The Interview was a bit ridiculous. It was in Philadelphia, and thankfully I arrived there fairly early and found the floor to get to. There was only one other person waiting, so I’m wondering whether they staggered the interviews or if my odds are that much better. The room I was interviewed in felt cramped, maybe because of the large desk with three people sitting behind it to interview me. The older man was fairly nice, told me that my suit was “impeccable”. The woman with hair in a tight bun seemed a little less so, as she daggered questions like “Why are you not finished with your graduate program yet?” and “Can you speak any other languages?” Considering that I am finished my Masters in a year and a half, I figured that she didn’t have the room to purse her lips at me. But she did. The younger man simply said that my knowledge of the Arabic alphabet and slight words was a good start, and kept his mouth shut for the remainder of the interview. I’m still not sure if it is a position I would take even if I were to get it. Iraq right now? It is a scary place.

The Game was against a team that has technically beaten the team in second place, but is in third place in our conference. The girls didn’t know this- we didn’t tell them. They were so excited in the locker room, they knew it would be a hard game. We got the first possession, Werewolf drove a layup and missed, and our defense looked amazing. They couldn’t seem to get through that defense all night. Unfortunately, their coach (who looked unmistakeably like Gary Busey and ended up acting similarly) screamed to press. The girls hardly remembered our new press break, but when we finally did it ended up to our advantage. Our strongest ball handler would get the ball right at the half, and with our tallest girl at the top of their key we’d have two of us on one of them. Gary Busey was the furious kind of coach, screaming and flailing arms. And spitting. Childhood Friend and I sat there, eyes wide, catching each others face and then cracking up.

I can’t even remember when it started- fairly early in the game. Childhood Friend and I had recognized the ref as being the one that our school district has problems with. He had kicked our friend out of a game once for standing up on the sidelines (coaches are allowed to stand) and then kicked out the assistant coach for having argued that call. It seemed like his reffing was worse today. When we were fouled, it was called on us. Things that no ref has ever called at this level (though perhaps at college or professional levels) was called on our girls. It was though his eyes were hawked down on us. Childhood Friend grinded her teeth and gave me the look that said she was just as pissed as me. Nothing was being called against them, and Gary Busey realized it. His girls started pushing a bit more, boxing out a little too hard. I started screaming, but apparently this ref was also deaf. At the half I led a group of my girls to the water fountain, and in passing heard their coach say “Go ahead and let them shoot- they’re just going to airball anyway.It didn’t help that their assistant coach was working their home book and the clock. At the end of the third quarter I had to pull in the refs and argue that she wasn’t putting up all of our points.

“That point didn’t count,” she said. I countered that she should realize, as a coach, that every time the ref holds up two or three fingers that the points counted. I was snarling, and finally the refs told her that she had to add the points. She didn’t back down, said that they had to follow what the home book said. I bit back that apparently the home book had no idea what the rules of the game were, and therefore we should follow the away book. The nice ref (thankfully he came over!) agreed. The points were put on the board.

There was nothing that could be done though. We were three points away and the ref (who, by the way, had a belt that was wayyyy too tight and cut his rather large midsection into two giant rolls) called the most ridiculous calls on us. I tried to argue, but he ignored anything I said. We ended up losing by only a few points. Though it must be noted that our JV won 22-2. Childhood Friend and I allowed them to keep scoring, as we were livid with the disrespect from the other coach and from the ref.

At least there was one funny part about the game: I followed behind the bus in my car so that I could drive to practice after- as we were driving to the school the path seemed really familiar. I texted Childhood Friend to see if she knew what the name of the school was. She wrote back that she had no idea. When we pulled into the parking lot I recognized it- it was the school that The New Guy teaches at! I haven’t spoken to him since New Years, and before that since late November. At the end it had gotten very awkward, so I ducked my head down as we passed the classroom that he worked in. I was relieved when we didn’t end up seeing him in the stands.

The Crew Practice was immediately after my basketball game so I sped over to it and managed to get there right before warm up. The guys had to do two 6ks, and most wanted to PR. I’ve been trying to work with the coxswain on his calls, but none of it seems to stick. He can’t do a coxing voice, can’t remember all of the calls, and says things like “take it down” or “take it up” without clarification. No matter what I say, he nods his head but then immediately forgets. At one point, he went to call a ten for one of the boys. I head him say “Power ten NOW…One……………..four.” I pulled him aside immediately, told him that if he was going to call a ten that he’d have to call every number. And that he couldn’t be looking around the room while doing it.

The majority of the guys PRed, and one said he’d never had someone cox him through a full 6k like that. I let them have a long rest before the second, which they used to try to bribe me out of their second piece. I wasn’t swayed, though I was a ton easier on the second piece than on the first. The (humorous) highlight of the night came when one of the boys pulled me aside as we were closing up the erg room, saying that he had a question for me. I was expecting a question about how to tape blisters, or how to drop a few more seconds, I think that him asking me to his prom by far the last thing I was expecting. Thankfully I didn’t laugh, but explained that as his coach, it wasn’t ethical or appropriate. He grinned, and thanked me anyway.

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