Monday, June 20, 2011


Eli 9.10 was in a hockey camp last week.

For him, it was hockey heaven. He skated 3.5 hours a day, which is the most he's ever skated in his life. He also still played in his summer league game on Monday night--and subbed in the second game, too.

There was one thing he had to adjust to, though, and that was the coaches.

These coaches weren't mean, by any standards. They were just more hard-nosed than he was used to, because he's generally had very benign coaches, in terms of temperament.

It made me think about the coaches I'd had, and how some of them made me feel just terrible, because they yelled so much, and I always--always--took it personally.

I couldn't quite understand how to frame it for Eli, because I really couldn't frame it for myself. As I kept thinking about it, though, I finally understood.

That afternoon, I took him to Whataburger for a snack before his last ice session. "So let's talk about coaches," I said. "I want to explain how some of them work."

"How's that?" he asked.

"Some coaches are just like babies," I said.


"Remember how you asked me what it was like to care for a baby, and I told you it was really tough, because all babies could do when they needed to communicate something was cry? So a baby might need food, or its diaper changed, or need to be held, but all it can do is cry, and you have to figure out what the crying means?"

"I remember that," he said.

"Well, lots of coaches are just like that," I said, "because when they need to communicate something--"

"They yell!" Eli said.

"That's right," I said. "They yell, and just like a baby, that's the only way they can communicate. It's your job to extract the data and ignore the volume."

"I can do that," he said.

Having said all that, it drives me batshit insane that coaches are somehow allowed a different standard of conduct than the rest of humanity, but that's a topic for another day.

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