The score was 54-0 when I decided I would coach Boy The Younger’s basketball team the next season. After all, there wasn’t much room for me to do any worse. Still, this was a bold decision, considering the entirety of my team basketball experience came in one 3-4 season as a high school freshman on my town’s rec team — a season, I must add, that ended with a 123-3 loss, and no, that’s not a typo.
I’ve now coached six seasons of basketball — two each year — and watched some of my core players grow from little kids into tweens. There’s Zach, who, through sheer determination and hard work, became my premier point guard and team leader last season. There’s Caden, my bespectacled center who scored 29 points in a game. There’s Lindsey, who’s also named Caden but we’ve got two of them, Lindsey sometimes forgets he’s not playing football, his natural sport, but no one tries to drive the lane on him twice. Levi’s hair color changes frequently. He’s quiet but a fierce competitor who glides gracefully up and down the court. There’s Grayson, who’s never passed on an opportunity to put up a shot.
And of course there’s Boy The Younger. It’s hard being the coach’s son. They tend to get held to a little higher standard than the other kids just so their dad can’t be accused of favoritism. BTY weighs all of 80 pounds, but if I need someone to set a screen to get a shooter open, he’s my guy. To coach him has been a joy and has made memories for both of us.
We went 0-6 in our first season and improved every season since then, ending 4-2 during a crazy pandemic-influenced season that saw the boys playing in masks a few times. We never got beat 54-0.
And now it’s time for me to decide if I’m going to coach again this coming season.
It’s not that the boys are a huge time commitment. It’s one practice and one game a week. But I’m hugely competitive and spend more time than I should trying to figure out ways to help the team improve. I don’t know jack about how to do that a lot of the time, so I watch YouTube videos and try to determine if my kids would be able to implement what I’m seeing. And for the first time this season, defenses will be able to implement the full-court press. The last time I was involved with a team that played such a defense, I was on the losing side of the aforementioned 120-point defeat, a game I don’t remember too well because I was knocked unconscious in the first half by an inadvertent knee to the back of the head.
The reality is, I have no great ideas on how to beat a good full-court press, and my boys aren’t athletic enough to implement it ourselves. We can play one helluva 2-1-2 zone, but we’re not gonna do any 40-minutes of hell.
And here’s another reality: I’m tired. Very tired. I have been through a lot in the past year. Last season was extremely tough. I was battling Longhaul COVID and sometimes paid the price for leading the boys on a Saturday by being knocked out for the next three or four days. We had a little boy from Africa staying with us who demanded a ton of time and attention while receiving medical treatment here before returning home just more than a month ago. I’ve got a new job, and we live in a new house that still needs to be unpacked and spruced up.
So I’m conflicted. I don’t want to let the boys — or their parents — down. I’ve been blessed to have such amazing support from the kids’ moms and dads, and a few have already asked if I’m coaching again this year because their boys want to play only if I’m at the helm. But I know I’m not in a good place right now to add much of anything to my life.
And I have to make my decision soon.
Beauty and a Beast
There are no real objective measures of beauty, but I think most rational human beings would agree that Charlize Theron is not ugly. Wifey Poo and I had our weekly date today. Boy The Younger went to some huge Fortnite event online, and Wifey Poo and I watched “Monster,” the 2004 movie about serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Theron won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the teeth-first murderer, To think that the people in the pictures below are one and the same is amazing. Theron was awesome in the film. If you haven’t seen it, watch it.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
Uh…. yeahhhhh… that happened.
Ahhh, the opening weekend of the NFL season — my annual reminder that I chose very, very poorly when, as a little boy, I decided to become a Jets fan.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- I finally took Woo-Woo (my car) to be cleaned and detailed, so I want to stick around to enjoy her fresh-from-the-shower scent.
- To continue receiving praise from my son when I grill food.
- I figured out my new photography lighting kit for work, so I gotta stay alive to use it.
