A Coach Can do Whatever

September 30th

In the South, there is no room for “soft” or “offended”. It is all considered weak. Truly, a little more of emotions is allowed to women, but still mostly girls in American high schools play soccer. A lot of them. Also, what I noticed to be a difference from a Slovenian high school sports, cheerleading. The school spirit and being a part of the competition is something everyone wants to do. We had only maybe three or four girls in all school that was able (and allowed) to do flip in the air without someone helping them. I am sure more girls could do it, but the gym teachers did not want to risk injuries in school in any sport. Cheerleaders do flips in lines in the US. And they are thrown in the air all the time.

When I came to the Prep game I was thrilled. Crowd was prepared for cheering, male Prep fans were standing shirtless with red colored skins and waiting for their team to come out on the field. It was a big show again, because everything around football is so spectacular.

I was standing on the sidelines with Mike and these moments we had out there were amazing to me. I had a former coach and experienced attorney standing next to me and leading me through the game.

“Get him, knock him down” Mike was saying when he would get deep into the defense. He told me that day he will go to all these games with me until I start screaming and trash-talking like they all do. I believe that is not going to happen so easily, but who knows, right?!

This rough, almost a cruel game, strongly reminded of everything we know about Spartan soldiers. But I could feel it slowly starting to grow under my skin.

I believe the toughest coach in Slovenia would be still considered nice compared to the Southern football coaches. Coach Brewer, who I met after Prep beat Jackson Academy was so called “defense coach.” It means he organized the game only for the part when Prep was playing defense. I never saw a grown man losing his mind like this and screaming at a 17-year old boy in this manner, in front of everybody. I could not hear what he was screaming about, because the crowd and the band were too loud, but I could see from his facial expressions and the tone of voice it was nothing nice. I guess player number 20 did not play his defense as coach Brewer imagined, so when he was coming off the field towards the bench, Coach Brewer aggressively stepped towards him, grabbed his helmet, pulled him face to face and started screaming as loud as he could. The boy just stood there, did not move not even one step back, and took all the screaming as an ordinary statement. He was used to it, they all were. Later when I asked one of the players to explain these relationships, he said “we love our coaches, that’s all to be taken as constructive critics.”

I just had to wait for this coach. I had to talk to him and ask him what number 20 did to him, is he personally angry? Does he have a bad temper? Does he take pills or goes to the anger management therapies?? To make it even worse, Mike was warning me: “Be careful, he might hit you in the face, don’t provoke him, the man is still angry.” I couldn’t tell whether he is being serious about it.

I was almost afraid to approach coach Brewer. He is a big, muscled guy with a rough facial mimics and if I saw him in a dark street at night I would freak out. Actually, even in daylight in a coffeeshop. I waited until all post-game interviews were over and then approached him with a slow step.

“Excuse me sir, are you angry at number 20?”

I went straight to the point. He started to laugh and I saw his transformation to the sweetest, cutest, fluffiest animal you can imagine. What a relief, it’s all just a part of the game.

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