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Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel This Vacant Paradise, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Drift, her collection of interlinked short stories, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the 2009 Story Prize. The San Francisco Chronicle selected Drift as one of the best books of 2009. Her work has appeared in various publications and journals, including the Los Angeles Times, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside.

35 responses to “Coach”

  1. Tom Hansen says:

    Boy first it’s Catholic priests, then high school teachers and now tennis coaches. What is the world coming to? (I know the answer)

  2. Marni Grossman says:

    All of my high school coaches were draconian females with leathery skin and perma-scowls. This eliminated the possibility of coach-student fraternization.

  3. Erika Rae says:

    Side ponytails? Hahaha

  4. Yeah–it’s weird how teammates start resembling each other, on purpose and just through physical closeness. Is there a name for that phenomena? It’s like an image synchronicity, similar to when husband and wives start looking the same. Or my absolute favorite: when people look like their dogs.

  5. Erika Rae says:

    No doubt. I know I sort of look like my dog. We’re a lot alike, actually. She’s black – I like to wear black. She checks her water bowl constantly – I check my email constantly. She likes bratwurst – I like bratwurst…

    I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but there should be. The Twinkie Phenomenon? The Similarity Index Movement (or “SIM” for short)? Assimilation by Association?

  6. Erika Rae says:

    Touche, touche.

    It is here where I shall point out, however, that *my* toothpaste is not chicken flavored.

  7. Erika Rae says:

    Poor thing. Her teeth are just about rotted out of her head, which leads me to believe that her toothpaste is not very good. I will stick to my Tom’s spearmint, thank you very much.

    Victoria, I don’t know how to explain it, but I just looked in the mirror and my hair has spontaneously gathered into a side ponytail. I can’t explain it.

  8. I’m gonna put on a side ponytail wig!

  9. Don Mitchell says:

    I had a semi-reverse situation.

    Back in 1980, Buffalo State wanted to start women’s track, but had no coach. They asked me, an anthropology professor, to be the coach for the first “club” year. I had never coached before, but I agreed. If it worked out, the college would give the program varsity status and hire a real coach for the next season.

    I only had one miler and it was clear she had a crush on me. I kept my distance. Our final meet was one I thought we could win — it would be our only win.

    The miler wanted some extra training/sharpening before that meet. The Saturday before the meet, I did it for, or actually with, her (at the time, I was a faster miler than she was). As we were leaving the track, she made what I understood as a move on me. I slid away.

    She didn’t show at the last meet. We lost by fewer points than we’d have gotten had she run the mile.

    I had no intention of continuing, so it didn’t hurt my coaching career, which, as planned, ended with that meet. But it did hurt my women, hungry for that win. It made me realize how fraught the coach/athlete thing can be.

    The college considered the season a success anyway, and went ahead to and hired a real coach and started a varsity women’s track program.

  10. Yes, I agree. That coach/athlete thing can be complicated and fraught. There’s a terrific short story about a coach/athlete relationship called “Life Expectancy” by Holly Goddard Jones. It’s in her book Girl Trouble. I thought it really portrayed the complications and the physicality of the relationship well.

  11. Don Mitchell says:

    I’ve ordered “Girl Trouble.” It looks very good.

    I see that the stories are set in Kentucky. I’ll use that to hook to a book I read not long ago, “The New Valley,” by Josh Weil, three novellas set in the Appalachian part of VA. Ann Pancake turned me on to it. They are wonderful pieces, with the center one, “Stillman Wing,” being exceptional.

  12. I read “The New Valley” and enjoyed it very much! I might have to read “Stillman Wing” again! I think you’ll like Girl Trouble. I was impressed..

  13. Don Mitchell says:

    Thanks to Amazon Prime, I can start reading it (GT) Wednesday.

    What I liked so much about Stillman Wing was the way Weil handled time perception.

    I mentioned Ann Pancake and now I’ll do it again — if you’re interested in Appalachian writing, but don’t know her work, you might want to look at her novel “Strange As This Weather Has Been,” or her collection “Given Ground.”

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Wow, who knew volleyball was that exciting? On a side note, I’m relieved to know I wasn’t the only girl with a crush on Bob Newhart…

  15. Simon Smithson says:

    “and that the only time I’d witnessed him laughing was when a spiked ball hit an opposing team member on the head—and then it was a maniacal freak laugh”

    And suddenly, the picture I have in my head is completely and totally fleshed out…

  16. […] childhood dog, Skipper, did not take to Newport Beach, where the high school volleyball coach got a little bit too active in the lives of his student […]

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