Winning In Absentia


Today marks hump day in my three game Mourinho-esque touchline ban. We played a triple header against Seminole tonight. Per the esoteric terms of the ban, I was able to assist in coaching the freshman and varsity games, but had to remain off campus during the JV clash.

The freshman game was enjoyable as I joined Mr Charm on the bench and helped guide the Bears to a 50-35 win. Mr. Charm’s team seems to be developing an identity, and should have a good second half of the season. Significantly, the team has started to value the ball and has been able to avoid long scoreless spells, and defensively has become solid. During the final two minutes and with the game in control Mr. Charm left the bench to prepare my JV guys. I handled mop up duty with the freshman and went directly from the handshake line out the back door of the gym.

For any coach even as half as passionate as I am, having to endure your team playing without you there is pretty close to enduring death. It may be worse as evidenced by the fact that I had to actually get up and interact with people the day after Mr. Charm guided my once-proud team to a nine point loss against Lake Highland going into the break. If I had been dead, these interactions would have been avoided.

Tonight’s result was far more to my liking a 66-40 win, but to give it perspective I offer this diary of the win in absentia.

5:53 Open gym door and step into outside world. Temperatures unacceptably cold and in the glory of the freshman win my jacket was left on the bench.

5;54 I briefly considered re-entering the gym to claim my jacket, but felt my gloriously theatrical departure would be diminished.

5:56 I am in the car, sans glory, and rather pissed.

6:01 At tip-off, I enter Mcdonald’s in search of nourishment and time-wasting. I settle on a double cheeseburger, no pickle and large.

6:12 The first bad news is delivered by Little Wolverine we are down 17-12 and playing with the energy of Abe Vigoda. I internalize a stream of obscenities, many directed at Mr. Charm and his apparent inability to motivate my team.

6:14 Still stewing, but struck by the realization that success may well hinge entirely on my contributions to the team. I sip deeply from my Coke, and soak in the grander of my own genius.

6:18 We are down 19-12 and have now played over five quarters of miserable basketball without me. I feel bloated. I am short. My team may well be 8-5 with three straight losses including one to a team we beat by 21 less than three weeks ago. I am depressed.

6:24 26-21 us. Wow. What happened? Apparently a couple of three pointers and the upper hand is ours.

6:28 31-21 to the good.

6:30 33-21 at the half. We have endured low energy and foul trouble to three rotation players, but lead by 12. I am optimistic bordering on bouyant.

6:47 43-25. In my mind, arrogant might it be, game over. We are in control. Pencil, no ink it, 9-4. I finish my meal and begin contemplating my conquerer’s return.

6:58 49-28 the 21 point margin of the previous game has been matched. I text Little Wolverine to go “oranges” and close out the game.

6:59 52-28 5:45 to play. I head to the bin and dump my trash. Already thoughts drift to tomorrow’s practice and the challenge presented by Lake Mary, who I have scouted twice.

7:04 60-34 it is a romp. I picture the bench being emptied, role players flying around eager to get on the score sheet. Little Wolverine texts that Mr. Charm says “enjoy your double cheeseburger old man”. Screw him….he lost to Lake Highland.

7:10 66-40. Game over. I meet the team in the locker room and review the stats praising the high achievers….Anthony Valdes, Devon Ortiz, Mason San Souci Dom LeBrutto and Jalen “i don’t give as shit I had 10 rebounds” Ortiz, and taunting 2/10 Barry Beasley and 2 rebound no points Trevor Tinder.

We laugh. We break it down. We win.

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