Notice to all Park District Administrators:
Do not hire any coaches with two distinct,
different half-faces. Or Brad Childress.

Chapter 2
Two e-mails

From: Doug McAllister
RE: 4th / 5th Grade Boys Basketball Team – Washington Bulls

Greetings parents,

My name is Doug McAllister and I will be coaching the Park District 4th / 5th grade Washington School boys basketball team - the Washington Bulls.

This is my first time volunteer coaching, but with my son Edwin on the team (and with him being the only one of my children who isn't mortified to have his dad be his coach!), it seemed like a great time to give this a go. My priorities as coach will be to have fun, and teach the boys to be better basketball players. Winning, while nice and hoped for, will be secondary. When our season is done, I hope to have shown the boys a few things about how to be better / more skilled players, and to leave them wanting to continue playing basketball because they've had a positive experience in the league. The league's "mission" is 1.) safety and 2.) everyone plays and everyone has fun. I plan to stick to that mission, and hope all of you will fully support me in it!

I will contact you with further information about uniforms and practice / game schedules.

Doug McAllister

Wow. I sound very reasonable and pleasant, don’t I? Hey, I meant all that stuff when I wrote it. How was I to know the games would get so intense, with parents screaming from the sidelines, and other coaches yelling for blood? I mean, yeah, I observed all that last year, but I was planning to be the voice of reason. I was going to be the one who kept calm in the face of adversity and chaos.

Cut to me on the sideline of a particularly brutal game, sweating like the engine room operator in a submarine movie, telling my own son to hard foul the other team’s best player.

“What, dad?” Edwin asks. He looks confused, which is understandable. At practice, we never covered playing dirty.

“Just foul him hard,” I say in my best Karate-Kid-villain voice. “We need to make him think twice when he comes into the lane. You know what I mean?”

Edwin nods and returns to the court in a stupor. A word of advice – never say “You know what I mean?” to a 9-year-old unless you are absolutely certain that you know they know what you mean.

Long story short, my volunteer coaching career began with an e-mail, and ended with another two weeks later:

RE: Park District Code of Conduct Violation

Dear Mr. McAllister,

I was present at the Washington Bulls / Irving Heat game this past Saturday, and was disturbed by the flagrant foul involving your son Edwin and the Heat’s David Flanigan. While I was initially satisfied with your handling of the situation, I have since been informed by other children on your team that they heard you instructing your son to be physical with the Flanigan boy.

This behavior is not acceptable by our league’s code of conduct. Please return your basketballs, first aid kit, and clipboard to the Park District office as soon as possible, so that a replacement coach can pick them up before next practice.

While I am obliged to remove you from your duties, I will not punish Edwin. In my experience with him, he has always been a pleasant, sensitive, non-violent child, and will be allowed to remain on the team despite this incident.

Thank you for your attempt to get involved in youth sports. I am sorry things could not work out.

Gregory Blatch
Park District Athletic Director

Somebody once said if you’re going to be bad at something, be the worst at it. Even that person probably didn’t get fired two weeks into a volunteer kids’ basketball coaching gig. So, in some respect, I suppose I deserve congratulations.


Links: Travelling: Intro / Book Jacket
Chapter 1: Cribbagegate
Chapter 2: Two e-mails
Chapter 3: Pattern
Chapter 4: Shattered, Chapter 5: Hilarious Pee
Chapter 6: Suicide
Chapter 7/8: Coaching High school, Shark attacks and appetizers

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Blogger Japes said...
LOL, wow. I actually recently had this argument with a coworker. We were talking about Brian Cardinal's "HARD" foul on Bosh. You know, the 2 handed smack on Bosh's face with no play on the ball?

He claims it's a legit hard foul, I argue that it should've been a flagrant because he made no play on the ball. Hard fouls are one thing but you should never ever go for the face, that's not basketball.

Anyways, now I'm curious. How hard was your sons flagrant foul?

Blogger chris said...
That level of coaching would have made you a member of the Clippers' ring of fame...if Donald Sterling ever bothered to spend the money on one.

Good job. :D

Anonymous The Other Chris said...
That. Is. Amazing.

I don't always coach children's basketball...

