Today was a good day for me. What else is new. I was looking forward to our Sports trip since I had found out about it. My kids make it easier to wake up every morning, so spending the day with them was all I needed to hear and I was awake at 7am. I walked in the cafeteria and stood on the wall, and the first chance they got, my boys started gravitating towards me.
It pleases me so, to know they look up to me. They probably don’t even realize how happy they make me just to be around them, watch them grow, remember things about my youth that I only thought I hated but were really some of the most beautiful times of my life because everything when I was their age was so pure. Watching a child grow into a man or woman is like watching a movie. You know where things are going with them cause you’ve lived through it. And you can take delight in how crucial things seem to them when you know how far they will come in a short time. Luckily I have really good kids so all my movies are good. We got on the bus and went out to the skating rink. They took turns trying to engage me in conversation. I reveled in every moment of answering their attention. When we got to the rink one of my girls came and sat next to me. We’re getting along well, and I hope it continues that way because she’s very special, and her, like with all of them, I want to be able to trust me and know I have their best intentions in mind. We talked briefly but were soon interrupted by one of my boys who’s leaving for a different high school next year. He’s a good kid who’s motivations will probably lead him in directions I wouldn’t prefer for him. But I hope he gets the impact of the importance of good decision making I try to instill in him, because undoubtedly he has many mistakes ahead. It’s just a matter of not getting too far out of hand to where the mistakes make the decisions for him. I can see he’s coming to a point where most of his actions are single goal oriented (and him being a teenager, we know what that goal is) but I can still see the innocence in him when he gravitates towards me. I see the vulnerability in his desire for my approval, and that is gratifying to me to know he trusts me. A couple of my students asked if I would skate to which I responded with a resounding “No” every time, since I haven’t skated in over a decade. But then one of my 7th grade girls, who has a crush on me, built up the nerve to ask me to skate with her. I was so proud of her. She’s not fast, she’s actually a little on the timid side, so I know that took a lot of courage to come ask me that. And when I told her I don’t skate she didn’t walk away meekly. She persisted with a “this would mean a lot to me face.” How could I possibly resist that. Furthermore, what kind of coach would I be if one of my kids asked me to give them an effort and I didn’t just because I wasn’t good at something. So I threw on some skates and akwardly made my way to the skating area with as much coordination as a newborn baby. I think they all enjoyed seeing their coach so vulnerable since usually they’re on the other end of me watching them put forth their best effort, however ungraceful it may be. So my little friend held my hand and guided me around the rink, coaching me. I did my best for a dozen or so laps before all the bending forward that goes with skating, along with me consistently losing my balance, made my back start hurting and I had to sit my old, bout to be 29, ass down. We went back to school and began preperation for our Spring football game. We ended up losing the game, which of course means nothing because it’s simply a scrimmage, but showed enormous strides since the beginning of practice, which does mean a lot and pleased all the coaches. And for our efforts we recieved an uproarious round of applause from our student body which was a fantastic, unprevoked, gesture. Not everyone saw action in the game,and one of my boys tried to leave me saying he quit. I had coached the young man in basketball and track already, so I’m a little more attached to him than others, and I explained to him exactly why he was not allowed to quit. It took sometime talking but I know he listened and I have no doubt that I will see him on the field when practice resumes. And since he always gives me his best effort when I ask him for it, I have no doubt I will see a renewed enthusiasm also.
When I got home I was transfering some of my writings from notebooks into my computer and I started reading some old journals of mine. For a second I started to lament meeting some of the wrong people at the wrong time. I started lamenting meeting a right person at a very wrong time. I relived some of the events I had documented and longed to be back in that time to right them and set my course with them straight or at least painless. And then the face of my little friend in her jeans and red t-shirt came to mind. And I thought of her asking confidently “Coach would you come skate with me?” and I knew that everything that happened was all worthwhile, cause a minor detour keeping me from my present would be a tragedy. And I wouldn’t trade NOT ONE of my kids for anyone in the world.
And I can see already how old I’m getting because the only thing I care to talk about is my kids. And I’m far more interested in their growth, and well-being than in any of the goings on of my peers, or social circle, which is probably also largely attributed to the friend deficit I’m suffering in New Orleans. But I guess that’s just fine for me.