Chapter 7
Coaching high school


Dear Mr. Blatch,

I’m sorry about what happened at the Washington Bulls game yesterday. I was in the stands and was, of course, disturbed and saddened. I blame myself for putting you in a position like that. Had I been more professional, you wouldn’t have needed to take on Mr. Holbrook as my replacement.

I suppose with his age and his smoking habit (I saw him chain-smoking outside before the game), what happened was inevitable. I am also saddened that the kids had to experience such a scary event.

I talked to my son about the situation, and I think he’s going to be ok. I told him that Mr. Holbrook went to a better place, to which he replied “He’s coaching high school now?” It was actually pretty funny, but I know this is not a laughing matter.

My son asked if I could go back to coaching the team again, but I had no answer for him. I just wanted to let you know that if you have trouble finding someone to replace Mr. Holbrook, I am available, and promise you that I would behave in a manner befitting the league and its code of conduct.

Sincerely,
Doug McAllister

Chapter 8
Shark attacks and appetizers


“Dead?” Patch says.

“Yup,” I say. “Our team hit a last second shot and he just collapsed to the floor.”

Bandana leans over to Tooth. “Listen to him,” Bandana says. “Our team.”

“What’s wrong with that?” I say. “My son’s on the team.”

Stache shakes his head. “Nah, it’s more than that,” he says. “When I got fired from my kid’s baseball team, I still felt like the team was mine. I would adjust my lineup and devise strategies even after I lost the job.”

I look at Stache like he’s insane, then flick my thumb at him to the others. I don’t have the nerve to admit I was doing the same thing.

“Ok, hypothetical,” Tooth says. “You’re playing your favorite sport. It’s the championship game, you score the winning run, point, goal, whatever. It’s the greatest victory of your life. – your team mauls you, and as you’re celebrating, you have a heart attack and die.” Tooth scans the group. “The question is, is that how you’d want to go?”

“What are the choices?” Patch says.

“What do you mean?” Tooth says.

“Well, if it’s between that and dying during sex, I’ll take sex,” Patch says. “If it’s between that and dying from a shark attack...”

“I’m not giving a choice,” Tooth says. “You have the chance to die at the moment of your greatest victory, or keep living, likely to never acquire the same feeling ever again.”

“So you’re assuming we wouldn’t be able to repeat as champions,” Stache says.

“I didn’t say that,” Tooth says. “I just want to know who thinks winning would justify-”

“Oh wait, so ‘justify’ implies that if you win, you die,” I say. “So it’s a lose-and-live, win-and-die scenario.”

“Well, I wasn’t saying that,” Tooth says. “But ok. If you win, you die.”

“I’ll take that,” Bandana says, his wrinkly eyes scanning the group. “Champioinship game? Yeah, I’ll win it and die.”

“Do we get to have sex right after we win, then die?” Patch says.

“No,” Tooth says. “You die right out there while you’re celebrating.”

“Do I feel it coming?” Patch says. “Do I realize it’s happening, or is it instantaneous?”

“Instant death,” Tooth says.

“Well, you’d feel a heart attack coming on,” Patch says. “So we’re really talking about, like, a brain embolism then.”

Tooth nods. He looks to be losing his interest. “Sure,” he says. “Brain embolism.”

“What about drinks?” Patch says.

Tooth stares, needing more.

“After a big win, part of the winning is going out with your teammates to a bar, having drinks and celebrating your awesomeness,” Patch says. “Can I do that and then die?”

“You know what? Sure,” Tooth says. “You can have a few drinks first.”

“How many?” Patch says.

Tooth looks weary. So he’s playing along, not fighting it. “Three, he says.”

“I don’t even get a buzz ‘til I reach five,” Patch says.

“Fine, five,” Tooth says.

“Do I get any apps?”

“What?”

“Appetizers…hot wings, potato skins, and such.”

Tooth waves him off, and looks around the group. “See?” he says. “Endless negotiating with the grim reaper.” Then to Patch. “So your life is worth some hot wings?”

“Not just hot wings,” Patch says.

Tooth rubs his forehead, exhausted with the exercise.

“You know, I haven’t even gotten to the real reason I’m here,” I say.

Tooth waves me on. “Please,” he says. “Anything to move on to a new subject.”

I begin. “Well, some time around my not getting the coaching job back, my wife informs me that she’s planning a family driving trip to Yellowstone for the following June.”

I look at them as if this is supposed to mean something. I am met with blank stares.

June,” I repeat.

************

Links:
Travelling: Intro / Book Jacket, Chapter 1: Cribbagegate, Chapter 2: Two e-mails, Chapter 3: Pattern, Chapter 4: Shattered, Chapter 5: Hilarious Pee, Chapter 6: Suicide, Chapter 7/8: Coaching High school, Shark attacks and appetizers, Chapter 9: June

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7 Comments:
Blogger Will said...
Is anyone else picturing Mr. Blatch as being Andray Blatche?

Anonymous Flud said...
This is startin' to cook very nicely.... hot diggidy!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Me! (@will)

Anonymous JJ said...
Will, now that you mention it, Mr. Blatch is running "Washington" Bulls. Hmm... just a coincidence?

Blogger Wormboy said...
June

Sweet.

Blogger Will said...
Seriously cool posters of athletes from the late 80's. As a Reds fan, I love the Eric Davis poster.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
“Three, he says.” --> "Three," he says.

Keep 'em coming :)

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