I understand some of you are concerned about the practices we’ve been running so I wanted to take a moment to explain why I’m taking this admittedly unusual approach.
First, these kids are naturals. The type of long-distance run we’re doing, it’s as if nothing could be more normal to them. I want to make sure their running can take them as far as it possibly can.
That brings me to the second point. My hope is that by training them hard, maybe they’ll get scholarships to colleges far away and get out of this pathetic, horrible shithole of a town we live in. They gotta get out while they’re, you know, not too old.
Let me explain some of our exercises so you know what we’re up to.
American Dream – This is a daytime training exercise where we knock back five to seven miles on the streets around downtown. There’s a lot of traffic—car and pedestrian—so we have to sweat it out a bit. Builds nimble bodies and nimble minds and teaches them about our downtown economy, thus the name.
Suicide Machines – This is a special training exercise that we do after dinner most evenings. Essentially, the students are asked to sprint as a pack through the largest homes in town. Illegal? Maybe. But these homes are huge, glorious, no one seems to notice. A terrible title, I know, it’s left over from when Mr. Guthrie was the coach.
Drones – We do this out on the boulevard right past the Palace at the amusement park. Essentially, what we do here is I get in my truck, which has a hemi-powered engine, and chase the kids. They’re required to outrun me while screaming. It builds aerobic strength. I call it “Drones” because sometimes they sound like bees. I’ve hit very few kids with the truck. Afterwards, the kids tend to huddle on the beach in the mist. They’re often weeping from fear but I really think they learn something.
Last Chance Power Drive – Here, we all jam on to the highway. Everybody’s out on the run. Usually takes place at night, under the lights, so there’s no place left to hide. It’s probably our hardest exercise and the students who do it are real heroes. I must confess, many broken bones happen here. But at least the kids get to see the highway that could potentially lead them out of this horrible place.
Throughout all this, I play a special inspirational song about the team on some loud speakers. It’s a song I recorded with some other coaches, we have a band together. You should come see us!
By the way, did you hear about the guy down at the plant who got his spine ripped out? His bones ripped from his back? They say it’s because he was drunk and fell into a piece of industrial equipment. I say it was THIS TOWN. Christ, I hate this place.
Finally, I want to address the particular interest I’ve taken in one student: Wendy. She is our best runner and, yes, I want to guard the dreams and visions she has of running for a NCAA Division 1 school. Sometimes, it’s true, I strap her hands across the engine of my truck so she can feel the hemi-power and get inspired. Other times, I have her do a training exercise on a treadmill where she needs to wrap her legs around this contraption I built out of an old treadmill (I’ve coated the rims in velvet so it’s more comfortable). Essentially, I want to do what I can to help Wendy. Because if she could break this trap and never come back, the rest of us who are too scared might have a shot.
I picture Wendy on a beach sometimes, like in California or something, Texas—wherever they have beaches—and I’m there too. We’re both older. We’re walking in the sun. And, AND she’s received a good education. Because that’s what’s important.
I need to let you know also that until the district’s investigation into my relationship with Wendy is completed, the team will be coached by Mr. Clemons and Mr. Van Zandt.
P.S. Go Tramps!