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I stopped at the cleaners on my way home from work to pick up a pair of khaki pants that had an unfortunate run-in with honey a few weeks back. As I stepped through the door, a middle-aged woman named Karen (I’m assuming, anyway) was finishing up berating the lone employee. It had something toContinue reading “Karens at the Cleaners – Sept. 7, 2021”
You’re a Wizard, Harry When the Great Awakening of Societal Selfishness began in 2020, Wifey-Poo, Boy The Younger and I began reading the Harry Potter books out loud to help pass quarantine time in a way that didn’t involve baking bread or killing each other. It took more than a year, but we finished theContinue reading “Tony’s The Man – Sept. 6, 2021”
Kitchen Completed It is laughable even to me that I find myself, at age 47, really good at organizing stuff. I am the grizzled aging man with more salt than pepper in his beard who at a different stage of life had to bulldoze a path through dirty clothes, random school stuff and assorted otherContinue reading “Organization Skillz – Sept. 5, 2021”
Sometimes Things Be That Way There are some days that, when night falls and you take stock of all that happened, you just say — or at least think — “Well good goddamn. What the fuck was that all about?” Today has been such a day. I look back at the waking hours and realizeContinue reading “Why Exactly Am I Here? — Sept. 4, 2021”
I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tastingContinue reading “Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021”
An Impressive K Boy the Younger got shelled on the pitcher’s mound last night. As a former pitcher myself, I know these things sometime happen. No one squared up on any pitch he threw. They just hit it where his guys weren’t. And this should happen to him. He’s playing up an age group andContinue reading “Bringing the Heat – Sept. 2, 2021”
I Parent Like China It pleased me a great deal to share with Boy The Younger this morning that the rules he lives under are similar to those imposed on kids by the Chinese government. Our Communist Owners recently banned whippersnappers younger than 18 from playing online video games on school nights and allow themContinue reading “Me and the Chinese Government – Aug. 31, 2021”
Dying Less I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a good thing to stop breathing more than 53 times an hour while we’re sleeping, yes? OK, good. There’s at least one thing that isn’t divisive in this country right now. When I had my first sleep study in February, I was notContinue reading “Dying Less is Good — Aug. 30, 2021”
Believing in Myself So here’s the thing: I have amazing intuition. Believe what you want about humans having only five senses. We don’t. We have more. And for me, one of my strongest senses is my gut feelings about what to do and not to do. I’ve had this ability since I was a smallContinue reading “An Emotional Day – Aug. 29, 2021”
Road Show Coming to you live from somewhere in the Ozarks, where I’m hoping not to hear banjos and have some inbred redneck hillbilly make me squeal for him. Wifey-Poo and I are in the middle of a weekend getaway. It has been a long while since we’ve had an extended period of time toContinue reading “Squeal For Me, Piggy – Aug. 28, 2021”
And the Thunder Rolls My desk at my new office faces out to a busy street – Manchester Avenue – and has a floor-to-ceiling window. I’m absolutely loving it. At my previous job, my desk was tucked away in a corner behind a cube. I called it “My Hovel.” It was a good place toContinue reading “Storm Brewing – Aug. 27, 2021”
Namaste, yo I found myself tonight in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, lying on a yoga mat with 40 pounds of sandbags on my shoulders and chest in a dimly lit studio as soft music tinged by rain sounds caressed my ears. I love this state, and I’ve only found it through meditationContinue reading “A State of Bliss – Aug. 24, 2021”
Sell This House Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think ofContinue reading “House For Sale – Aug. 23, 2021”
Stages of Life Over the years, I’ve found tremendous comfort in the stability of my in-law family, especially with my sisters-in-law and, as time has progressed, their husbands. My own family is pocked by constant drama. It took me a long time to recognize exactly how not-typical my own family is and to realize thatContinue reading “Cheers to No-Drama Family – Aug. 21, 2021”
Wakey Wakey My day started off with a bag-full of my blood being drained, filled with ozone and then dripped back into my while I listened to a cancer patient banter about QAnon insanity as if it were gospel with the nurse in charge of my treatment. How was your morning? So Long, Sonny BoyContinue reading “QAnon Crap – Aug. 19, 2021”
Interesting Things You Say to Your Spouse “Please don’t get killed by anyone using a sharp object. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.” This sentence that I said to Wifey-Poo this morning makes sense if you have a spouse who loves murder podcasts and TV shows. My handsContinue reading “Really Bad Movies – Aug. 17, 2021”
Welcome to the World of Real Estate Starting a new job today was a welcome relief from the drudgery of moving. After getting my ass kicked yesterday in the Great Fridge Swap, I welcomed the opportunity to use my brain instead of whatever physical power I might have left. This is the first time I’mContinue reading “Using My Brain — Aug. 16, 2021”
Perspective Matters I don’t know exactly when I learned it or from whom, but I’ve held “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” as a Truth-capital-T for a long, long time. Today I learned it’s a matter of perspective. Yesterday, I bragged about how I have become Mr. Fix-It. Today, the God of Home Improvement (Tim Allen?) smacked me inContinue reading “Lefty-Loosey, My Ass – Aug. 15, 2021”
Begone, Cabinet! There was a time not long ago when I had zero self-confidence with home repair or renovation projects. It seemed as if every time I tried something, I made the situation worse and often a lot worse. This runs counter to my DNA, as my father is constantly tinkering with things and fixingContinue reading “Mr. Fix-It – Aug. 14, 2021”
Moving Is Fun … … when someone else does it. At just before 9 a.m., movers from Two Men and a Truck arrived at our Wentzville house. There were four men. Within three hours, they’d loaded up all the crap we had boxed and the furniture and other assorted LifeJunk we’ve accumulated through the years.Continue reading “Moving Day – Aug. 13, 2021”
He Got the Shot I took Boy the Younger to get his first COVID vaccine today. He’s 12. I consider this the socially responsible thing to do, and, after struggling for months now with Longhaul COVID, I’m really not all that open to hearing the other side of the vaccine debate. I’ve made up myContinue reading “‘You’re Weird Dad’ – Aug. 12, 2021”