Coach P.edophile

I had been obsessed with basketball since I was a little girl. Even though I was only on the JV team, we shared locker rooms and practices with the Varsity team. We felt like we had officially made it. Walking into the locker room felt like a rite of passage. We were no longer children. Instead of loud silly immature giggles, the locker room was filled with people who HAD DROVE THEMSELVES THERE. We couldn’t hear exactly what the small group of seniors were saying because our huddle of lockers was on the other side of the room, but I imagined they were discussing sex, parties, drinking, driving, college, and who knows maybe even things I hadn’t even thought to think of yet.

Here I am, #22!

We tried not to stare at the bodies draped over the sink to fix a ponytail in the mirror, applying deodorant standing around in nothing but a sports bra and shorts, or laying down on the bench with headphones. These bodies were somehow so much older than our bodies. We were fascinated, but we also knew that they would call us “dykes!” if they caught us staring. It was important to not get caught.

This was the scene the first time my new coach walked in on us. Half naked girls out in the open in every direction. “Ope! Sorry! I thought you girls were done in here!” The JV coach, Let’s just call him Coach P., was standing before us with his hands in front of his eyes but his fingers spread so our bodies were still in view.

Girls were diving behind the stalls and hiding with whatever towel was closest to grab. “Hurry it up! Get to practice. You should be out there by now!” He yelled at us like we were the ones who had just done something wrong or embarrassing.

When he stomped away and we heard the door slam behind him, I heard an older girl say, “Fuckin’ Perv.”

“OHMYGOD! I CAN’T BELIEVE COACH JUST SAW US IN OUR UNDERWEAR,” the new JV players were all freaking out about this.

“I can’t go out there. I had my whole ass out! Oh my god.”

Now the older girls were paying attention to us. It was like someone called a meeting and we hadn’t realized. Suddenly they were all looming over us. Instinctively the JV girls all sat down to make ourselves smaller and show deference to these Varsity players. One of them rolled her eyes at us. Then they handed down their wisdom, that we really could have used 10 minutes ago.

“Get used to it.”

“Yeah, he does that ALL the time. It’s so fuckin’ gross.”

“Listen. If you don’t want that old man to see your shit, just get dressed behind the lockers and don’t fuck around when you get outta the shower.”

“You get used to it. It’s not a big deal. He’s just an old perv. His wife is so fuckin’ ugly you can’t really blame him. He’s harmless though.”

We were shocked. We had a male coach in Junior High but he had never once stepped foot in our locker room. What the fuck?! They looked at our horrified expressions and laughed at us.

“Listen girls. You don’t like it? Work hard and make the Varsity team so that you don’t have to put up with his shit as much. He’s an asshole to play for too.”

“Yeah, the Varsity coach is an asshole too but at least she’s a good fuckin’ coach and she doesn’t try to see our titties!” This girl reached over and grabbed the breast of the girl sitting beside her to make a point. We all laughed. Ok. This was a lot to take in. But we did as we were told and for the most part he was harmless.

He was annoying as all hell though. Sometimes he would just stop by my house to invite me to the movies or to “visit.” My next door neighbor, let’s call her Jessica, was on the team with me and a good friend of mine. Coach would stop at her place too. If he stopped at my house first, I would have to make up an excuse why I couldn’t go to the movies with him or out to lunch or whatever and then I would dive for the phone before he was even off my porch. There were plenty of teenagers over there so as long as one of them answered the phone, I might be able to get the message to her before Coach got to her door.

“Hello?” Great! It was her older sister!

“Hey! Coach is on the way!! Tell Jess to HIDE!”

“Ew. Fuck.” She groaned but she remembered this shit from when she was on the JV team. “Jess! Coach is coming. I’ll say you’re not here. Hide!!”

“Gotta go. Thanks.”

I hung up the phone grateful that I was able to help and feeling good about myself when my mom came in the room. She had been feeling sick in the bathroom and hadn’t witnessed this episode. “Who was that?”

“Oh just Jessica. I had to talk to her about something.” I pointed to the phone.

“No. Not the phone. The door. Who came to the door?” Oh shit. I did not need this. Mom hated Coach P. stopping by. I mean so did I, but I was willing to put up with it so that I didn’t have any drama in my basketball life. Fuck. I couldn’t think up a lie and she was standing there arms crossed glaring at me.

“It was Coach. He just stopped by to say hi.” I couldn’t lie.

