31 / 365 – Invisible

JOHN CROSS

One of the things I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle coaching in this town were the parents. The dads, especially. Even when we were good, back then, if anybody made a mistake some dad would be yelling about it, yelling at the boy on the team, yelling at Coach Olson. If something wasn’t perfect then it was somebody’s fault. Kids are here to learn the game. They don’t need that kind of craziness.

Well, so far, I haven’t had it. I think I’m invisible sometimes. We have a kid on the team, Timms, who is tall but awkward. He must have grown all of a sudden, his legs won’t get out of the way of his body. Trips over himself. He must have it terrible at home. The first couple of games last fall, I heard a man in the stands yelling at him. I couldn’t hear what he said. We were talking on the bench, I was talking to him about his coverage in man-to-man, and the guy starts yelling. I said, “Is that your father?” He just nodded, he looked terrified. I turned around and looked up in the stands. I wasn’t sure which guy it was, just looked in the direction where I had heard the voice. Never heard it again the rest of the day. I guess nobody wants to fuck with the Indian coach. Sometimes I think people must think I talk a different language, they get all quiet and tongue-tied when I’m around.

Last weekend we played a team from Glasgow and when I walked into the gym they all got quiet. The guys on the other team stared, even the coach stared. Like we must be the wrong team, showed up in the wrong place. They were quiet the whole game. I don’t let my guys trash talk with the other team, and I think that made it even worse. We were too quiet, menacing. I guess I shouldn’t say I’m invisible. I’m maybe too visible. But I’m not sure when people look at me they see another man. I don’t know what they see.

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