The Coach

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The sound of the eardrum-piercing buzzer engulfed the gym. The black sweater and blue Polo felt like a ton of bricks on my chest. My face was red with fiery passion and small beads of sweat slowly rolled down my cheeks and into my beard. My hands, on top of my head in disbelief, my eyes, watery with disappointment focused intensely on the scoreboard. Home 35, Guest 30. We lost, it was over.

The perfectly straight blue lines, forming right angles at every point, took my eyes on a journey across the court. My eyes finally came to a screeching halt. Rows of bleachers gripped me eyes and left no inclination they'd let go.

Dilated pupils stared ferociously at me; they were trying to burn a hole right through my soul. In attempt to hopefully end my life as well as my career I could feel the heat from the slick court floor. Parents, a fighting crusade against coach.

Have you ever stared at the fury and disappointment in a parent's eye after his child loses a game? My blood feels like hot ashes running through my veins. There's no consoling a parent or 'we'll survive, will work on some stuff next practice.' That's only a fairy tale in the coaching world. I can only say, 'man, I should've done better, we could've won, it's my fault.' It has to be my fault; nobody else will take the blame. If we played poorly then I've obviously not done enough in practice. If we win, well then there are some key things that need to be addressed, like dribbling or better shot selection.

A parent approaches me, and looks directly into my eyes; he deeply examines my being and whether or not I hold the right to continue living.

'Tough game, coach,' he says.

He turns and walks away, and I know. I know what they're thinking; I know what they're saying. The gossip begins to flow over the boiling pot.

'He could've done this differently; he should've put her on the bench; if I were the coach, I would have''

No, you wouldn't have. You wouldn't have called that timeout; you wouldn't have changed the defense. You wouldn't have; couldn't have.
The pressure that follows the title 'coach' is agonizing. I remember when I thought coaching would be simple; I was wrong. The phrase, 'oh that's easy, I can do that,' has permanently been erased from my mind. The pressure that follows the title 'coach' is agonizing.

Coaching is all about pleasing people. The parents want to win, the players want to win, and the coach wants to win. But no one is ever satisfied in the world of sports, even in the sixth grade. I'll always be ridiculed, scrutinized and gossiped about. It comes with the job.

'Oh that's easy, I can do that.' No, it's not that easy, I don't know if I can.





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