My mom’s face was contorted in anger. “What the FUCK? Ew. That guy gives me the heebie-fucking-jeebies! You tell that mother fucker I don’t want him stopping by our house any fucking more. You are 15 years old. What the fuck is wrong with him? FUCKING PERVERT.”

She didn’t know about his tendency to forget that we used the locker rooms to change our clothes, and I was not going to tell her. She was already making such a big deal about just him stopping by. I also didn’t mention that he invited me to the movies. That would really freak her out. I was mostly on mom’s side with this one. He was a freak. But at the same time, I didn’t want her to embarrass me by making it a big deal.

“And just so YOU know, there is no way in HELL you’re taking that fuckin’ driver’s ed class. No. Fucking. Way.” This is exactly what I was afraid of. Coach was the driver’s ed instructor at our school.

“Moooooom. I have to get my license. Everybody does it. It’s not a big deal. I don’t even want to drive. I just want to have my license.”

“Over my dead body!” Mom forgot about being pissed at Coach P. and turned all of that hostility in my direction. “Little girl, you think you know so much about the world but you don’t know SHIT!”

“Why do you want to ruin my life?” I could match my mom in volume and intensity. In fact, even though I was still terrified of her, it was not enough to keep me from back talking.

“Oh, I’m ruinin’ YOUR life, hunh?” She came at me fast with her hand raised but for the first time in my life, I was ready for it. I did not even consciously decide my next move, it just happened. Instead of throwing my arms over my head to simply block the blows that my mother had in store for me, I reached up and caught her arms by the wrists. Her eyes were burning a hole into my face and she and I went crashing across the room. I never once swung back, but I would not let go of her wrists and let her hit me. She could not get away from me and I could not get away from her without unleashing all of this fury. We were writhing against the wall and she was madder than I had ever seen her.

“Oh, you think yer BIG now huh? Ok. Big shot. Ok. You want to say that I am ruinin’ yer life? I can do that! I can ruin yer life! You want that? You want me to turn yer whole life upside fucking down?” This was not going to get better and now I just needed to escape. I saw my chance when my mom was mid sentence. I knew she would want to get it all out before chasing me so I had about 2 seconds to make a break for it. Remember I had a grip on her, not the other way around so I had the advantage of taking her off guard with the chase. I let go without any warning and bolted for the door. Now if that thing had been hard to open or if I had hesitated in any way, I would probably not be alive to tell this story and my mom would have died in prison. I might be exaggerating but I might not. My mom was PISSED and she was known to chase me around with knives when she was even just half as mad as she was on this day.

I knew that once I got outside, I was free. Mom would not touch me outside. I bee-lined for Carla’s and just acted casual once I got there. “Wanna go for a walk?” I asked. “I’m bored.” She was game so we did our usual lap around town, past the cute boys houses, looking for anyone and anything exciting. We did not find what we were looking for but it did get exciting.

My mom wasn’t one to chase me out in the view of the public, but my Grandma had zero shame. She was from a generation where beating a kid was expected not shameful. I didn’t know what hit me when her old clunker pulled up beside me and Carla. I looked around like a scared rabbit for any kind of place to hide, but Grandma was out of that car and on me fast. She smacked me so hard right across the face. “You get your ass in this car this minute.” I did not want to get in that car but I was humiliated and didn’t want to make even more of a scene. We were practically on main street. Anybody could have seen! I got in the car and just sat there steaming mad but silent as Grandma drove me home. She kept looking in the rear view mirror at me challenging me to say anything in protest. When I didn’t do anything other than cry, she addressed me head on. “Your mom told me that you hit her. I can’t believe you would be that kind of evil. You know your mom is weak. She does everything for you and this is how you repay her. Evil. Just evil.”

Now I was mad. “What?! I didn’t fucking touch her!” I never ever called my mom out for beating on me, but she broke our code first by calling Grandma and accusing me of doing what she was guilty of. “She’s the one hitting on me. I just held her arms so she couldn’t do it. I’m sick of this Grandma.” I was sobbing now. Grandma didn’t say anything to this and her face softened a little. I guess she believed me.

Mom and I didn’t even speak to each other when I got home. I was sick of my mom beating me for the shitty things men did, but at the same time, I kind of understood where she was coming from. I could see it then but now it is even more clear to me. My mama wanted to protect me but she felt powerless. She couldn’t confront the perverted men that I came into contact with so she needed to beat me into understanding. No driver’s license was worth having to let that old man grope me or worse. She needed me to understand that even if she had to beat it into me.

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