# blueollie

## Hitting the bat with the ball… (personal and trivial)

My dad introduced me to baseball when I was quite young. I had a toddler bat and he would pitch to me. At first, he would lob the ball at my bat so I could hit it.

I also remember that I was promised a quarter if I hit the ball over the house (a rubber ball). I did that.

But ….when it came to an actual game…I wasn’t so good. I got used to my dad lobbing the ball..trying to hit a ball that was coming at different speeds, different angles…ugh.

I didn’t have the genes to be a good athlete.

So what does this have to do with my life now? I teach college mathematics for a living. And yes, the students need practice on elementary problems before they can develop the expertise to tackle “real world” mathematics problems.

And this is one of the toughest things to do: encourage an appropriate amount of confidence: “yes, your showing that you can solve the canned problems that we ask on exams shows that you have some ability and knowledge, but solving an uncanned problem is several orders of magnitude harder, and you’ll have to work up to that.”

I still remember the day after finishing my undergraduate mathematics program. I thought that I was hot stuff. So I strolled into the library, picked up a mathematics journal, attempted to start a mathematics article…and never made it past the abstract. I understood a few of the words (“compact” was one of them) but that was about it.

Later, just prior to starting my graduate program, I went to the mathematics section of the book store..and perhaps understood the TITLES of maybe, 5-10 percent of the books.
After getting my PH. D., I understood 20-26 of them. 🙂 But by this time, that did not shock me.

Weekend agenda Spouse is in Cuba. So I had dinner with a friend last night (yay!), do a 5K run (plus weights, yay!) this morning, cut some grass (boo…I hate that), see a couple of baseball games (yay!), dinner with another friend (yay!), more grading…boo. I guess that isn’t a bad “yay” to “boo” ratio.

April 22, 2017 - Posted by | Personal Issues