Tonight, for the first time in over ten years, I’ll be going to a high school football game as just a spectator. I’m already sick at my stomach over it. I’ll be there with my father, who’s always been my biggest fan. I know he’s looking forward to hearing my “insider’s perspective” on the game as it unfolds, but I don’t know how much there is I can really tell him. I’m going to be there to support the players I coached last year and should have been coaching this year. I’m also going to be there because I have friends coaching on both sidelines. Beyond that, I’ve distanced myself from it these past few months. It was the only way I could think of to keep from hurting.
With that in mind…if you see me tonight…
…please don’t take it personally if I seem a little distant or act a bit aloof. I’m not used to sitting in the stands and really don’t know what I’m doing. And I probably feel like I’m watching my prom date make out with my best friend.
…please don’t ask me why I’m not coaching. I’ve answered that question enough over the past three months. The political answer is because I need to take some graduate classes and I want to spend some extra time with my family. The truth is that my family and my children are more important to me than yours. I know that as a teacher I’m probably not supposed to say that, but anything else would be a lie. It doesn’t mean your son doesn’t matter to me, though. If that was the case, then I wouldn’t there at all.
…please don’t ask me if I miss it. I do. So much so that from where I sit right now the thought of being at the game tonight without really being there sets my stomach churning and the bile rising.
…please don’t ask me about my replacement. He’s only in his second year coaching, and he worked with our Freshman team last year. I barely know him. He’s young, but he always seemed like he knew his shit. I think he’ll do just fine at the job, and I will tell you that he’s doing great whether he is or not. For your sons’ sake, I hope he is. I’m going to be real here, however. There’s a dark, selfish, and egotistical part of me that wants to see him fail.
…please don’t ask me what I think of the defense’s game plan. I had no hand in creating it, but I’m sure it’s sound. If anything goes wrong, it will be a breakdown in execution rather than in scheme. With that in mind…
…please – when there is a breakdown on defense – don’t ask me how I feel about it. Especially if it’s an issue with the defensive line. If/when something goes wrong, I’ll be stuck watching just like you. Except I’ll be watching from beneath the ponderous shadow of the sense that I should be doing something. So, the short answer is this. I feel helpless. I don’t know if my presence on the sideline would make any difference, but I’m frustrated and feeling guilty all the same.
…please don’t make any jokes about me going to talk to the team at halftime. If the game’s going well, they don’t need me. If it’s going poorly, I won’t have a sense of humor about it.
…please don’t ask me about the offense. Please especially don’t ask me about the play-calling. Just….don’t. I’ve been trying to figure it out for years. And I just don’t know.
…please, if we lose, just leave me alone.
Sorry if that seems like such a negative way to start a Friday morning. I needed to get that out of my system. Time to be positive now.
us the team good luck.
As always, thanks for reading.