Monday, April 4, 2022

Coach N

 I have this far more than annoying little habit of inserting myself uninvited into other people's business as they attempt to master the intricacies and nuances of some sport at which I pretend to be proficient.

For decades I lectured my wife on how she could improve her skiing, despite my awareness that my incessant pearls of wisdom must have been to her ears as fingers scratching across a chalkboard. On the hill, on the chairlift, even as she wandered into sleep at night, there was no place for my wife to hide. Her thanks but no thanks drowned out by the jarring sound of my constant instructions.

My children's friends, my own friends, even strangers possible subjects of my objectionable behavior. I have through the years found no barriers or limitations to my commitment to my unassigned task. Not only in skiing, but virtually any endeavor that I have stumbled upon in the process of living.

Last weekend, I appeared at my son-in-law's birthday bowling party. I watched the assembled struggle in their attempts to make a ball with three holes respond to their commands, the pins seeming at times to mock their efforts.

I selected one of the guests as my target du jour. "You are throwing around your body. Your release point should be out front." No matter that I hadn't picked up a bowling ball in years and that my glory days as a mediocre participant in a league were nearly six decades in the rear view mirror. Or that I had only the faintest notion of what I was saying. Or that no one had sought my attention or requested my directions, least of all the person on the receiving end of this lecture. 

But listen she did. And that night the fates treated me kindly. For, after one less than satisfactory throw, the second brought a hint of success. In short order, both my pupil and her husband offered me hearty congratulations. As if I had discovered the cure for cancer. And they further reminded me how, years earlier, I had improved this same young woman's ability to navigate on the slopes. OMG this poor person had been my victim twice!

While I left the party shortly thereafter, the victory was not yet complete. For my daughter sent images of the scores and I noted with swelling pride that my student's score had risen past 100 in the second game. And then the birthday boy messaged me a note of congratulations on a job well done.

A word of warning to anyone reading this. Any positive feedback on my efforts only increases the likelihood that you may be next in line for dissection. If I were you, I would just grin and bear it. Because neither rain, sleet, polite request to stop, nor restraining order will keep me from my self appointed rounds. 

By the way, I think you are swaying a bit in your backswing. 


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Anonymous said...

hahaha. terrific!


Anonymous said...

Last line was for me?


Anonymous said...

I was on the Bronx Science bowling team


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Anonymous said...

I have always wanted to master knitting- relying on you Coach N


Anonymous said...

Anytime for me on the golf course


Anonymous said...

My very first golf game was with you. As you might recall, I shanked my very first tee-off, almost decapitating the starter, sitting in his cart a few feet away......behind us. It's been downhill ever since.--RE