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  • Writer's pictureNemi

I See You Coach...

There are times, I sit and think about my longest friendships, those who've been in my life since our days on the playground. My oldest friendship spans close to forty years, now; we were kids yesterday, we'd fistfight, throw rocks, and occasional insults at each other yet the end he was the one who taught me about music and cars. It's interesting how life plays out, one moment you're a punk-ass and then the next moment you're crying because you haven't seen each other in years.

The second oldest friendship that I have on record, belongs to my buddy David. Now, I can throw my buddy RJ into the mix but I'll save that for another post. My brother David and me have shared too many laughs throughout the years and I can easily say that we go back at least thirty years now.

We met doing what we both loved to do back in those days and that is playing basketball. David will tell you that he balled me up, back then, and I'll tell him that he went to a school that had 19yr old sophomores on their team. The truth is, he was always the one kid/player who I identified with the most. If not for him, most of my stats wouldn't have been as great as they were, when all was said and done for my sport's career.

The beauty of this bond was that it was and always has been easy. Our parents were never friends, so that commonality didn't exist, I never spent the night at his place, he never visited my place, we never ran in the same circles, nothing; it came down to us identifying that something was different with the other.

After graduation, I moved away to New York for a year to attend college. Back in those days, I didn't have a cellphone to call or text anyone, it was letters or pulling out the old book of numbers. I didn't have David's number, his address, or anything else needed to keep our bonds active.

My time in New York was an absolute learning experience and disaster on a few planes, which I still stew about to this day. I learned so much about myself while watching the snow fall and wondering how or why I was in such a crappy living situation. It's within moments of our youth, we're formed and I found that I was cloaked with patience and a slow tongue, which still exists to this day.

Upon my return to California, I was eager to do what I did for so much of my youth, play basketball. I wasn't blessed with too much height, however due to this fact, I learned to battle with the bigger kids and I became stronger, jumped higher, and even reacted in a manner that wasn't meant for a "tiny person". As fate would have it, it was sport which brought back many friendships.

I have no clue when we played our first game against each other, after I came back home, I couldn't tell you whose side won, though I can hear him saying that he dominated with his 1 of 7 field goals made, three turnovers, and four fouls. This guy has always been a friend who has allowed me to laugh.

The day his first child was born, he called me to tell me that my nephew was here. He was so happy and I sat back and thought about how life has a way of forming bonds in areas we didn't know we needed said bonds to fill. I received a call when his second child was delivered, as well as the last of the group too.

I'm a sport's guy and with that, I get asked to coach various sports, from time to time. My response is often, "No..." and that's merely due the fact, I'm afraid of failing the kids, their parents, or my unrealistic goals of domination. The beauty that exists is the simple fact, that others are always able to pick up the slack and lead.

Today, I ventured out of my house which was a feat in and over itself. I'm finding it difficult to love myself these days and the only comfort that seems to exist is found within my four walls. The days are lonely, perhaps it's my fault, perhaps it isn't. The text message I received, read, "You better be there". There was no part of me that wanted to drive for thirty minutes just to brave the sun and watch kids play soccer.

It was the wave that got me, the wave from my nieces and the wave from my brother David when they saw me walking along the fenceline. For a moment today, I felt filled with love and purpose. This guy is one of my oldest friends and I would attempt to cross any space just in order to see his smile and hear his laughter.

I observed a young man (though he's a year older than me and technically OLD) lead with grace and calmness; it reminded me of when we were kids how I thought/felt something was different about him some thirty something years ago.

I SEE YOU COACH, I see you fam!

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