And the Season Ends
It was an ugly cry. Racked with sobs and a face full of fluids, she cried and cried for a good fifteen minutes. Those of us gathered around her tried to offer comfort. She was having none of it. It was a monumentally sad moment for her, and an uncomfortable moment for the rest of us. Teammates had gone on their way. Some had deliberately avoided goodbyes of any kind, but she had insisted on waiting for the coach to come out of the bathroom. She needed to give him a proper hug and thank him for all of his work on her behalf. As she threw her arms around him, he hugged her back awkwardly as we looked on. He chuckled and reddened as she continued to sob and sputter. He graciously thanked her for all of the hard work she had put in during the season and he told her she could call him, anytime, if she needed any help on the court. He’d work with her on her shot or ball handling. They both knew she’d never call him and the only time she’d be seeing him again was when they ran into each other as one team’s practice was ending and another team’s practice was beginning. She was moving on to the next level and he was staying with the group she was leaving. He was pushing her out of the nest that she had carefully feathered and thrived in, but she wasn’t ready to go. He knew she’d fly, and so he pushed her, Just like that.