Being Sir

[Today’s Tale was going to be in the Chronicle, but they’re in transition right now from one editor to another, and it got bumped to next week. In the meantime, here’s one I wrote but never posted]

Coaching basketball for my 8-year old’s team has been a lot of fun. There was one day of practice, however, that was a real challenge. My volunteer assistant coach was out, and I was managing all eight kids myself. Practices were at six o’clock on Friday evenings, so the kids were always a little crazy, but on this day, they were positively out of control.

I was being run ragged stopping fights and getting people back in the drills. Even running a scrimmage didn’t work. At one point, as I was collecting the basket balls, my son shouted “no!” and tried to grab one out of my hands. Cue ominous background music…

I held on to the basketball, so that we were both holding it, and looked him in the eye. “Is this how you treat the coach?” I said as evenly as I could. I can’t really report on exactly what my tone was. I was too angry to be paying attention.

His eyes widened.

“And am I just the coach?” I said.

He looked down, and his hands dropped from the ball. “No,” he said.

“You will not act that way with me,” I said. “Do you understand?”

He gulped. “Yes sir.”

I must have looked really angry, because it was the only time he’s ever called me sir.

On the plus side, though, he immediately became the most helpful assistant I could have asked for, breaking up fights, shoving kids back into line, everything I could have wanted.

Now if I only I could recreate the tone of voice I used… I’ve a feeling I might need it again.

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