A Question of Fashion?
In 1992 I accepted a position to teach sciences at Belleisle Regional High. The school had developed a very successful rugby program, and that fall the teacher who coached rugby wanted to start a senior club; ie, an adult team for which graduates could play. I agreed to help anchor the team.
The rule was, in order to play for the senior club you had to have graduated from high school. That fall, most of the fellows who played were previously unknown to me; however, as the years went by, more and more of my former students became teammates. Years later, when we won our first provincial championship, eleven of the starters were former students.
I should point out that because I taught at the high school and was considerably older than my teammates, I was given more latitude than the rest of the team. I also brought twelve years of playing experience so was able to serve as an on-field mentor to many of the guys. I like to think that they treated me with reverence (they might suggest otherwise).
I forget the year but we were playing a club in Fredericton. Most of the players had been taught by the coach and me, and, as I recall, we won the game, but the coach wasn’t happy. He had us gather around and started in on his rant. It was true, much of our play was sloppy and not well coordinated and a number of tackles were missed, but there were many positive things that could be said about our play. He chose, however, to focus on the negative. He was relentless in his angry criticism. We were harangued from all directions. Most of the fellows stood there with their heads bowed down.
I figured the coach had made his point but he needed to get it all out. He continued and we listened. Finally he said, “ARE THERE ANY QUESTIONS?”
All was quiet. Finally I spoke, “I have one coach.”
“What is it (nickname)?”
As I rotated my body 360 degrees I said, “Coach, do you think these new shorts make my bum look big?”
He stormed off. The diatribe was over. The fellows were saved from any further tirade.
But he never did answer my question.
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