I Came This Close – Part II

… continued from last week

So let’s put things in perspective.

This event took place on the rugby field. I was asked by the coach of the boys’ team to give some pointers to the scrum (the 8 players who bind together when a ball is put into play). Two scrums were formed I had them facing off against each other. I watched what they were doing right and for what could be improved.

At one point, I realized that it would be easier for me to demonstrate the point I was trying to make. I asked one of the front-row players to step away. I took his position and asked him to watch what I was about to do.

Now across from me was one of my students; a tall, strapping fellow. I’ve always had a high expectation for behaviour in my classroom and Chad was one of those guys who was constantly testing the waters. We were often locking horns. I knew he didn’t like me very much, but I kept it professional.

My demonstration had me facing off against Chad. All I wanted to do was show how I was positioning myself, but when I leaned into Chad he started pushing on me. In reality, I should have stopped the process and explained that pushing was not required; however, I wanted this fellow to know that he didn’t have what it takes to push me backwards. I pushed back. He pushed harder. I pushed as hard. I think he was giving me all that he had. When he realized that he was not able to move me, he turned his head and stuck his tongue into my ear.

I lost it. In that moment I was not a teacher/coach instructing students, I was playing senior rugby against a tough and dirty opponent. I broke my bind, grabbed him with my left hand and cocked my right arm back. I said something rather unprofessional. I had him dead-to-rights. I could have dropped him so easily.

I quickly gained perspective. I let him go, stepped back and dropped my arm. I turned to the coach and told him I was done. I jogged back to the school.

I have often wondered what would have happened if I had punched him in the face. I picture myself in a courtroom and the judge looking down at me.

So, Mr. Caines, you admit to punching this student in the face?”

Yes, Your Honour.”

That’s inexcusable, but I am curious to know why you did so.”

Your Honour, he stuck his tongue in my ear.”


“”He stuck his tongue in my ear.”

In that case, go punch him again.”

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