Believe it or not, I have a friend, who recently became “famous” for quitting. Well, at least “internet famous” (in Tucson only) when he quietly retired.
Not the take-this-job-and-shove-it retirement… he’s a teacher at a Catholic school. He will be filling kids with God’s guilt for not doing their calculus homework until the day before he drops dead.
No state retirement plan from the church… “Catholic teachers will be eternally rewarded” — in the non-existent heaven. Celestrial slavery… but I digress.
My friend just quit coaching high school tennis.
And WTF, he didn’t tell any of his “friends.” The news was first spread on an internet web site, spurred on by a local sports “leaker”. Snitches get stiches, Kevin. And you might want to do something about that bladder (or buy some Depends).
Normally, this kind of news isn’t even good enough for this Bullshit site, but I was amazingly amused by one phrase buried in the second paragraph. See if you can spot it…
“Condes took up the coaching challenge 32 years ago and now, some eight championships later, he has earned the right to step away and work on his own game.”
Work on his own game…
Holy fucking shit. After 32 years of playing, you don’t get better. You just get closer to death — or being relegated to Pickle Ball (please kill me first).
Pushing 60, you are not suddenly going to start beating any decent high school player or winning championships.
After 3 sets of mixed-doubles, you’ll be lucky if you can make it up the stairs to the bar without your knees cracking like raw pasta.
The real retirement challenge will be making it back down the steps after sitting for an hour and hoisting a few. You might just hit the Nelson Step and break your face.
Work on his own game... he’s going to be spending more time working on which joint to replace first. It’s usually a race between hips or knees, and in Condo’s case, the over/under on knee replacement is 3 years.
Work on his own game… he can spend hours in his new found “free” afternoons drilling ground strokes, hitting serves or even taking lessons. But he will just be playing with himself (as usual). The rest of us still have jobs, and can’t just show up at the Third World club at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday.
When the news hit, I was standing next to Condo, and all our other “so-called friends” were coming up and quickly asking him “Why Quit?”
Wrong fucking question. The real question is, “Why did you do that for 32 years?”
It ain’t the money.
Pay for high school coaches is maybe $5 per hour — that’s usually how much it costs the coach to pay for shit the kids need or the coach needs –sunglasses, hats and team shirts are not free, you know. I’d have to take a loan just for the sunscreen.
It ain’t the fame.
When the team does well, people say “good job,” and that’s about it. When they lose, everybody blames the coach. I have yet to meet the high school athlete who didn’t think he could have been better if he had the “right coach.”
Maybe it’s the competition.
There’s gotta be something that drives people. I quit coaching after 3 seasons, and that was about 2 too many. There’s some appeal in the influence you can have on the young. You can be a voice of reason in what is the “tragic age” for almost all of us.
A Selfish Prick
But that’s little recompense for the hours in the sun, hours driving the team van, or the lost weekends at what feel like endless tournaments because one kid refused to lose like everyone else — so we can all go HOME. Most people call that kid a winner or a champion. I say he’s a selfish prick.
As a society we treat our teachers like shit. In most cases, I think it’s even worse for coaches. Condo may have been a happy warrier, but that’s rare. And that’s why sane people don’t last for 32 years coaching any high school sport.
After other people read all this shit, let’s see if I still have a friend left. Odds are 3-1 against.
Aug. 7, 2019.
Through text and rumor, I heard Condo liked this bullshit story. He took the under on the knee replacement.
“Hey thanks for the article,” he told me last night. “The picture looks just like me.”
This was the first time any single individual has thanked me for the bullshit I wrote about him…
People have thanked me for making fun of others, and one person thanked me for the post mortem story I wrote about her dad. But Condo is such a unique human, he said thanks for this shit about how old and broken down he is… Might explain why he lasted 32 years at a thankless job.
Condo’s players threw him a goodbye party… I didn’t get to go, but heard it was great…
Maybe these kinds of connections make a thankless job worthwhile? Jury is still out.