Friday, November 13, 2015

The Chaperone Test

In general, coaching speech isn't too hard.  The kids are typically some of the best in the school, so even the bus drivers say they like driving speech meets because the kids are so well behaved.

Which makes me wonder what the crap is going on.  It's like the Chaperone Gods are throwing all possible incidents at me, one after the other.

Two meets ago:  
- Our bus driver is pulled over by the cops for erratic driving (which she was doing).
- Hosting team pulls some lousy stunts directly aimed at our team and get five of my kids disqualified for unfounded reasons.  (But we still won the meet.)

One meet ago:
- High-strung driver who hates the world and hates children insists the boys sit at the front of the bus and the girls at the back with at least two seats between them.  We've had this argument every year when she drives us.  She says this prevents 'hanky-panky'.  I point out the openly gay kids on the team.  She says, "Well, they won't make babies."  I bury my exasperations and remind myself and the kids to pick our battles.
- Blizzard at Vail Pass.  Long drive, lots of jacknifed semis on both sides of the freeway.
- Two of my kids get the stomach flu at the meet.

This meet:
- I am sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for parents to come get two of the kids.  I caught the girlfriend coming out of the boyfriend's room shortly after we arrived. I doubt they were up to anything, but it's a clear rule violation.  Girlfriend's dad yells at me for ten minutes over the phone ("When you take a child away from their home, it's your responsibility to bring them home!  I'll sue you, I'll sue the school, etc.").  He was pretty ticked about having to drive 2.5 hours to pick up his kid late at night.  "Yes," I said.  "It really is too bad this happened."

Knowing the kids, I actually think this is a case of a unwise girlfriend and the boy's innocent of any wrongdoing besides picking the wrong person to date.  Still, it was his room and my contract's very clear on this point.

And so I wait in the lobby with two silent kids, one dozing off and one pacing anxiously, and with their signed contracts in front of me in case the dad works himself up again on the drive here.

I was really hoping to get some decent sleep tonight.  Oh well.

It makes me wonder what test I'll get at the next meet.  Smuggled drugs or alcohol?  Shoplifting at the dinner stop?  Bus runs into a goose on the road?

All of which has happened to other teams.  We speech coaches have many a story to swap at these meets.

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