The gym was quiet. Ten girls sat on the bleachers in complete silence. A man walked in with a binder.
“Good afternoon everyone. I just had a few things to say before I hand you over to your new coach.”
The basketball team nodded their heads in unison to everything the man had to say. After the man had finished he turned around…
“And…here is your coach…..what do you want to be called?”
Across the court a man was tying his black shoes with orange laces.
“…Dan….Coach Dan…I guess.”
“Well…here is Coach Dan.” The man walked away and went back into his office.
It was silent. One girl coughed.
“Hi…I am Coach Dan. I’ve coached boys basketball for over 10 years…so this is a first for me…but it will be a great year. Let me just do attendance roll…whoa, I feel like a substitute teacher here calling attendance.”
He shuffled through his papers.
“Ok…if I call your name…just say here. OK? Please don’t be that person who says ‘present’ instead of ‘here.’ Anyone ever see that happen in class? No? Ok…oh boy. Uhh…I can’t quite read my handwriting here. But, I am going to try and repeat your names. Oh and if you have a nickname that you would rather be called please tell me.”
The new coach wasn’t use to all this silence….he had experience coaching boys…and had spent most of the time telling to “please pay attention”…and “listen.”
But, this new team…this all-girl basketball team….was listening.
“Ok…uhh. Avena? Avena?
A solitary girl rose her hand.
“My name is Angela?” But people call me Angie.”
“Oh ok…Ella? Ella? No Ella?”
Another girl raised her hand.
“I am Emma…do you mean Emma?”
“Geez, I’m sorry I have the worst handwriting…ever since Kindergarten, my teachers said it looked like ‘chicken-scratch.’ But seriously, has anyone seen what real ‘chicken-scratch’ looks like? I mean what exactly is that…I guess i could google that. Not sure why I haven’t done that yet. Sorry, I am rambling. Anyone else nervous? Just me? I always get nervous when I start something new. It’s a new school year, and you probably are meeting a lot of new friends…new classes. It’s new pressure..am I right?”
He saw a few people nod their heads.
“But, try not to be nervous here ok? I am a different kind of coach. I don’t yell…I don’t scream at you…I don’t believe in that. I have had many coaches in my past that made me nervous and made me scared. I don’t believe in that. We are here to have fun and learn the game of basketball, OK? So don’t be nervous…it doesn’t matter if you have never played basketball before…we will all learn together. If you are nervous, just shake it off…like Taylor Swift says…shake it off…shake it off. That’s what I do, if I ever have an issue…a problem…I ask myself…’what would Taylor Swift do?’
Laughter and smiles spread across the team’s faces.
Today’s prompt asks us about the last thing we wrote by hand. And for me, it was the roster list for the new team I was coaching. And of course, I couldn’t read it. My handwriting is terrible. I can’t count how many times I would sit in class and take notes and think to myself..
“Why am I even taking notes….I know I will not be able to read this later. See? See that Dan? You can’t even read the last sentence you just wrote…”