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Athletic assignments

Posted: January 11, 2013 6:01 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2013 5:00 a.m.

How I ever had time to each English with the other chores such as essay contests, speech contests, compositions for other personnel, hall duty, nonsensical meetings, debate team, the Beta Club, not to mention the athletic department, I do not know! Earlier, I wrote about being a football coach, never compensated by money or the accoutrements such as jackets, rings or letters. Never, however, have a I divulged my involvement in the realm of basketball.

One day during tests, a young man came and stood outside my door, bounding a basketball. Having early learned the skill of tuning out whatever was nonessential but staying in tune with potential trouble, I ignored him until a student called me and said, “Can you please get him to stop? It’s so distracting.” I went to the door and politely asked, “Please stop bouncing the ball.” The young man looked at me and bounced the ball again. I, still politely, said, “Please do not do that again; it distracts the students who are taking tests.” He bounced it again with a challenging “what are you going to do about it” look. This time, with authority, I stated, “Do not do that again,” knowing full well he meant to do just that and seeing the trajectory of the ball was exactly the same. We locked eyes. Just as I expected, he dropped the ball for what he expected to be another bounce. I stole it. What he did not know was that the high school basketball coach had been totally distressed when my mother demanded I drop basketball after jamming my finger. Piano was a more ladylike pursuit. I had learned skills, however. He was stunned and angrily said, “Give me back my ball.” In charge and without malice, I replied, “No, you can retrieve it after school” and locked the ball in a closet. Really furious, he threatened, “I’ll get you for that.” I ignored him, went back in my class, and quietly closed the door.

While I cannot be sure what happened, I think one of the members of my class went to Mr. C. and told him of the incident. Anyway, at the end of school, the first thing I did was take the ball to the office and tell Mr. C. someone would probably come for his property and explained the matter.

I was rather surprised later that afternoon to hear a knock on my door. It was the young man. Mr. C. had probably told him he had to come apologize. The young man’s apology was, “I was mad.” I replied, “Oh, don’t worry; I had a whole class of students who heard your threat. The truth is, you want me to be safe as long as you are in school. Otherwise, many witnesses will come to testify.”

Both us were speaking in regular tones, and I believe I smiled. He got the message. When you have underestimated your opponent, you have to be a good loser.

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