Enjoy the Super Bowl and a tax write-off. – SCN Encourager 1/31/2014

I’ve uncovered the opportunity of a lifetime.

And if you’re an “alive and breathing” school communicator – this opportunity is perfect for you.

I realize that the bar for what qualifies school communicators for this “can’t miss” opportunity is quite low, but heck, I want in on it, too!

Think about it.

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 4.14.36 PMWhat could be better than going into Super Bowl weekend knowing that you can rack up all kinds of expenses and then deduct all of them off your taxes later?

You win big time even if your favored team falls short!

As you read this, I bet you feel incredibly fortunate to have this “high interest–high finance” tip in your possession.

Am I right?

If I’m not – what’s to worry?  I’ll still able to write this bet off!

Are you?

Now, I’ll concede that this slick scheme of mine is not for everyone.

And since coming off my shocking setback in my lawsuit against Justin Timberlake, it’s possible that I’m not thinking this through clearly.

But if you’ll just suspend your understanding of ethical standards and IRS tax codes for the next few minutes, I’m confident you’ll want to more about this “no lose” plan once you hear a little bit about it.

My plan for writing off all of my Super Bowl related expenses is firmly grounded in my passion and commitment to 21st century learning.

And I believe that a deep dive into the history of football and the evolution of the Super Bowl itself will yield a number of parallel lessons relevant to our work as educators and communicators in 2014.

This is the basis for the work I am undertaking this weekend.

I’m not going to apologize for my willingness to spend whatever time and trips to the refrigerator it takes to unearth and share these lessons with school leaders all across America.

If I have to watch hours of pre-Super Bowl hype and fuel my brain and body with beverages and snacks, I will.

If I can learn more about 21st century learning by watching the Super Bowl through the lens of of “what’s best for kids?” I will.

Yes, this is a sacrifice.

Yes, this is costly.

Yes, this requires me to research and think critically and creatively about our profession.

And this is why I’m writing it all off.

The game of football actually does have a parallel to 21st century learning.

Consider that the first college football game was played in 1869 and featured Rutgers clobbering Princeton by a whopping 6-4 score. The teams each used 25 players on the field at the same time (50 players!). Obviously, the hidden ball trick was the only play needed.

By 1876, colleges teams cleaned up the game by limiting players on the field to 15 per side and clarified other rules by negotiating between themselves prior to every game.

I don’t know what they could possibly discuss since there were no first downs, quarterbacks, and forward passes.

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 5.10.44 PMBut it’s all here in John H. Miller’s book about the history of football and the role Teddy Roosevelt played in saving it.

Remember the 6-4 score in that first football game?

Well, all of the final scores were single digits back then because when you scored a touchdown, you didn’t get 6 points. You got zip. All you earned was the right to try and kick an extra point.


The best you could do was score one point at a time… by kicking.

Today, we have touchdowns, field goals, 11 players on a side, replays, controversial calls by the refs, and even more controversial ads on our flat screens.

Very much like the very best 21st century learning organizations, the game of football has adapted both to its environment and significant demographic changes through the generations.

Football has been an “early adopter” of technology and a leader in public and private partnerships.

Thanks to visionary leadership from team owners and general managers (aka school board trustees and superintendents) and the marketing support from communication team members (Yea! MSPRA and the rest of us!) the NFL exists today as an excellent model for 21st century success and sustainability.

Caring educators everywhere must do the right thing and take their professional responsibilities seriously and proudly watch the Super Bowl on Sunday night.

So enjoy your weekend — and remember to save your receipts!

Tom Page, SCN
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