Monday, March 14, 2011

Chapter 11: Phone Calls

Beads of Sweat is a novel about running.  This chapter is a series of phone calls the head coach, Hartman, makes to the parents of his runners at the end of camp week.  



            -Hello.  Is Mr. or Mrs. Sellberg there please?
            -This is Suzy.  They can’t come to the phone right now.  Do you want to leave a message?
            -Yes.  Sure.  Do you need to get a pencil and paper?
            -No…I’ll remember.
            -Oh okay.  Can you tell them Coach Hartman called?  Nothing serious.  They don’t need to call me back.  Just tell them Brian’s had a good week of camp here at Starkfield State.
            -Okay Mr. Hartman.
            -Thanks Suzy.
            -Byebye.

            -Did he have a good summer?
            -Yes, he did.
            -That’s good.
            -No trouble to speak of. 
            -Glad to hear it.
            -I think it was that talk you gave him last spring.  He don’t want to be kicked off the team this year.  Figures running might help him get into college.  He wants to go to college now, you believe that?
            -I’ll have a talk with him about that, too.

-But he wants to be a high jumper now.  You gave him a taste of success in that last spring.
            -I know.  I know.  He has great potential as a high jumper.  But he can run distance too, especially cross country.
            -Truth be told Coach, he didn’t really want to run this fall.  All he kept talking about was the high jump.  He’s only running because he’s afraid you’ll be upset with him.
            -That’s fine, but the team needs him.  We have a good chance of going a long way this year.  He’s an integral part of the team.  He’s a varsity runner.
            -You’re right.
            -Just remind him of that when he gets home.
            -I will Coach.

            -Ryan has had a very good camp, Mrs. Jenkins.
            -Oh yes.  Thank you, Mr. Hartman.  All the boy thinks about or does is run.
            -Well that much is obvious based on his running up here at camp.
            -Do you think he could get a running scholarship?
            -I think so.  Cross country, obviously, will be very important for him this year.
            -He knows that.  He did your summer plan to a T.  Maybe even a little extra.
            -I don’t doubt it.
            -He believes in you.  Believes you can help him get a scholarship.
            -I intend to.
            -You know all he talks about is Michigan, Colorado, Stanford, Oregon, Arkansas, Oklahoma State.  I think he dreams of the Olympics.
            -Tell him to dream about doing well in school.  Tell him first semester grades are crucial for seniors applying to college. 
            -Will do.

            -Gracias.
            -Franklin has been doing well.
            -Si.  Franklin is a good boy.
            -Mrs. Torres, I just wonder that he may be working too much.
            -Si Senor.  Franklin work very hard.  Alway working.
            -I was wondering if it would be possible if Franklin work a little less this year.
            -Work less?  No.  Why would he do that?
            -To focus on the running.
            -No Senor Hartman.  Family, work, play.  In that order Senor Hartman.
            -I understand.
            -Si.
            -Is Franklin still reading all those books?
            -Oh yes. Read read read.  Run run run.  He need to sleep more.
            -Please make sure he does that.
            -Oh yes.  I try.  I catch him reading late at night.  Pass bedtime.  Alway reading.
           
            -Yeah but Mitch—
            -Paul come on.  You have to understand that he’s not going to PR in every single race.
            -He should be improving.
            -Well, yeah, that’s the point.  But sometimes some of the guys are racing on dead legs and that’s on me.  Not him.
            -You should still rise to the occasion on race day.
            -I disagree.
            -Please Mitch. 
            -And I have to tell you another thing.  I don’t plan on racing the seniors as much this year.
            -What do you mean?
            -We’re going to train through some of the meets.  The duel meets.
            -Why?
            -We got a strong group of underclassmen.  I want my seniors fresh when in counts.
            -When?  In November?
            -Yes.  Exactly.
            -I see that, but I think racing makes you better.
            -Well, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that one too.

