Semifinal Madness

Chapter 38, Blog 3

By Chuck Wells As Told To Ray Hochgesang

chuckwells2008@gmail.com

 

“Harry, you know, Franz has been telling people that I’m too old to be here, too,” I said. “And guess what. I’m not going anywhere until the bastards tell me to go home.”

My coach blinked.

“What if Franz is right?”

Harry ducked as the ice bag flew over his head and crashed into the wall. I didn’t throw it hard, just hard enough to make the point.

“If you didn’t yell at me all the time, it would be better.” I said. “All that verbal abuse doesn’t help – not one damn bit.”

“That is how I coach. That is who I am. You really think someone my age wants to change the way he operates?” my coach asked. “Can I help if you Boomers are thin-skinned?”

“Thin-skinned? Whose fault is that?”

Harry looked away.

“You know how old I am,” he said.

“103?”

“Very funny. I’m 84 years old. And believe it or not, at 84 one still has hopes and dreams. And to have your hopes and dreams personified in a 49-year-old who thinks he’s 15, well, that is complete …”

“Lunacy?”

“Exactly. Off your rocker, out of your mind, wrong side of the road …”

“Enough, I get the picture.” I said. ‘We’re both tired and screwed-up. You know it. I know it. Take it easy, OK? I know I didn’t do my best. Can we put it behind us and move on?”

Harry stared at me.

“All right, I guess this is what has me all tied up – the semifinals. It is the toughest race of the three.”

I suppose this was not a good time to tell my coach I had wrenched my back by swerving out of the lane on the curve to pass.

… yeah, moron, let it go …

“How in the hell can that be? I thought the first one. Or the finals. Or, or …”

Harry shook his head.

“Nope, this will be it,” he said in his earnest baritone. “You are already through the first one. How? Search me … ”

“Can we PLEASE move on?”

“The final, well, anything can happen in the final if you get there,” my coach said, laying his head on his pillow. “There, you have an extra day of rest.”

“Yeah?”

“It’s this one that has broken some of my very best thoroughbreds. In fact, my last one,” he said. “Why? I do not know. I have dwelt on it for the last 20 years.”

“And no doubt, dreamt about it last night,” I said. “You must have some clue.”

“Sure, I do,” said Harry. “But I am not about to tell you the night before.”

He yawned and turned over.

“Some freakin’ coach I’ve got.”

Instead of responding, Harry began to snore.

Copyright © 2013 by Chuck H. Wells/Ray Hochgesang

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