I once coached a junior high girl’s basketball rec team.
Not sure why exactly. I never played much basketball,
but I dropped a three point shot randomly at a family
picnic and this guy said, Hey, aren’t you Claire’s husband,
and I said, Yeah, and he said, How old’s your daughter?
Three, I said. How would you like to coach a girls’
basketball team? he said next, which didn’t really have
anything to do with my daughter’s age. The reason he
thought of me, he said, is that Claire’s cousin Fiona plays
on the team and the last coach had to move to Florida
suddenly because of a job and since I obviously was a
baller, I’d be a perfect fit.
The thing is, I’m not very good at saying no.
Nice pass! I say. Nice pass. Keep up the hustle. Good one.
Keep it intense. Cheering as a coach is important. I had the
plays from the previous coach. I asked the girls what drills
they had done in practice. I just had to focus on the cheers.
People need encouragement. Especially young people.
Atta girl! Way to go. Don’t let up. Keep up the good work.
Teamwork! Teamwork! Nice screen. Keep it up. Nice shot.
Yeah! Yeah! Crush that. Who wants it more? It’s all about
desire! Push it! Do you want to win? Tell me, does anyone
care? C’mon, ladies, you’re better than this. Focus. Pass.
Breathe. That’s a foul. Ref, are you blind? She fouled her!
Okay, keep your heads up, even though that ref is clearly
being paid off by the other team. I wonder if it’s worth it,
selling his soul just to win a few bucks. Okay, ladies, keep
up the intensity. This is your game! Your game! You own
this game. You own it all. You’re in control of your actions.
Every shot counts! C’mom, ladies, destroy these girls.
Destroy them. Kill them, Beat them, you can beat them. I
know you can. Beat them! Beat them! Beat them! Like a pro!
My father was a good cheerer. He was otherwise a quiet man,
but put him at an athletic event he’d shout himself hoarse.
Didn’t matter if his kids were playing. He’d shout at anyone
playing. I think about him now when I’m on the court yelling
at my girls. I think about how he used to yell, and my last real
memory of him. He’s shouting on the sidelines and the police
come to take him away. He’s still shouting. Driving away, I still
see him in that police car, shouting, cheering. He’s still
shouting now, somewhere, I’m sure, at some sports event. Let’s,
go ladies, I say. Keep up the hustle! Keep it up! You're all
champions! Warriors! Winners! Beat them! Beat them!