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Coaching: continuing education

Bodie is back at my house, so I have to teach her how to be a marathong coach. For the long run we went back to the Wetlands that Smell like a Fart because it’s flat with lots of miles for Mom, there are lots of bunnies to keep me and Bodie interested, and there are lots of water fountains for all 3 of us.

When we got to the trail, Bodie started sprinting as fast as she could. “Slow down, I don’t think she likes running like that…” I suggested to Bodie. “But being a coach means that you have to make them run fast, right?” Bodie pointed out. “I’m making her run fast so that she will win the marathong.” “But she can’t run fast all the time,” I said. “She would get tired and wouldn’t be able to run the whole way. And anyway, I think you’re hurting her.” “Is that why she’s always squawking back there?” Bodie asked. “Yes, I think so,” I said. “I find that she’s a lot quieter and says nicer things to me if I let her pick the pace.” “Okay, I’ll go a little slower,” Bodie conceded. “But just so that she can finish all the miles. Not TOO slow. That would be boring and take all day.”

We ran on for several miles, sometimes drawing Mom along at a human pace and sometimes making her sprint after bunnies. “I don’t think that you should pull her sideways like that,” I suggested to Bodie, who was straining at the leash to sniff at some brush on the side of the trail. “But it’s good for her to have strong hip stability and good balance,” Bodie pointed out. “I’m just trying to make her a better runner.” “But what if she falls over? It’s got to be hard for her to balance on just one leg at a time with you pulling her sideways with all your might like that.” “Well then why in the world doesn’t she run on all 4 of her legs like a normal person?!” Bodie asked, exasperated. “Heaven knows she wouldn’t be so slow and grouchy on hills and stuff.” “I’ve been telling her that for years,” I said. “She won’t listen.”

As we reached the final miles, Mom seemed to be getting a little grumpier and more cross. We pulled her after a particularly exciting squirrel, and she screamed at us like a demented chimpanzee. “Maybe you should go easy on her,” I suggested. “I think she’s getting tired.” “Nonsense!” said Bodie. “Humans were born to run. It’s what they live for.” “But she looks uncomfortable…” “Humans live in the moment, Oscar. They don’t feel pain like you or me… They’re just happy that they get to be out here with us. They would never leave the couch otherwise. She’s just happy to be outside.” “I suppose you’re right,” I said. “I think you’re too easy on her, Oscar. We’re only running 16 miles today. I know for a fact that this human has run longer than that. Look, her t-shirt says so. She’s sandbagging you. Don’t fall for it.”

I thought that I had to teach Bodie a thing or two about coaching, but she had way more to teach me than I had to teach her. I had no idea girls were so smart about sports!

-Oscar the Coach-in-training



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