Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Drunk on Deck

"Now that I think about it, my age group coach when I was a kid sure seemed awful tired most of the time."

This Saturday morning at my summer league meet I saw one of those gigantic 64 ounce "cups" from the gas station that looks like a mini-cooler, requires two people to team lift and has been engineered to keep your drink cold until you retire.

"just plan on missing about half of your swimmers' races today for pee breaks."

It reminded me of the first summer league meet I coached way back when I was still trying to decide if this is what I really want to do with my life. One of the swim moms brought me one of those jugs after warmup and said "you're gonna need this.".

I said thanks and took a sip after she walked away. IT WAS BEER! Pffft!!$@*#. Wow. What an eye opener.

So then all of a sudden, there I was, questioning everything I ever knew about my past coaches. Have they been drunk on deck all this time and I never noticed? Was all that talk about excellence just a front to make them sound more sober? If I choose this career path am I doomed to a life of alcoholism? Is the coaching life just one big giant party? ...or did I just cross paths with the greatest swim mom of all time?

Of course, the lady who handed me the gallon of beer was an anomaly. That doesn't happen all the time. I have never been drunk on deck and never will, so please don't think I condone that kind of behavior. I didn't even drink the huge beer that day because I was too scared some kid would come up and say "you smell like my mom" and that would open up a whole other can of worms. And I am pretty sure none of my coaches were ever drunk on deck either, unless they were girl-drink-drunks and were masking the scent with their coconut flavored sunblock.

"that lasht turn was horrible, and if I knew you were gonna pace it like a f@(c)ing a$$*£ole I wouldn't have bovthered to take shplits."

Of course, today at the coaches meeting one of my former swimmers stood next to me. He was a local summer league hero because he split 20 point on a relay at championships, now swims in college and is helping out with a rival summer league team. I couldn't resist asking if he had figured out the "coaches secret" yet.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

I motioned toward all of the coaches and officials in front of us and said "every single person under this tent right now is completely, ridiculously drunk. How can you not smell it?"

Then I added, "At hospitality be sure to tell them you are a coach and give a wink so you can get the good stuff."

He laughed. Obviously he knew I was kidding... but then he said "you won't believe this: one of my twelve year old boys is using a flask as a water bottle! I probably should go sniff it just to be sure, huh?"

"Yeah, dude..." I replied. "If it's alcohol, confiscate it and bring it to me. It's gonna be a long day."


  1. When I was a club coach, I used to think that on the Sunday morning of those 3 day weekend meets that about 75% of the coaches were hungover from the night before. I've never been drunk at a meet, but I've definitely felt the misery of a 14 hour day on the deck hungover and dehydrated.

  2. I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue.