Sunday, February 8, 2009

And the winner is: Soul!

We won! The four black chicks with the lesbian coach are the freakin' national champions. I sat in the back, stomach in knots, heart thumping, as round after round, my girls stood up and laid it the fuck down. Their final closing argument was a spine tingling work of art. People told me they wanted to cheer.

After the competition, I needed to walk back because I just couldn't sit any longer. They walked, in heels and the drizzling rain, because they said if I was walking, they were walking. It was so wonderful to see them beaming with joy and reeling with their success. It was on the walk back that they told me they had wanted to win for me, and came out there determined not to let me down. "We couldn't have done this without you," they said. There in the craptacular neon light of Las Vegas, my heart broke. I thought I just gave them a good crash course in trial practice. Maybe I gave them something much more valuable.

In thinking about this over the past couple of days, I think I'm beginning to see why sports fans are so interested in the coach. It's the players, on game day, who matter. But before game day, it's the coach's job to bring out the best in those players. When organizers and a couple coaches were talking to me about how great my team was, I told them a little about my methods, which focused not just on the case, but on teaching them to believe in, speak for and understand themselves. I wanted them to be who they needed to be within the case. They grew. It was wonderful to watch, win or lose.

Maybe here it even went a little farther. They were all calling their parents (I envy how close black families are. I love my mom and dad and still haven't called them) and I heard one telling her mom that they were the only black people there. It might have taken a little extra to help them have the kind of courage and self assurance they showed in a white male profession against schools whose names people knew. "Oh, Rutgers. . . " they said, looking deflated. "Shit, they tried to recruit me and I didn't even write them back," I told them. "We run the courtrooms in North Carolina for a reason, and don't you forget it." While that's true, it is also true that our school is the state underdog. It's the old black college with the ghetto nearby. We let people in with lower scores and tougher backgrounds to give them a chance. So, "take that, white boy!" I say out loud. "This was right, and beautiful", I say to myself. I let them hold my St. Thomas More medal for the final round and asked that he guide them. I guess he did. And I'm learning that so did I.


Lisa said...

Wow! That is fricken awesome!

Anne O'Nymous said...

You fuckin' ROCK!!! I've always thought so, but now even Vegas knows it!

So what mountain will you seek to climb next time, O Sensational Sapphic Secret Sherpa?

My verification word "ofsdepli" was obviously selected by a dyslexic spirit from beyond who wants you to go the nearest equivalent to Delphi and ask an oracle.

Or kale.