My oldest son, Jacob, has been unable to play sports for over two years. Without going into all of the boring details, he had double knee surgery last year, and he has still been dealing with the complications of recovery.
To know my son, is to know that this has been the longest two years of his life. And although he approached his situation with sheer and utter brilliance, he has had a huge void in his life.
About a month ago, he approached me about wanting to get a team together to play intramural basketball. After a little research, I found a league not too far away from home, and as luck would have it, I hadn’t missed the deadline for registration.
To make the situation even better, we were able to reassemble his team from elementary and middle school. All of the boys have gone to different high schools, but they all came back together again. They even named their team the “Huskies,” after their elementary school mascot.
For once, the planets had aligned and all the pieces fell into place – that is until we realized that they didn’t have a coach for their team.
Because I have nothing better to do with my time, and I really wanted to make this come together for my son…
Come on, how hard can it be?
A couple of YouTube videos, a whistle, a shirt that says, “COACH,” and a funky pair of socks!
Although I have considered myself to be an all-star sideline coach for many years, I have never formally worn the title of “Coach.” It was pretty exciting.
I began watching NCAA basketball with Jacob and quickly learned the difference between a two point shot and a three point shot. I was well on my way!
About two days after the big announcement, I received a phone call from what I thought was a dear friend of mine and she informed me that there were concerns about my skill-set and that the parents were questioning my abilities to handle the position.
I was stunned. I mean really? I was fired before I even started.
But as fate would have it, no one else stepped up to the plate (or the free throw line), and so coach I became once again.
We had our first practice on Sunday. I woke up feeling a little bit nervous, but quickly leveled off once I stepped foot into my funky socks and my Converse tennis shoes.
With my team in tow, we arrived at the facility and I was immediately met by another coach. He had a clipboard. And there was writing on it.
I didn’t have a clipboard.
Still, I held my head high and headed over to our court. I began by trying to get my team to stretch using some yoga techniques. I was promptly dismissed and I took my place on the bench as they began to run drills.
They did pretty well. They played together for many years so they had their drills down pat, and they even knew which positions they should be playing. Aside for the fact that they couldn’t make a basket, I actually thought that the practice went really well.
Everyone was getting along; there was no blood or need for medical intervention, so I took the opportunity to catch up on emails and texts. Sometimes it’s just better to leave well enough alone.
Feeling good about things, I marched my team over to the Championship Plaque and I explained that we would be the next team to be engraved and forever commemorated on this wall. It was one of my better pep talks and I’m pretty sure I moved them.
We did one final team cheer and headed out to lunch.
Now how many coaches will take her team to lunch? Clearly I’m going to be receiving the “Coach of the Year,” award.
And then it happened.
One by one, they turned on me. They began to ask for my replacement. They said I ran a horrible practice.
And the final blow – they hated my socks!
After much debate, the kids said I could stay on as a part time coach. They would get me a clipboard, but I’m not allowed to write anything on it. They would get me a whistle, but I am not allowed to blow it. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I have to lose the socks.
They then handed me the bill for lunch, and headed out to the car.
I’m still somewhat stunned by my coaching tenure. It was short, but sweet and I’m sure in some small and demented way, I made a huge impact on these boys. They will look back at our time together fondly and I will not soon be forgotten.
And when their name is engraved onto that plaque (like that’s ever gonna happen), I know that my boys will remember me as the most stylish coach that ever coached the game.
Taking the high road, I wish their new coach many blessings and an incredibly successful season. You’re going to need all the blessings you can get 🙂
PS. We’ve all had horrible coaching experiences. What’s the worse experience you’ve ever had?