(Tampa, FL) – Day 1 – As I mentioned in the previous post, I always get excited while attending a National AAHPERD Convention. This year’s event in Tampa was no different.   After setting up the books at “the Booth,” I was able to walk around the AAHPERD Exhibits’ Area for a while. While the vast majority of vendors had already completed setting up when I arrived at the Tampa Convention Center (about 2:00 PM or so), there were still a handful of folks busy trying to get their booths in order.  This typically is a somewhat “frantic time” for exhibitors, especially those without huge numbers of staff to help with this process.  

However, everyone always seems to have the time (or takes the time) to talk.  After many years of AAHPERD Conventions via Great Activities, we “old timers” have formed a special kinship and often talk about the recent gains and/or mutual concerns related to physical education at the national level. For example:

  • There was much talk about the use of PEP Grant monies in helping to create a new model for teaching PE.  Generally speaking, the PEP Grants have made a tremendous difference in helping everyone see the numerous benefits of our profession.
  • Among higher ed folks, there seems to be a general concern related to the growing numbers of prospective physical education teachers who lack essential knowledge and skill in a variety of basic sports skills (e.g., throwing, catching, striking, etc.).  When we (old folks) went through our undergraduate and graduate programs, there was a strong emphasis on basic sport skill development and analysis.  Today, it seems, that there are many PE majors who lack the ability to do so (e.g., the elite gymnast who doesn’t throw correctly). 

Back at the Hotel: This year I stayed at the Embassy Suites Hotel, directly across from the Convention Center.  In my opinion, this has been the BEST venue for teachers/exhibitors in recent years. Congrats to the Florida AHPERD, Southern District, and AAHPERD Staff who selected this site! 

Overheard at the Embassy Suites “Manager’s Reception”(Free drinks and snacks always hit the spot!).  I saw or heard…

  1. A recent graduate of Austin-Peay University (Tennessee) warmly greeting one of his former college professors.  It was easily apparent to me that this professor had made a significant difference in this person’s life.  After introducing his wife to his mentor, the three carried on a brief conversation and departed.  It was a special moment, I was thinking to myself… this is good stuff.
  2. A PE teacher talking about the time he had attended his AHPERD State Convention just to “get away” for two days before leaving the profession. His resignation letter was lying on his desk. During the convention, he was “touched” by a PE teacher from North Carolina (not me) who presented several sessions and changed his life forever.  Again, good stuff…

On Cuban Sandwiches: According to a good friend of mine, the “best meal in the world” is a Cuban sandwich (a ham and cheese delight originally created by immigrant Cuban workers) and the best place to get one is Ybor City in Tampa. I’m going to try to find one today!


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