So, after two weeks of teamwork intensive practices, urging everyone to play as a team instead of individuals, and holding forth on why no one should argue with bad calls, the team was put to the test. They passed. Teamwork was solid, no big egos, not one peep about bad calls.
I, however, failed miserably. I acted as if my screaming about bad calls was the only thing keeping us in the game. In just a few seconds, I lost faith in everything. Instead of relying on the team's solid performance, I freaked out. Instead of falling back on my years of experience doing this, I became unhinged. I acted as if the mountains of blood, sweat, time, energy, emotions, and money that I and everyone else have put into the league were not as important as some errant zebra out to make a name. My outbursts cost my team a penalty and nearly got me thrown out of the game. I pouted for several minutes, when I should have been doing my job. Only the stern words of the medic snapped me out of it. Did my behaviour cause the loss? Possibly.
As my coaching career winds down, I am more and more concerned with how I will leave this league. I have never been concerned with my win/loss record (it's dismal), but I now worry that it indicates something really bad: that this league is now worse off than when I started coaching. Fuck a legacy, I should have focused on "First, do no harm." I am now in the position of apologizing for three years of my life, when I only ever meant to help. I know I'm indulging in self-pity here, but I really don't know what I can do to make some positive changes. I guess I should start by not being such a whiny little bitch.
Me to team: "Everyone needs to stop making exceptions for themselves. Everyone. Even me. And don't come ask me after practice if I meant you, because I do."
Skater to me: (after practice) "You didn't mean me, right coach? I'm still an exception to the rule about exceptions, right?"
Me: "Of course. I meant everyone except you."
1) Don't do it for the money or fame. Don't do it for adoration. Don't do it for the power. Not because those are bad reasons, but because those things don't exist in this job.
2) If you stick with it long enough, you will develop a love for the game. This will not be enough to sustain you.
3) Learn to love things like: laying the track, cleaning bearings, and sweeping the floor. The best part about these jobs is that there is very little competition for them.
4) It's ok if you don't know the rules very well. Neither do your skaters. The only people who can call bullshit on you are the Refs.
5) Make friends with the Refs. They see a lot of stuff you don't, and they are perhaps the only shoulders you can cry on.
6) Only one thing feels better than winning.
7) Their triumphs belong to them; their failures are yours.
8) The douche move that that bunch of cheaters used on you last bout should be part of your strategy next bout.
9) The only thing that feels better than winning is knowing you helped someone improve. The afterparties are better for victories, though.
Think about that little girl. Just elected to student council, going to visit her congressional representative. Would you want her to know that her death meant so little that it would be used to rail against a political website? Or a talking head on tv?
Do you think that she, with a naive and innocent interest in politics, would want people to work together after such a tragedy? Or perhaps to take stock of ourselves, and find what humanity remained; and, once we had it, to look for it in others? I've answered these questions for myself, I hope that some other people do the same.