I’ve been here before! – The Pied Piper of Long Island
I’ve been here before. The courts are still blue, the walls are the same and the fan in the ceiling spins at the same speed. There is the same stain on the ceiling from the leak that obviously happened years before.
I even recognize the kids. But only just, it has been 6 months or so. They look like the same kids but the huge smiles on their faces and the bounce in their step make them look like different versions of their former selves.
I’ve been here before! The coaches are different though!
A big guy is booming from various points on the court. At 6’ 6’ he is the size of a basketball player and the width of his shoulders suggests that he maybe could have found his vocation in another sport. But he knows the name of every kid and he uses them with the excitement and enthusiasm of someone who is a raving fan of those that he teaches. If I were 6 I think I would be afraid but the kids look at the giant like he is the most fun person on the planet and he treats them like they are the most precious.
On the other side of a court a more diminutive figure speaks with the flow and rhythm that only a South American can. Her smile is as wide as she is tall. Her eyes are always wide and words of encouragement flow from her mouth. She is young and a seriously good player but the kids don’t care about that, they are hypnotized by the melodic tones of her voice and the explosions of excitement that occur when they do something well.
The giant pied piper is still in control and stops the activity. Even the ball pick is delivered with a level of energy and exuberance that only 6 year olds possess. The other coaches on the court keep things moving, never speaking for long but always, always listening for the responses. Little voices give sweet responses, confident that they will always be heard.
Across the court the giant crouches lower than you would think he possibly could. His voice is soft now and the kids move closer to speak to their hero. A quick high five and he steps away to help more of his little charges.
We are 45 minutes in to the lesson. There are smiles on every face. Kids and Coaches.
I have been here before! But it never looked like this! Lucky kids!