4. Meeting a Coach with Expectations
The first day of senior year was finally over, and now it was time for football practice. Knight Stadium was not far from the school; approximately nine miles south of the school. As Dimitri was driving to the stadium, he began to think out loud about a couple of things.
“Do I have any talents when it comes to playing football? I have never played a single snap, down, second, or minute of football. Everything I know how to do is from watching and practicing it outside. Ever since I was young, my uncle would have me play receiver and tight end and catch passes. I caught majority of the balls, but of course there was no defense, and who knows if I would have held on the ball. He also had me throw the ball to him and through targets: tires and trash cans. I felt comfortable during those drills, but my footwork needs more improvement. I even work on some defensive drills: cornerback and safety skills.”
Of course Dimitri can’t really answer those questions about himself. The coaches held those answers; all Dimitri could do was prove his talents to them. He also was thinking about Traci, but he didn’t go in deep thought. He finally arrived to his destination.
The moment Dimitri got out of his truck, he was mesmerized just from seeing the backside of the crowd seats. Dimitri walked to the edge of the sideline (the length and width of the field was 360x160 feet) and imagined the stands filled and an actually game being played. Dimitri knew without a doubt that on this field there will be hard-fought wins and emotional losses.
“Excuse me sir,” a voice said, “What is your business here?”
Dimitri turned to where the voice came from, and noticed a woman standing at the end of the stands. He began walking towards her and answered, “Ma’am, I am here for the first football practice.”
“I am sorry to tell you this sir, but you are in the wrong place for practice,” the woman said with a stern tone. “As we make our way to the training facility, I do have a couple of questions for you…”
“Oh, I am so sorry! My name is Dimitri Hill.” He put his hand out and shook the woman’s hand.
“Nice to meet you, Dimitri. My name is Cassie Shaw, and I am the new head coach. Before you say anything Dimitri, since you and I are first to meet, I need to ask you a couple of questions. As a new coach and since team is coming of a ban, what are your personal expectations for the season.”
“Coach Shaw, I personally want to do more with this team than just win. I want to become a family with everyone in the locker room and coach’s office. I am expecting this team to not only prove to all the doubters but also ourselves that we can overcome last year’s suspension.”
Cassie was astonished with Dimitri’s response. She then said, “I can see you have an enormous amount of faith. I cannot wait to see what your talents are, and find out position you will be starting.”
Their conversation finally came to end, as they made it to the training facility. Dimitri walked through the front door and noticed at least forty-two high schoolers getting their height and weight checked; there were additional boys and girls trying out for the cheerleader squad. He sprinted over there and followed the rest of the group (Weight: 182 lbs. Height: 5’9”). Everybody got done and the coaches finally introduced themselves and their expectations for the season.
“Hello everyone, I am Coach Cassie Shaw. I would like to thank you all for coming for practice. I know you all have your own expectations for this season. I want you all to implement these team expectations as well.”
The other two coaches held up a big white board with these goals:
1. Treat everyone on these team like A Family.
2. Be committed to this team on and off the field.
3. Do not react to stupidity from other teams.
4. Have fun and win games!!!
“With all that said, I want everyone to look around and see who exactly your teammates are. As you can see, there are not only boys on this team. This year there are three girls trying out for this team, and let this be own, everyone is trying out and every position is on the line. This team is built from competition, and not on special treatment. Before I end practice, do not forget to get your physical completed and brought back by tomorrow. Once again, thank you all for coming and I am looking forward to coaching this team. Practice is over.”