Beyond Borders Storytelling

Stories for Wanderlusting Adventurers.

I didn't know if my experiences were relevant

2015-04-21

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Click image to view Frank's Story

What made you want to get involved in storytelling?
I went to the first story jam in Oakland and a couple other story jams since, but I thought all these guys are so young and I didn’t know if my experiences were relevant.  But then I thought because I had an experience different from the newer people I wanted to share it.

Had you told your story about coaching basketball in Cote D’Ivoire to others before?
To my wife, and probably to some coaches in Petaluma.  I used to coach high school up there, and I was every bit as intense.  I was really passionate about what I was doing. I think I got it from my high school coach who was also like that winning was the only thing. But my kids showed me there was more to it than that, and I showed them if you work really hard you can achieve more than you think you can.

What were some of the things you enjoyed about the storytelling workshop process?
We all have a story, but it’s not clear how to get it out.  I tend to rush things, be too energetic.  You guys told me to slow down and focus on specific details.  I speak all the time in front of groups but not about myself.  The practice sessions and feedback from the other storytellers helped me learn to slow down and change the tempo, to talk about the individual kids I coached. When I watched the video of the story jam, I thought that practice made the story a lot better.

Frank Basketball

Frank Price with basketball team in Cote D’Ivoire


As you went through the process, did you discover anything about your experiences that you had never thought of before?
Yeah, I did.  It made me reflect on how those kids are doing today.  Those kids would all be in their late 50s. There was a civil war that affected Guiglo, the town I taught in. It made me wonder what had happened to my players.  I went online and looked up the school, and it’s still there, but it looks a lot different.   

What were some of the challenges you faced preparing your story?
I had to make sure that I could control my own presentation.  I still get excited about it.  It was such an exciting moment in my life.  I was also difficult remembering the students’ names because I had not thought about them in a while.  Getting it in an order that made sense was such a wonderful process.

How was your story different from the younger storytellers?
Actually, I could see myself in their place.  I could picture myself where they were, doing what they were doing. The stories were timeless. The rapid changes in technology over the decades have not impacted what is important about the stories learning about human nature, how you act and react.

What advice would you give Volunteers who served long ago to help bring back memories of their experiences?
First of all, think of positive lessons you came away with an event that actually changed the way you looked at the world or changed you.  Focus on what lead up to it. I had to think for a long time.  I didn’t want to sound negative.  Older people, we’ve learned a lot, but how do we encapsulate the lessons we have learned? 

Were you nervous?
I was nervous.  I couldn’t see anybody.  I like to see people when I am talking to them, but because of the lights, I couldn’t tell if the audience was listening or sleeping. When I heard them laugh, I relaxed.

Do you want to tell another story?
I would love to.  There was a major cheating scandal at my school involving a teacher I was friends with.  I made a decision that was unpopular and a lot of teachers never spoke to me again. That story would fit well with the next story jam theme: Pandora’s Box.




story by:Will Spargur


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