Well, he made it.
At least for a few more days or maybe just a few hours. I was convinced that last week he would finally be severed by the axe of dismissal.
You met this week’s subject in my last posting, “First Cut”. The honour of being the first person I ever cut, from my lofty volunteer coaching position, was in his sweaty palms. Some of my readers thought I was actually trying to give him a warning, an opportunity to right his floundering ship.
He entered the week on Animal House level triple secret probation. One misstep and he was eligible for obliteration. The expression “on thin ice” wasn’t even closely appropriate. This kid was in my deep freeze.
I entered the week ready to pounce. Waiting for that stumble. Not surprisingly he managed to stumble not once, but twice. Shockingly he somehow still evaded my weaponry.
Clearly if he had read my blog, he sure didn’t take it to heart. He had fake injuries, misplaced equipment, an alleged sore back, followed by emergency breathing issues, and I am sure he lost his homework as well, but fortunately didn’t tell me.
Can’t say I was all that kind about his sticking around. I yelled at him. I lectured him. Kicked him out of team meetings. Sent him home early. Pulled him aside for stern lectures. Made him run lap after lap. Undoubtedly I tested every fibre of his spirit.
To say he passed the test wouldn’t be true. BUT…he did put in two good practices, out of five. His first and second good nights of the year. So while my core players give me a consistent five out of five great practices every week, his 40% success rate was relatively miraculous.
So, for now, I am letting him stay. Clearly there is something about this team he wants, needs, or likes. Perhaps a combination of all three.
I’m seeing some life in his eyes. I am seeing a small flicker of recognition on his face. There is a slight lift to his shoulders.
He hasn’t received a full pardon. But he might have achieved much more.