The Life of Coach Smith


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Smitty's season with the Intimidators

I know absolutley nothing about coaching basketball.
I just thought I'd let you know that. Of course, this thought never crossed my mind when I agreed to coach The Intimidators a local 7th grade YMCA team.
True, my storied basketball career consited mainly of me sitting on the bench of various travel teams, wearing goofy red Horace Grant style rec specs vigorously cheering on my teamates like some sort of deranged Mark Madsen.
"But I know kids" I thought. "They'll love me. I'll be different than any coach they've ever had. I'll be COOL."
Needless to say, 10 minutes into our first team practice, I found myself giving the old "I'll never yell at you guys for physical errors, as long as you go 110 percent at all times" speech, then proceeded to burst a blood vessel in my neck as our point guard threw his 12th consecutive behind the back pass into the stands.
I'lll say this much. I finally understand why my father would frequently call "coaches meetings" on Tuesdays' after Little League practice. He wasn't going over bunt defense strategies with his fellow coaches, it was a time for those guys to sit down, get bombed, and vow that the next kid who swung at an 0-2 curveball in the dirt was most defenitley getting a Louisville slugger lodged up a particularly uncomfortable body orifice. Coaching competative sports has to be at least stressfull as gouging your eyes out with a gardening implement, and so far, just about as rewarding.
As I explain to little Billy for the umpteenth time why he can not, in fact, set a pick that prominently involves a judo throw, or try to intimate the fact to Wesley that the running, no look, over the head, heave from the foul line is a fairly low percentage shot . . .let's just say I look at Bobby Knight in a much gentler light.
At our first practice, after unsucsessfuly attempting to explain the 3 man weave, which if the untrained observer were to watch the Intimidators run,  would seem to consist of 5 players running up and down the court shooting at baskets that may or may not have been, technically, in the Gymnasium, I gave up.
"Uhh . . .just scrimmage for now . . ." I told them, "we'll work on it next week."
I wanted to be Norman Dale, or Pat Riley. Instead, my coaching style more closeley resembles Doc River's during his short lived tenure with the Magic, which was marked by frustration and gross ineptitude.
It's not that the team doesn't have talent. It's just that I, as I said before, don't know squat about coaching Basketball.
Just imagining what it would be like to devote years of my life to teaching kids the in's and out's of the 1-3-1 zone helps me to explain how a decent, god fearing, respectable  man can end up like my old CYO coach, Robert Gagliardi, who somewhat resembled Jeff Van Gundy with a nervous tick, a penchant for violence towards folding chairs, and one of the greatest hobo goatees of all time.
I was about the same age as the kids I'm coaching now, when I was under the tutelage of this Myiagi of the Hardwood, and realize now, that as we all snickered as he drew up play diagrams on the board (his illustrations of the paint closely resembled a crooked, not erect,  male sex organ) this guy was about two giggles away from commiting a homicide, or at the very least, aggravated assualt. And what's more, I can't blame him. There are few things in life more maddening than trying to communicate with adolescent males as they contemplate the hillarity of any joke involving reproductive organs. (the results are even more drastic when farting is involved)   
But then, as just as I think about driving my whistle through my forehead, Nat, the point guard hits little Billy with a perfect backdoor pass that leads to two points, and all sins are forgiven, as I run on to the court, high-fives all around. Yep, I think I'm getting the hang of it.
For now.
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coming soon, the player by player analysis of the 2003-2004 Intimidators. Hubie Brown Style.

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