hot potato, with the arguments for and against it so diametrically opposed, I decided to dig deeper.

    Truths or Myths?

    Proponents make certain claims about the virtues of CCSS, while opponents argue these claims are more mythical than anything else, i.e. myths propagated and maintained by a well-financed propaganda machine. 

    After spending more time than I care to admit reading books and online articles about Common Core, I have come down solidly on the side of CCSS’s opponents.

    In find myself in agreement with Joy Pullman, author of "The Education Invasion: How common core fights parents for control of American kids," when she refers to much of what is force-fed to kids in CCSS schools today as "mental junk food."

    In other words, I find the main arguments in favor of CCSS to be deceptive ... to be myths.

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    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    Developing Physical Literacy - Part 4

    The Physical Literacy of Youth Athletes Today

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

     

    (This is the fourth of a 4-part blog series about developing physical literacy in young athletes.) 

     

    A young athlete’s physical literacy, developed between birth and the onset of puberty, is the foundation upon which his or her athleticism is built. It is defined as “the development of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to move confidently and with control.” (See Developing Physical Literacy - Part 1.)

    The Long Term Athlete Development model (LTAD) is a science-based approach to athlete training that defines 7 physiological-age based stages of training, the first 3 of which are for the development of physical literacy. Although LTAD has been around in one form or another for more than thirty years, programs that effectively adhere to it are very limited. (See Developing Physical Literacy - Part 2.)

    The phenomenon of “early developers” and “late bloomers” has also been known for many years, but only recently has the concept known as “relative age effect” (RAE) received much attention. The potential impact of RAE on developing athletes (and on youngsters generally) is profound and far-reaching. (See Developing Physical Literacy - Part 3.)

    This article, Part 4 of the Developing Physical Literacy series, discusses the physical literacy of today’s youth athletes. It first examines the development of physical literacy in youth hockey players, including the risks of early specialization, and then offers some general thoughts for parents and coaches of youth athletes.

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