Whistle Stops the Play


One kid was still out on the court. Coach Brown was in his office beside the gym waitng for the team to shower up. But someone was still out there.

PING, PING, dubbadubbadub, PING, fwoosh. He could see that it was Scott Kramer at the far end of the court. He had noticed something out of sorts with the boy during the practice. Reluctance to laugh at the jokes. Unnecessary roughness in the skirmish.

"Scott, take a shower. We have to clear out. It's really starting to snow outside."

"Yeah, OK Coach." The boy slowly placed his ball in the bin and headed downstairs.

It didn't surprise the Coach at all that Scott was much later than the others coming out. This was his second year on the team and he was really starting to carry his own weight. Not quite first string yet, but great in the practices and well worth putting in for at least one-third of the game. He was murder on rebounds and quick shots under the board.

"Scott let me give you a lift home.That snow is wicked. You're on Wellington aren't you. That's no problem at all. Right on my way."

Shortly into the drive Coach took the initiative. "Is there something wrong that you might want to tell me about?"

"Well I don't know, it could be nothing, but then it could be really serious. My Dad hasn't been home for the last three nights."

Instantly Coach got a mental image of a trim man in his upper thirties, slightly balding, raising his arms and cheering more than average from the bleachers. No wife at his side. In the next ten minutes Coach heard of a huge argument the other night and a door-slamming departure. It was tax season and Ken Kramer was an accountant. Many overtime hours. The boy's mother, Barb had a job in administration three days a week at the hospital. There was only the one child.

"I'm really afraid that he intends to stay away. I heard them arguing about one of the doctors at Mom's work. I guess at one time he was her boyfriend or something."

"Hmmm that doesn't sound good. I guess that you will be staying with your Mom, and perhaps hearing her side of things pretty firmly. I'm not trying to judge here. I only know that these troubles usually have roots on both sides. Try to make contact with your Dad, and get him to meet and talk, if only with you."

"The whole thing seems so weird. I never thought it would happen. Exams are coming too, and I have to find the time to work all things out right."

"Scott, I've never told the team this before, but I lost my Dad when I was only fifteen. Colon cancer. Gone in four months. Just like a whirlwind of pain. When it was over I realized that there were so many things I ought to have told him, and didn't. Don't you miss out on chances with your Dad, even if he and your Mom can't work this thing out."

"That's the place there on the left. Big light by the driveway. Thanks for the time and the lift. I'll think about what you said."

"Keep me in the loop on this, OK?"

The snow was letting up just a little now.

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