school athletes and major league players.
There was no pay for the article. It never occurred to me that people would pay you for writing words. I was disappointed, not by the lack of money but by the response of the publisher. I thought I’d written the greatest love song to The Flash imaginable. All I got was an index card that said, “Good article.” It wasn’t even signed!
I was irked.
I found out a few years later that the fellow who published the Rocket Blast was 19. He had cystic fibrosis. He was in a wheel chair and he did all of his typing by holding the pencil in his teeth and punching the keys on an IBM Selectric one at a time with the pencil.
Inside I discovered what the word churlish meant and wondered how you could apologize for unspoken irkedness.
That fanzine is a funny thing to have pop into my mind. Tomorrow the team I assisting coaching with are playing for the league championship.
I wouldn’t expect anyone to be surprised at this except this is a basketball team . . .
They’ve tried to throw our team out of the league. They tried to throw the head coach I’m mentoring out of the league. The HC is 23 years old and this is the first time he’s ever coached. He made mistakes but they were all forgivable ones. I came down on him harder than they did.
They tried to throw one of our players out of the league. He’s a warrior, so you know I like him. He plays basketball and he also plays baseball for his high school team. So I double like him.
If we win the championship they want me to accept the trophy and make a speech. I’m pretty sure they expect me to rail against the league and the shabby way we feel we’ve been treated by them. What I’ll probably say is something like championships are a rare thing to play for, and rarer to win. How many people ever get the chance to say I did my best and my best was enough.
The greatest man I ever met was the late Coach Eddie Robinson. He was the football coach at Grambling who for a while had more victories than any coach in NCAA history.
Coach Robinson told me how he used to have to mark out the field and place the line markers before games. While he was doing this he realized how much he loved coaching. He said to love coaching you had to love the athletes you taught. In later years he realized that to merely be a decent coach you had to love your players.
I turned this into my own bromide I constantly preach, “No coach ever won a game and no player ever lost a game.”
To me that means the joy a coach receives is consummate to the way his players perform and behave. That is a game is lost because a guy loses his temper and gets ejected it is up to the coach to teach the player to keep his temper, to find out what burns inside of him to the point of bad behavior. If a game is lost it’s because the coach hasn’t taught the player how to make the play. He hasn’t given the player the tools to succeed.
It’s the coaches job to instill the desire to improve and to learn and study enough of the game to know what to teach the players and how to teach them.
When the team wins it is the players who strived, who pushed themselves to places that they had never imagined they could enter, accomplish dreams that they never knew they were capable of. All the coach can do is be proud that he is associated with them.
That’s why winning is only important in that it gives us the chance to see what we can accomplish.
Each of the players, the ones on our team and the ones we competed against has improved this season. I’ve seen it from all of you and I was proud of all of you, proud to play against you and to play with you.
Or something like that. Hopefully better than that.
The gentle dog had his surgery to remove a nasty tumor. The word today is that he is, for now, cancer free. There’s still some small worries ahead but he’s still feeling fine enough to bite me every chance he gets.
The deaf dog is doing fine after her second heart worm treatment. She absolutely refuses to lie quiet and calm for a month . . .
Giant dog still wants to kill deaf dog and is incredibly jealous of all the attention gentle dog is receiving after his surgery.
Criminal dog is still laughing at us all.
And my puppy is still grumpy and still in love with me.
The last podcast is still available up ion the title bar menu. It seems sort of redundant to keep reposting the thing here.
I’ll have the 10th one ready this week. I’m surprised that they’re popular. Very perplexing to me. I figured a half dozen people would care and didn’t worry about it. It looks like about 500 downloads each so far. I’m surprised is all.
Of course the only questions I receive about them are on the order of what kind of gear do I listen to this music through. Mostly homemade stuff, or hand built if you want to sound fancy . . .
I’ve disabled comments again. Too much spam, like in the tens of thousands a day. Jerks.