“So, how late do your conferences go tomorrow?” the head coach wondered.
“I go from 8-5 tomorrow, all day. Sorry I’m missing the match,” I replied.
A nearby player overheard our conversation and offered, “Ahh, Coach R, you’re not going to be there tomorrow?”
“Yup, I’ve got parent-teacher conferences tomorrow.”
“Oh, yeah, my little brother doesn’t have school tomorrow. He said something about conferences,” he responded.
It was a really quick exchange at the end of practice.
I am the assistant coach on the varsity tennis team. We were having an away match the following day that I couldn’t make, because of parent-teacher conferences.
The “Oh, yeah” response warmed me on the warm Spring day. I had been feeling guilty that I could not make the trip with the boys. Those few words from our player validated my excuse. Our head coach doesn’t work at our school, so he doesn’t necessarily know about my teaching obligations. When I had first told him that I couldn’t make it, he was supportive and didn’t question me. So, it was probably just my catholic guilt getting the best of me. Still I appreciated the player’s response because it proved I had a legitimate excuse.
That’s how my player’s seemingly innocuous words landed on me.