The group at the community coffee table seemed more animated than the usual Monday crowd so I decided to listen and learn about their topic.
“That coach ought to be fired,” said Pepper Frazier. “He disgraced the university with what he did on television after the game Saturday.”
“All he proved was that he was upset about losing the game,” said Maldeau Charolais. “I want a passionate coach. Somebody who takes winning and losing seriously.”
“But you know he could have calmed down before going on television,” said Pepper.
By then I knew that they were talking about Coach Rounda Horne of Watswrongwit U. On Saturday our team lost to Clipjoint State, and we really wanted to win that game to win our conference championship. We haven’t won the championship since the organization of the Mega-East Coast 36 Conference. This was supposed to be the year, but Clipjoint State won the game.
I remembered how Coach Horne went on television to meet the reporters. He said, “I have a statement. I have nothing to say. Questions?”
Some of us laughed at what the coach said because it seemed like a joke, but then the rest of that time was no joke. The first reporter asked about the quarterback and Coach Horne said that the team lost because of the media, the weather (70 degrees F and clear), the cheerleaders’ megaphones, the other school’s band, the pressure of the fans at home, and television coverage.
A reporter from the Fortnightly Standard asked about a lineman who was hurt.
“Team did well, but Clipjoint cheated. I don’t know what they paid the officials. I don’t know how they intercepted our telephone lines. They did all that and more. Next question. I’m done.” And he left.
The more I thought about Coach Horne’s lack of accountability, the more unease I felt. How were athletes held accountable if the coach was not accountable? And not only athletes, but people in ordinary jobs and everyday relationships along with politicians and those who aspired to be legendary leaders? Where learn accountability? The voices around the community coffee table brought me back to the present.
“—just an intense personality,” said Maldeau Charolais.
“Coach proved one more time that he is willing to blame everyone else, but he will not accept responsibility himself. No accountability,” said Pepper Frazier.
“The Mega Commissioner will probably have something to say about the cheating accusation. That’s poor sportsmanship,” said Strawberry Mgrdichian. “I can see a fine being laid down.”
“Thanks for letting me eavesdrop, but I need to get back to work,” I said.
And that conversation will continue until Watswrongwit U wins its next game or the coach is fired or another politician is bought by another cause.