Down in the locker room, one of my favorite coaches looked at my team and stated, “I’m sorry. I will not be returning next year to be your coach. ” I sat there almost in tears, because at that moment my love for basketball almost left with him. Billy Martin was a favorite coach of mine. He loved each of us like one of his own, and treated all of us the same. He wanted each of us to succeed and would do anything to help us reach that. Coach Martin instilled in me no matter how talented a person was, you could always beat them by working hard.
I could not believe he would not be my head coach next year, but he did soften the blow by saying he would still be around until we were use to our new head coach. We were all very upset about his department but were anxious to meet our new coach. At this point the team could not really expect what our new coach would be like. It related back to everyday life, people can never imagine what huge event will come next in their life. This event surprised me, none of the school administration had even hinted that our coach would be leaving.
Even though I was stunned Coach Martin was leaving basketball, I later learned that this event taught me a life lesson. Which is true about most events. The lesson I learned from it is never to go by the person’s exterior, always take time to get to know someone. A person can be very deceiving to the eye and that was just how my new basketball coach would be. Now back to my experience, at our next practice in walks a woman that was not a day over 30. I thought instantly, wow I wonder if she even has a clue about basketball.
At the same time I was being optimistic thinking it might be nice to have a woman as a head coach! I had many emotions flooding my head about the woman who introduced herself as Coach Kayla Evans. I tried to stay positive although my favorite coach was leaving. It was difficult but the new lady seemed overly excited about becoming our new head coach. The season ended with her staying right in the mix with us and her always saying she could not wait to practice with us that next summer. Well that summer went fairly smooth, she was nice but strict when she needed to be.
It showcased her love for basketball or so I thought. Our old coach did still come around to some practices, to make sure we were respecting our new coach and all clicking well. The summer workouts showed for a promising upcoming season. Little did I know that it would not be anything near that. She would not be the same coach in the upcoming season. When the season came about the middle of October, the team was super excited due to the promising summer workout sessions we had made it through. The first week of tryouts flew by giving the impression of how great we could be, if we all worked hard together.
Then Coach E, as she preferred us to call her, became the devil. Practice became horrible, it was not for the fun of basketball anymore. It was all about getting in shape and her reputation for how many games we won. This led to running every two seconds, because we were not where she wanted us to be. My team seemed to never live up to her expectations. She thought that by making us run, we would magically get better. After this torture for a few weeks, it became time to actually play basketball. It was our first game and in walks Coach Martin into the locker room right before warm-ups.
You would have thought God walked in, Coach E became the world’s sweetest woman ever. I swear she was bipolar. She never could make up her mind about which coach she wanted to be. Coach E could be the sweet, innocent woman or one who never quits yelling and making us feel awful about our effort. My team and I never knew what would set her off. We all had to be careful what to say so it would not be punished by running. The whole team “walked on eggshells” every time we went near her. Finally about mid way through the season, she decided to call us each into her office and discuss how she felt we were doing.
Some of the players came out crying while others, like me, came out smiling and feeling good about the rest of the season. But what did I know? She was only building me up to knock me right back down. Coach E had a very deceiving, convincing, and lying face. Although throughout that entire year I had a starting position on varsity, the conversation we had made me feel even better about my performances on the court. Later did I learn that she never paid that much attention to me. I guess I was just the only decent player we had to fill the spot.
The reason I knew she felt this way, Coach E would always work one on one more with the new freshman or others who were her “favorites. ” In her mind I was a junior so I did not have that much time left, I obviously did not kiss up to her enough. Although I look back on this experience and figure these ideas out now, I did not think this during this moment. I always tried to look for the better in a person, so I just assumed it was an accident or I was always good enough. She was just good at hiding her inner self beneath a solid face. Coach E knew the right way to convince others of her lies.
Once my junior season ended I felt decent about everything that happened, we never won a game but I knew I had played my hardest every time I stepped out onto the court. Apparently this was not true for all of us. When the next summer workouts rolled around they became ten times harder. Everything became so hectic and miserable that I wanted to quit multiple times, not that I was taking the easy way out, it just was not fun anymore. Our coach became a drill sargent who would not give us any room for mistakes. She never made practice enjoyable or just to let us play for the love of basketball.
It became so bad that at all practices everyone was either throwing up or passing out. Many parents complained that she was working us too hard, to the point of fatigue and unhealthiness. Coach Evans had sucked all of the fun out of basketball. It got to the point of she did not even speak to us unless it was during practice. She became super distant from the team almost as if she did not even care for us. This became quiet clear to the team that she did not want to be around us. It became clear she had a select few of favorites, and I was not one of them.
I was at the bottom of the list along with my sister who had not even been practicing for a month. At this point I was already waiting for the season to be over and I had not even started yet. How was I suppose to know that a coach I thought I would like would become someone so untrue to their self? It was time to start my senior basketball season and I was dreading it. Why? Oh yea, that is right. My basketball coach was a selfish woman, who only coached us to receive a paycheck. After the completion of my junior year, even though it was miserable, I at least thought I would be able to still start on varsity and see playing time on the court.
There I was again being wrong. She never let me play. I did not understand why and I still do not, I mean all we had added to the team from last year were a couple of new freshmen. I am not trying to sound disrespectful towards anyone, but they were not outstanding players who stood out against everyone on the team. It did not make any sense for a player to start every game of their junior year to only start two games of their senior year. Yes I said only two. I was devastated and could never figure out what I had done wrong.
I even went to alk with the dreadful Coach E multiple times to see if she had answers for me, I just kept getting well if you stepped it up in practice things could change. I took that to heart thinking she actually meant it. But not to my surprise she went again lying, I gave it my all and the starting lineup still stayed the same. It was heart breaking to see a woman who I thought liked me and though of me as a good basketball player kick me to the side. What bothered me even more was I got hurt during a game. I was hurt so bad that I was out for over a month. My left MCL had tearing in it so I had to give it rest.
Most coaches would call or text to check on you a couple days after the injury, but my coach did not. She obviously did not care what happened to me or if I ever returned to basketball. It is sad to say but at this point in the season I was almost happy to be hurt, I did not have to listen to her screaming or being punished all the time. I hated to feel that way towards basketball, but in all honesty Coach E made me hate the game. Coach E made me hate her. She could not have been more of a manipulating, back stabbing person. Coaches are thought to be tough yet sensible people.
People that many athletes turn to for guidance about life in general. Through my last to seasons of basketball I was taught not to take coaches for granted. I cannot look a person and make a positive assumption. When I made the positive assumption about Coach Evans I was highly disappointed. I set myself up for it by taking how she acted during the first few weeks and not by really getting to know her. For the rest of my life, I will keep in my mind to always take time to get to know someone. I remember this so that I do not miss out on a solid relationship or set myself up for disappointment.