Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Basketball Brawl Between Gray-Hairs

Hollywood plays basketball. She's a scrappy little thing and starts as point guard. I love the fact that we live in such a small school district that my kids can play whatever sport they want.

The basketball team is a bit of a disappointment this year, though. No, scratch that, it's not the team, but the coach who is a disappointment. Normally in a school district like ours, the coaches are teachers who pick up a sport or two for extra money. This year, we got a new coach who isn't a teacher and nobody really knows who he is.

I knew we were in for a long season when Hollywood told me that he doesn't even make the girls run during practice. Now I didn't play basketball, and only like to watch basketball when my kids are playing it. So I don't claim to be an expert on this. In fact, if you want to know the truth, I actually had to look up what a 'point guard' was when Hollywood excitedly told me that's what she was playing. However, I know enough about basketball to know that you need running drills - killers, whatever - to keep the players in condition to play the game.

Another illustration of this coach's questionable ability came in the first game when he didn't know what an 'over and back' call meant. Again, I'm not a basketball person and I'll admit I had to be told what that meant last year. But I'm not the coach!!

I should describe this guy to you. He's old. Like retirement age old. And very soft spoken. The girls claimed they couldn't even hear what he was saying to them. He left the girls alone during halftime at the last game so they sat in a circle and tried to coach themselves. Nobody knows where he went. He rarely calls timeouts to coach the girls and never tells them what plays to try.

Some of the parents have been launching a campaign of sorts to try and oust this man. I'm not happy about him and have no faith in his ability, but as a parent, I think it's important not to undermine authority figures, even when they might be questionable. Hollywood already has issues with authority, and my blabbering on about how ineffective her coach is, would only give her license to ignore his direction. Provided that he was giving any direction, that is. And I'm also not a lover of conflict, so I chose to let the season run its course, assuming that he wouldn't be back for another year.

And then last night happened.

The stands were packed - standing room only, which is really cool for an 8th grade game, if you ask me. Hollywood's team was holding it together fairly well - at least at first. They were losing 10-2, which may sound atrocious, but since they lost their last game 55-5, it wasn't so bad. I was proud of my scrappy little point guard because she was doing the best she knew how. All of a sudden, though, the coach - this bespectacled, soft-spoken, septuagenarian - was chest to chest with the referee. Who, as it happened, was also in his sixties or seventies. Coach was all up in this guy's face, saying who knows what in his soft voice. They walked across the entire court like that, and the seventh grade coach ran down to jump in. The coach lunged at the ref and started shouting. It was surreal, though, watching a couple of geriatrics going at it. The coach was shaky and threatening. The ref was trying to hold it together, but you could see he was getting mad.

Our coach tried to throw a punch, but it was intercepted by the seventh grade coach. Then he was handled by a couple of dads who ran down from the stands and had to forcefully carry him out of the gym. On the way out he yelled something like, "I've got a couple of friends who can call fouls too!" Whatever that means.

We were all stunned. Most of the moms who were trying to get him fired were sort of smug, assuming that this was the last straw. And I'm sure it will be. I participated in the gossipy chatter for a while, but then started thinking about it further. He's a crappy coach, but I still feel sorry for him. I mean, what if he forgot to take his medicine that day, or what if something bad happened to him, like his pet rabbit died or something? Seriously, what would cause such a complete break in character for a man like that? Incidentally, the calls weren't particularly bad. If anything, the refs were letting both sides get away with way more than they should have.

That's what I always do, though. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt when maybe they didn't deserve it. There's always more than meets the eye, though, isn't there?


DuJane said...


My dad and all of his siblings played high school basketball, and my grandfather routinely got thrown out of games. I sometimes think it's the reason I never played. Oh yeah - that, and I'm 5'2". Hee!

Keep us updated with what happens, I'm really curious.

Swishy said...

HOLY CRAP! That is crazy! I will be her coach, I love basketball :)

Monnik said...

Well, they fired the poor old guy. I still feel bad for him.

Jenster said...

There's always more than meets the eye, though, isn't there?

Yeah. There usually is. But most people forget that. You, however, have such a sweet heart.

*sniff* I'm so glad you're my friend!

I am sorry the guy got fired, too, but the description of the conflict did sound a bit amusing.

Monnik said...

Aw, shucks, Jenster. The feeling's mutual. :) Love your glittery new breast cancer ribbon image!!