But when I do, I instruct my son to violate the league's mission.

Evil Ted: Putting the "Evil" In "Ted" since the times of Basketball Jesus.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Stay angry, my friends.

Japes - The severity of the foul will be revealed in chapter 3.

Blogger Unknown said...
So did Edwin do his own Kevin McHale clothesline of Kurt Rambis?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
But the question needs to be asked... After the "hard foul", did the kid drive to the lane anymore?

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Don't spoil anything, apoc...let it come... ;)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
From the looks of it you should have been coaching the Irving Heat instead.

Blogger Will said...
I like how you stuck to the duality theme by referring to the Heat's David as both Flanigan and Haney.

Blogger Japes said...
Now you got me waiting with great anticipation. Reminds me a lot of the cliffhangers in Livin Large. :)

Blogger Dan B. said...
This is so fantastic. Good job, Evil Ted. Uh, I mean "Doug."

A word of advice – never say “You know what I mean?” to a 9-year-old unless you are absolutely certain that you know they know what you mean.
This may be the truest line ever written on this blog.

Blogger chris said...
A word of advice – never say “You know what I mean?” to a 9-year-old unless you are absolutely certain that you know they know what you mean.

I have a sneaky feeling he knew what you meant...a little too well.

We'll see tomorrow.


Anonymous Sid said...
Washington Bulls + ET= BullETs.
It was destiny.

Seriously though, the voice of reason asked for a flagrant? Little leagues do change people.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I smell blood.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Will - Thanks for catching that. Fixed. I welcome any and all to pick out typos or errors to me...I am proofreading this myself, but will do a physical self-publishing of this after it has been fully unleashed, and typos, much like LeBron James, are the devil.


Blogger Will said...
ET- I figured it was goof, but part of me thought you were taking the "protecting the innocent(?)" to its fullest extent.

Anonymous nico said...
Bravo, great work as usual!

Blogger chris said...
Part of me seriously hopes someone caught this flagrant foul on camera and put it on Youtube for the sheer comedy of us Bawful readers.

Blogger chris said...
And since "mission" is in quotes anyway, it's not as if such trifling matters as behavioral expectations were important!1111!1!!!!

Anonymous Patrick said...
The league's "mission" was "1) safety"?

Perhaps this is because I don't have any kids, but it strikes me as absolutely ludicrous for the *top priority* in a sports league, even a kids' sports league. If "safety" was *really* top priority, you could accomplish that better by keeping your kids locked up in a germ-free closet. All sports require a physical risk, which is partly the fun of plating sports.

Again, this is possibly because I don't have kids; but it seems "having fun/everybody plays/become better basketball players" is more important than such a trifling thing as "safety"...

Anyone else bothered by that?

The story is *really* funny, though.

Anonymous Tripledubs said...
Man, that was great. Hilarious.

My son is three. He is addicted to basketball already which is great. I'm extremely competitive so this story made me chuckle as I wonder what advice I will be passing on to my boy in the years to come. Classic.

Blogger Evil Ted said...
Patrick -

I can see where a person who is not blessed to have a few crumb-grabbers might consider that ludicrous, but it is the actual first "mission" item of this league and as a parent, I can tell you, it's bizarrely comforting to see that as a top priority even though there is no way on Earth to guarantee it.

"Safety" means: "When a child breaks a limb or passes out, we will immediately stop play to get them off the court," and "We are not going to fire poison darts at them a la Indiana Jones while they are playing."

In previous years, the league's primary mission statement was "Putting your child in peril and jeopardy whenever possible," but this, curiously, was not popular, thus the change to "Safety."


Anonymous sixtyeight said...
Man this takes me what you'd call 5th or 6th grade I played in an international tournament, we had our own star player who was simply too fast and too good for most kids to guard, expecially running the fast a close game against a czech team we were making a run thanks to his superior skills and the opposing team coach called a timeout and started screaming at his players; the next possession our guy stole the ball again and started the break, but suddenly this skinny czech kid bit his head, ozzy's a few seconds he was covered in blood and in a state of shock...he couldn't recover, became afraid to run the break or attack the basket and we lost the game. So ET,any chance you were coaching in europe in the early 90s? :)

Blogger Wormboy said...
Gold, Ted. Pure gold. The reason stuff like this and Living Large works is that it is real and human. Well done.

