My oldest girl plays basketball and has a much scarier coach than last year.
At the risk of saying too much and incurring the wrath of the community on one side of the equation or the other I figured I would attempt what I have been attempting my entire life: to roll with what life throws our way and get a laugh.
My daughter’s coach last year was the sweetest person you could meet, and she learned a lot from her. This year we have different characters running the show and it’s a moment that I used to teach my daughter something.
Most of the time at sports informational nights I spend my time monkeying around on my phone because I know I’ll never remember all the details anyways, and I don’t have to because my wife is there and she’s smarter than I am. This year as I was thinking of the emails I needed to respond to I kept my phone in my pocket because I had noticed, as Slim Shady said, “The mood all changed”.
I can’t remember what our new coaches and training coach said exactly about how things were going to go down this year, but I remember my eyes widening slightly as I realized we were all going to have to make some adjustments.
When I was young I lived in Los Angeles. The Americans look and talk like us, but there are differences, and sports are something they take very seriously. An American friend of mine living in Calgary said “Oh people here have no idea how intense the coaching is in the States. If you don’t want your spot on the team there are 40 kids who do!”
My parent-cheering consists mainly of politely (I think) trash talking the other fans, and offering amazing advice on how our team could be playing better. Last year Ailish hit the winning shot in the last 8 seconds of the game and I erupted with “Long drive home Cochrane!!!!” with a big smile on my face. Thankfully the other fans knew someone like me shouldn’t be held responsible for my actions, and I had provided them with several non-optimistic “We’re SO going to lose!” when things weren’t going well earlier that they felt I had evened out my cheering.
Offering basketball advice is something I’m both eager and dangerously unqualified to do. I never really played when I was younger so all of my advice ends up in the “Need to set more screens…” category, and I’m pretty sure I know what that means. I also watch Steph Curry a lot and and may or may not expect the same from my daughters on the court.
That was last year.
This year all I’m doing is watching Arwen’s coach. That and hoping the ball doesn’t roll to me on the sideline because I can throw fine, but I feel like I’m never sure whether I should go for the bounce pass back to the ref or not. I can feel them judging my throw/ bouncing ability which is hard on my confidence until I remember they wear terrible pants and my pants are cool.
All I have time for is watching the scary coach now. I mean this guy’s eyes are not something I want on me. If he turned to the stands and yelled “Give me fifty laps!!!” I’d start running and hope on lap four I didn’t collapse in his vicinity.
The newish manager of Liverpool is an insane German man named Jurgen Klopp, but he has nothing on our coach. I watched him single out a girl during a timeout and my mouth dropped open because it was Old Testament. Not that he said anything, but he stared with his scary eyes.
I asked my girl after the game “Why did he stare at her?” To which she responded “Oh, she always talks back a little when he’s trying to correct her.”
I’m like “WHY??? I wouldn’t talk back to that guy!! Here’s how you handle a hard coach: You make eye contact and nod a lot. You say ‘Yes Coach’ and do everything he says because he can make you better. If you mess something up it’s ok to smile at him and shake your head, but then hustle back on defence and get the ball back. He won’t hand out his respect for free, you’ll have to earn it. Like in real life:)”
I’m not saying everything that happens is perfect, but a great life skill is to be able to work with all sorts of people. I think back to some of the best people I’ve learned from and maybe the hardest ones cared the most?
I do know that if Coach told me to drop and give him fifty I’d probably have to fake a heart attack because I wouldn’t be able to talk my way out with that guy:)