Sunday, January 24, 2010

Everything You Ever Needed to Know about Mr. Coach…

…you learned playing Risk with his son.

This is for Mr. Coach’s swimmers who were so very kind as to teach my son how to play that classic board game Risk when we were just down in Florida.  I don’t think it took them long to regret that.  No one likes to lose an entire continent to an 11-year-old. 

But as tempted as I was to feel sorry for the guys, I realize this was probably a valuable learning experience for them.  That’s because Little Mr. Coach is, in many ways, a carbon copy of his father.  The swimmers can complain about every last curve ball that Mr. Coach throws at them in the pool -- the unusual workouts, the strange time-trial distances, the unexpected applications of PVC tubing and the second law of thermodynamics -- but at least now they know there’s a genetic component to the insanity.

You see, not long after Little Mr. Coach learned the basic rules of the Risk game – you roll dice, you acquire troops, you take over the world – the college-aged swimmers were complaining that he was hard to play against because he was so “unorthodox” and “unpredictable.”  And your point would be what exactly, guys?

But what else did you learn about the Coach family males through the game of Risk?  Well, you learned that the Coach boys refuel early and often with peanut butter and apples.  And they’ll share what they have to eat but you better be prepared to share what you have -- even if all you have is a promise not to attack them in any Asian territories or to swim the 400 IM without whining.

You also learned that ADHD is not so much a learning need as it is a lifestyle choice.  Now there are some people in today’s world who do consider uncontrolled energy and a fragmented attention span to be liabilities.  I say they’re only liabilities if you think the ability to sit still and focus on one thing at a time is an asset.  And last I checked, sitting still and focusing on one thing at a time was not in the job description for swim coaches.  Or global domination.

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