It`s time for Tuesday Tales.
Today we have a snippet from the third Cayuga Cougars MM hockey romance book, Coach’s Challenge. In this excerpt, Victor gets to show some of his straight forward coaching technique.
Our word prompt today is “Bone”.
This story may have gay erotic scenes, strong social issues addressed and mature language. If those things offend now is the time to move onto another Tuesday Tales blog. Thanks for stopping by!
The Cougars had won four out of five games which kept us sitting atop our division, but just barely. And the just barely also applied to the wins. Skin of our teeth fits our play well of late. Sure, we were winning, but just. The team was sloppy after getting a lead, which we normally did quickly. Dewey, and the rest of the coaching staff, had been harping on them to not play like they were ahead but to play like they were behind. Keep the fire lit, stop falling back on our heels and our goaltender. That was a large part of the issue. August Miles.
The kid was fucking phenomenal. I mean, we’re talking Patrick Roy kind of good. If this were the pros Augie would be the leading contender for the Vezina trophy hands down. He was a brick wall. Dependable, off-the-charts skilled, and calm. Nothing rattled him anymore. And the team knew that. They saw how he picked up the slack when they sloughed off. Problem number one was getting them to stop relying on the excellent goaltending to win games. That would come soon, I hoped. Maybe Dexter should pull Miles for a game to shock the team out of that lethargy. I made a mental note to present that idea at the next staff meeting.
Problem number two was about to get handled by yours truly, aka Coach Finesse. We’d rolled into Waconia, MN late last night. This morning before skate, I was sitting down with my bone-headed buddy in the kilt.
McGarrity glanced up from the hotel buffet breakfast offerings he’d been perusing. I grabbed a plate off the stack and headed to the eggs and sausage.
“You’re down early,” Mario said and tonged up some bacon.
“Yeah, wanted to talk to you before the team rolled out.” Scrambled eggs and ten sausage links filled my plate. “Join me, won’t you?”
I walked to a round table – just one of eight or so in the lounge area off the buffet room – and dropped my plate to the table. Then I went back to get flatware and coffee. When I had those, I returned to the table, sat down across from McGarrity, and placed my silverware beside my plate.
“How are we feeling, Grandpa?” His eyes narrowed a bit. “Knees holding up?”
“Yeah, I’m fucking peachy.” He dove into his food with gusto. I set into cutting up the links. I’d have to eat them first. If Dan saw how much greasy pork was on my plate he’d bitch. The man was such a wife at times. I studied Mario’s flattop as I hacked sausage. His hair was a lighter red than mine, with a lot more silver. “You don’t have to worry about me. I got my eyes locked on that Finn,” he said around a mouthful of bacon and eggs.
“Yeah, about Pepperpopperpooperman, give us all a break and just play your game, okay?”
He swallowed and studied me intently. “I have been playing my game.”
“No, you’ve been playing the role of a goon and that’s not your game.” I forked some pork and shoved it into my mouth. Mmm, grease and sage. Mario gave me a dark look.
“Maybe I’ve been a bit more physical but this is my last go-round, you know. Scores to settle, memories to make, that kind of shit.”
I washed down my food with some surprisingly good coffee. “Right. Scores to settle and memories to make. And what kind of memories are those exactly? Recollections of sitting in the box while your team struggles night after night to cover your stupid ass?”
That put some fire into his gaze. He jabbed at me with his empty fork. “Look, Kalinski, I know you’re wearing a tie now and so you think you can talk to me like I was some tit-sucking pup, but I’m not and you’re a little too young to be preaching to me.”
I took another sip to let him stew for a second then I lowered my mug to the table. The sun was just cracking the blue-black of a bitter cold Minnesota morning outside the pane of glass we were seated by. Cold air leeched through the window, chilling the back of my neck.
“Yep, I am younger than you. By about ten years, but that’s no reason to dismiss what I’m saying. You know deep down that I’m right. This shit of tossing gloves every game is not you. Sure, you don’t take shit but now you’re instigating and losing focus.”
“I’m focused.” He stabbed at his eggs violently.
“Really? What are you focused on? Being an enforcer or being a forward who might help get his team a trophy? If this was my last season, I’d be all eyes on the prize but that’s just me.”
And I returned to eating. The ill will flowed from him for several minutes. We ate in silence. Players began filing in. I nodded to all of them as the shuffled to the food.
“I might see what you’re saying,” Mario mumbled when Mike moved past wearing some major bedhead.
“Good. I’ll make it clearer so even a thick-skulled Italian-Scot like you can grasp it with ease. If you get into one more fight between now and the end of the season I will kick your kilted ass up between your ears.”
“That’s not very coachy.”
“I’m not talking as your coach, I’m talking as your friend. I’m not sure what it is you’re trying to prove with this happy horseshit, but it needs to stop. Go prove you’re still young somewhere else like in bed with Lila. Go skateboarding with Langley. Sign up for a yearly subscription to Seventeen or Teen Vogue. I don’t care, but this asshattery needs to stop. You’re costing the team. Pull your fucking head out of your ass and go out with some dignity.”
“Don’t hold back or anything.”
“You ever know me to hold back?”
“No, not really.”
“There you go then.” I hurried to eat my sausage before my better half arrived.
Copyright 2017 ©by V.L. Locey
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