Saturday, November 27, 2010

Crazy Train

During the most depressing times of a losing season (only August through November) Mr. Coach frequently laments how trying this whole coaching "thing" is.  And he calls his buddies and tells them about the losses, wanting to be heaped upon with sympathy and condolences.  He commiserates with other coaches, needing to hear hat it is "okay" and that he should "hang in there" and that the "sun will come up tomorrow."  (Cue Annie music.)

He frequently turns to his supportive family unit for hugs of sorrow and kisses of condolence, but he is met with a She-Nay-Nay finger wag and a "Oh no you dih-ent just ask for sympathy!" look from me.  Why?  Am I a heartless, uncaring beech?  Maybe.  (OK, definitely.)   But the reason I say it is because of my Crazy Train Analogy.  Let me bore you with it.

A man goes to a train station.
A coach goes to a high school and applies for the head football coaching position.

This man goes up to a window and purchases an expensive train ticket.
The coach invests his time and money in making this decision and gladly accepts the job, no matter what the emotional price to his psyche or family relationships.

He knows exactly where the train is coming from and he knows exactly where it is going because he can see the tracks in both directions.
All coaches know that when a job opens up, it is usually a team on the decline of which another poor soul has gotten tired.  Or fired.  Or run out of town on a rail.  It is a team in need of massive improvement.  Leadership.  Re-tooling.  A new offense.  Confidence.  And although the universe was created in 7 days, a football team takes a whole hell of a lot longer, because it is more complicated.

He is handed a pamphlet that outlines the stops on the train and his final destination.
But even though he knows all of this, he is just sure that he will miraculously turn a Yugo into a Ferrari in one season and take home all of the State Championship hardware.

The conductor says "All Aboard!"
The season begins.

Nobody forces him to board the train and he gets on of his own free will.
Since he signed on for all of this knowingly and without false representation or coercion, Mr. Coach cannot complain to anybody about his set  of circumstances.

He sits down in his assigned seat.
He loses more games than he wins and begins to settle into a self-loathing funk.

When the attendant comes down the aisle, he asks, "Can this thing fly?"
He begins to think with each new season that "THIS IS IT!  THIS IS THE YEAR!"  And he wants the results immediately.  Tomorrow is too late.  Next season is an eternity away.  Hurry up!!

The attendant says, "Excuse me?  This is a train."
I say, "Are you completely mental?"

"Yeah.  But I want it to be a plane.  Please make it fly."
He says, "I know we can do it!  We looked good against our JV defense!"

"Uh....," the attendant stammers.
"Uh...," the wife stammers.

"Oooh.  And I would like it to go to Albuquerque, please."
Mr. Coach continues:  "But if we do have some rough spots, I need you to feel sorry for me.  And, I will likely mope around and be hard to live with and may possibly suck your will to live.  Just lettin' you know."

The attendant, now irritated, says, "Sir, these tracks and therefore, this train, does not go to Albuquerque!  You knew that when you bought the ticket!"
Mrs. Coach freaks out, screaming:  (hands on hips)  "No one forced you to do this!  You will not drag us around in your big emotional suitcase of self pity!  You willingly signed up for this Dumpster fire and you knew exactly how things would work out!  I love you, but I do not feel sorry for you!"

The man says, "How long until we get to Albuquerque, then?"
"So, I can count on your sympathy?"


And there ends my analogy.

Welcome to Albuquerque.

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