My tennis coach was great at hitting a ball. He was athletic, charming and quite good-looking according to the girls.

He did have a weakness though. One rainy morning when it was too wet to play, his weakness became very obvious

We all piled into a classroom, coach says, “today we are going to learn how to score”.

Ten-year-old Marcus loved tennis. He sat to attention showing rare enthusiasm in a classroom.

Then the explanation started.

Dios Mio! (My God!)

Out came the overhead projector, the charts and the transparencies.

Let the confusion begin.

“If Player A wins a point he gets fifteen. If he wins the next point he has 30.”


“Player B here, doesn’t have any points so he has love.


“If Player B wins the next 3 points and Player A wins the one after that the score is Deuce.”

On and on he went for an hour.

Game, Set and Match by knockout.

It was too much for my 10-year-old mind.

At the end if the class, coach asked, “any questions?”

Sometimes I was a lazybones, even a Silly Billy or a slowpoke but never a smart aleck. Except for that day…

“Yes coach”, I replied, “I have a question. How do you score tennis?”

I was completely confused, baffled and befuddled.

I had no idea how to score a tennis game.

What would you do if you had to teach a bunch of kids how to score tennis?

Could you figure out a way for them to learn in an hour?

I think it would be pan comido. (Pan comido literally means eaten bread, like saying a piece of cake).

I just get them playing some kind of game and score it like tennis.

It could be anything.

It could be flicking an eraser over a pen.

It wouldn’t matter what game as long as they were involved and then just score it like tennis.

Some people think learning has to be a hard and complex, yet you can learn so much more when it’s simple and engaging.

As Ben Franklin said, dime y lo olvido. Enséname y lo recuerdo. Involúcrame y lo aprendo. (Tell me and I forget it. Show me and I remember it. Involve me and I learn it.)

You really can’t learn any skill without being involved. Can you imagine learning to swim without getting wet? That’s why you can never learn Spanish just by reading a textbook.

Getting involved in Spanish accelerates your success and can change you from feeling like a slowpoke to Speedy Gonzalez.

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