@Japes: LOL, wow. I actually recently had this argument with a coworker. We were talking about Brian Cardinal's "HARD" foul on Bosh. You know, the 2 handed smack on Bosh's face with no play on the ball?

I debated this with myself at the time. On the surface it looked like a flagrant, since the ball wasn't there. But the ball was fouled away by Barea during the shooting motion and Cardinal hit where the ball would have been. Can you hold a player responsible for a split second loss of the ball, or do you allow for the intent, which is hitting the hands that had the ball 0.2 seconds before? By that interpretation, Cardinal was just trying to ensure that the ball didn't get shot, and there was no intent to hurt. Since they always talk about intent with flagrants, I considered the "no flagrant" the right call. I'd be interested in how others think about this take on the play.

@Patrick: The league's "mission" was "1) safety"?

Given that so many parents a) just want their kids to play an innocent game of ball and b) tend to coddle their kids by metaphorically bubble wrapping them more than previously, you can see why a league would emphasize this point. You could even argue that it is a bit of "code" to discourage, well, play-calling like Ted's. ;)

Blogger Wormboy said...
PS very nice painting, technically speaking. Good choice.

Also, I can't wait to hear the commentary from the wife. That should be one beauty of an installment!

Anonymous Patrick said...
@ Evil Ted

"In previous years, the league's primary mission statement was "Putting your child in peril and jeopardy whenever possible," but this, curiously, was not popular, thus the change to "Safety."

HAHA! Ok, ok. I guess I just thought "when your child breaks a limb, we stop play" and "we don't fire poison darts" were so *automatic* that they need not be mentioned as first priority. Like "sure; we're not gonna let your kid get *really* hurt over a basketball game"; that seems like an automatic thing to me...

Alas; I got to believe this is something people with kids worry about. I'm very grateful my folks were the blue-collar-Detroit-"walk-it-off" type; or else I wouldn't have had the chance to fling my body around various athletic fields all these years...In my day, we were told to "come down with a 'Z'" when you grab a rebound - even at 11 yrs old - so that your elbows were pointed out and nobody could take that rebound from you...But it was the Detroit area in the post-Bad-Boys days.

Anonymous Vic said...
Stories like this is why I always remember to come back to basketbawful even in the middle of the FUCKIN SUMMER. Hilarious read, loved every word.

Blogger Dan B. said...
"We are not going to fire poison darts at them a la Indiana Jones while they are playing."

You didn't get to do that? Well damn. Guess I won't be coaching youth basketball whenever I become a parent after all.

Anonymous Adrià said...
Great post great comments... Summer is ALSO good.

Blogger Mt. Wood said...
This kid is tearing us up! He's pounding the paint. No! Better defense is never the answer! Smack him around! Teach him a lesson! Tackle him, and whisper in his ear if he keeps it up you and the team will be meeting him in the parking lot! Tell him you've all got shivs. . . and your parents voted for Dubya, TWICE! Run the bastard right on through! Plug him like a gila monster! After all its not like you're a bunch of kids out there, just trying to learn how to play the game! Screw creating a 'positive experience,' ROUGH HIM UP! Curb stomp him!

WE MUST WIN THIS GAME! Don't you see?! Its the first game of the season! Kill em! Hang em out to dry! You know what I mean?

Anonymous dave m said...
I would have given Edwin carpet nails.

Blogger TeamD said...
Poor Evil Ted, he didn't get some from his wife in months now...LOL

Anonymous D. Highmore said...
Oh ET... NEVER tell kids to foul hard. Reminds me of my brief stint coaching at my high school when I was 18. I was basically de facto coach of my team by then, so when I was asked to coach the JV team I jumped at the chance. Went well, too.

That is until we played our biggest rivals. With a few minutes to go we'd choked away a huge lead, so I called a timeout and told the boys that the next time someone drove the lane, put his arse on the floor. Next posession our PF clocks his opposite number right in the face. I'd have gotten away with it, had he not turned to me and shouted "Was that hard enough coach?"...

I never coached again.