More from The Drawer

Here is another draft of a passage for Overtime that I did not use for some reason or another. Here you get a glimpse of how the coach conceived and planned his own career and you also get a clue as to how things actually turned out for him. If you played in high school and it still hurts, you really ought to try the book.

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In my first season as a head high-school coach I began writing. My aim was to keep a regular record of the team’s activities and my own reflections, impressions and analysis of what was right and what was wrong in our camp, day by day and week by week. I never styled it as such, but I fancied, deep down, that one day these notebooks would be a part of the research for a book about my life. When I made it into the top ranks of college coaches, which I was certain I would do, this book would be a best seller.

Some high-paid editor would dive into these wrinkled pages and emerge with a rags-to-riches story of my life and priceless insights into how I had changed the game of basketball. It would be replete with anecdotes about my relationships with players that I had brought along to noteworthy college and then NBA careers. The players, of course, would give me credit for the critical decisions in their lives. There would be scenes describing my encounters with other greats of the game over the years.

My enthusiasm for the project waxed and waned with our wins and losses, but overall I was faithful and consistent with my updates. I even reviewed the pages from time to time and made revisions.

I re-read the whole trunkful – eight-seven legal pads’ worth – the week before I took my last motorcycle ride. It was obvious that the regular writing and revision did improve my writing. These journals, by the end, were clean and efficient prose. Good sentences; good paragraphs and there was, undoubtedly, plenty there to interest a true basketball tactician. But the pads contained almost nothing about my real life. The story in the journal, finally, was one of my imagining. There I was the man who out-witted and out-worked his competition. The man ahead of his peers in his understanding of the game and of the young men who played it. Not a word about my failures with women. Not a word about how I had short-changed many a good kid in his career. Nothing at all about how my short-sighted philosophy of life led me time and again into dead ends and blind alleys and inescapable corners.

copyright 2016

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