            -He hasn’t called me all week you know?
            -He hasn’t…well, the boys keep busy.
            -You know my boy worked real hard for you this summer.
            -Well, I’d like to think it was more for the team than for me.
            -Oh no.  It was you.  You left quite an impression on him at Yellowjacket Pride.
            -Thank you Mrs. Pawgoski.
            -Oh no.
            -Pardon me?
            -It’s Del Mar.  I remarried.  But please call me Francie.  Tell me: are they still calling him Tinkerbell or something or other.
            -Let’s just say he nipped that in the bud the first day.
            -He didn’t fight anybody did he?
            -No Mrs. Paw—No Francie he didn’t.
            -Oh good.  Because he told me he was going to punch the next kid who called him that.
            -Rest assured no such thing happened.

            -He seems to love the United States.
            -He seems to love cross country too.
            -Oh that’s good.  Nice to hear.
            -You know it wasn’t easy for him to get a second year approved.
            -He mentioned to me that he was working on it.
            -We love the boy.  We told him if he could make it work and if his parents approved, we’d most certainly host him again.  So here we are.
            -This really is a good experience for him.
            -Frank and I know it is.  That’s why we couldn’t say no to him.
            -Does he talk with his own family much?
            -I think he writes to them on the computer most often.  He calls them once a week on Sundays.  About once a month or so, his family will send a care package.  They always send him money.
            -American?
            -No.  That’s the joke of it.  We have a good laugh.  He always gives it all to us. 
            -He does?
            -Yes, and we exchange it for him at the bank.  How do you think he can afford Cinders?
            -Well I’m here to tell you that he’s fully acculturated with the team.  They just love him.
            -We love him too.

            -Is he behaving himself?
            -Peter?  He’s the best behaved boy in the lot.
            -Oh that’s good to hear.
            -Now Mrs. Wallan, I have to tell you something.
            -Yes?
            -We plan on running practices on Sunday mornings this year?
            -On the Sabbath?  Oh I don’t know if Peter will be able to make it.  We go to church on Sunday mornings.
            -I know you do.  That’s why I wanted to tell you before the season starts.
            -Have you told Peter?
            -I’ve talked to Peter but not the rest of the team.
            -And what did Peter say?
            -He didn’t say much.  He just said okay.
            -It’s kind of a family tradition for us.  Church then a big breakfast.
            -What time is the mass, Mrs. Wallan?
            -Ten am.
            -Okay. 
            -I know this may sound silly to you, but church is rather important to our family.
            -I understand and Peter knows that.  I’m trying to be very respectful of your family.  At the same time I would like him to attend Sunday practices.
            -Can you even have Sunday practices?
            -State rules say we can practice six days per week.  Doesn’t matter which six days they are.
            -Oh I see.  But why Sunday?
            -It’s a better day in terms of our training regimen.
            -Well, I’ll have to discuss this with his father, you know.
            -I know.
            -Thank you Mr. Hartman.
            -One more thing Mrs. Wallan: Peter did mention there is a vigil mass on Saturday evenings.
           
            -He’s got the bug bad, you know?
            -His training up to this point would indicate as much.  He’s progressing nicely.
            -I think that Camp did him a world of good.
            -I’m surprised neither one of you told me about it.  I would’ve liked to have known.
            -Honestly, Coach, it was one of those spur of the moment decisions.  Adam was nagging about it, and his mother and I relented.
            -What did they do up there?
            -In terms of workouts?  I’m not sure.  Don’t worry, Coach.  Whatever they did won’t kill him.
            -I know that.  Just don’t want to overburden him.  He’s only a sophomore. 
            -Hey, sophomores can still be fast. 
            -True.
            -You know what he told me?  Told me his goal was to beat Jenkins in just one race this fall.
            -His said that did he?
            -Yup.  I told you Coach, he’s got it bad.
            -I’ll have to tell Ryan to keep an eye over his shoulder.

2 comments:

Muddy Puddin' said...

Very creative way to further "introduce" characters!! I like it.

KG said...

Thanks man!

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