About Me

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Mabuhay! I'm an Asian American writer (Back Kicks And Broken Promises, Abbott Press, 2012), martial artist and teacher who was born in The Philippines, raised in Hong Kong and ended up in New Jersey.

01 February, 2016

The Curiousness of Coincidence

1st Febraury, 2016

The Curiousness of Coincidence

Have you ever wondered about the coincidences in your life and think that, because they’re so alike, they might not be coincidences at all?

Before I go on, I should warn you that this post is about something extremely trivial – or is it? –  that for some of you it might not that interesting. But, sometimes the most trivial of things can spark the most curious reflection.


I have on occasion wondered about the coincidences in my life, although not to the point of looking over my shoulder or fearing that there’s a conspiracy working against me.  I’ve wondered how and why these things have happened but I can’t come up with a sensible reason or than they’re simply coincidences. For me, one of the more curious ones has to do with the sports colour scheme of the schools I have been involved with, either as a student or teacher or coach.  I did my secondary education at Island School in Hong Kong. Most of the uniforms of the sports teams there were red, white and blue – the colours of The Union Jack – but there was a year or two in which our basketball kit was red with blue trim and blue numbers. One year our football uniform was blue with red trim. My favourite professional sports team – Arsenal Football Club – has for the most part always had a red home jersey since I became a fan in 1980. So, in some way, red has been following me since my youth.

Here’s where it gets really curious. I wouldn’t say there’s a conspiracy against me. I mean, come on, what kind of conspiracy is it to have someone exposed to the same colour scheme at different stages of his life at the different institutions that were/are important to him. But, it’s worth a mention.

I did my undergraduate university studies at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Its school colours are red, black and white. The University’s teams’ nickname is The Scarlet Knights. After graduating and a couple of job changes, I found myself coaching at Passaic County Community College. I was the Head Men’s Soccer Coach. We had a great run; getting nationally ranked and reaching the national Division III semi-final. The team’s colours were red and black and white. I did that for a season and a couple of years later I was teaching and coaching at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. (All the schools mentioned in this post are in New Jersey.) I was the Assistant Varsity and Junior Varsity Boys Volleyball Coach. Our school and team colours? Red, Black and White. The school’s teams’ nickname? The Red Devils. During that time, I was working on my M.A. in Coaching and Sports Administration at Montclair State University. I’d gotten into MSU, then Montclair State College, as an undergrad as well but I elected not to go there because there was a foreign (non-English) language requirement. Hindsight being 20/20, I regret not going there for that reason and I regret not pursuing a different language at Rutgers. I could’ve continued my four years of high school French or I could’ve pursued Cantonese (the language of my hometown which I wish I could speak fluently) or Korean (the language of my chosen martial art, Taekwondo). Anyway, MSC’s/MSU’s colours are red, black and white and the nickname is The Red Hawks. My Graduate School graduation cap and gown were red too. Finally, taking our story to present day, I’ve ended up teaching and coaching in the South Orange-Maplewood School District and, again, the school colours are red, black and white.  I am the Head Girls Volleyball Coach for our high school, Columbia, and the Assistant Throws Coach (shot put, discus, javelin) for our Outdoor Track and Field Team.

There have been a couple of hiccoughs. I did coach at then Solomon Schechter Day School, now Golda Och Academy, and the school colours there are blue and white but, as you can see, my life – at least in terms of teaching and coaching – has been coated in red, black and white. Coated or clouded? Hmm. You decide.

Is this purely coincidence? Has someone or some larger organisation set me up so I get hired by schools whose colours are red, black and white? Or, is there something in my psyche or subconscious that makes me apply for and interview better at schools whose colours are red, black and white? Of the three, only black is a favourite colour of mine. To be completely honest, my favourite colours are orange and blue; royal blue to be specific.

So, while I do contend that all of this is likely coincidence, it might be plausible to suggest that there’s something more to it. Maybe one of you reading – someone much more intelligent than myself and who has the proper training in sociology, psychology, neuroscience and other disciplines – can look into this and see if there are others who’ve gone through something like this as well. Perhaps you can explain if I create this coincidence subconsciously and, if so, why red, black and white are so important.

Because of my age (I turned 47 yesterday), my place on my school district’s salary guide and being a tenured teacher, I am not likely going to change teaching and coaching jobs before I retire. If I ever leave my current position, it’ll be for something other than teaching so my red, black and white adventure has more than likely come to its end with Columbia. Or has it?

Thanks for stopping by.