The cooler weather we've been having this week reminds me that football season will soon be here. That means I'm getting semi-psyched, and my ol' pal Dr. Maureen is likely foaming at the mouth, dragging out all her Carolina Panthers gear and polishing up her season tickets.
The kindly doctor and I spent our college years cheering for the Pittsburg State Gorillas. Her father, Papa Joe, was a line coach for the team, although many old players would likely tell you he was the brains behind the whole, successful organization. Joe was a loud, gruff, bulldog sort of guy on the field, but when I'd see him with his only daughter, he was a total pussycat. When she would exasperate him with her typical Maureen behavior, which was often flamboyant and outspoken, he would just shake his head and grin and bear it, as if he was saying, "Well, that's Maureen for you."
Joe was also the swim team coach at Pitt. I always thought his dual roles were rather strange--a football coach steering a ragtag team of waterboys with non-football names like Gaylord and Stu. During their races he yelled at them like they were playing on the gridiron. When they did well, he was their biggest cheerleader; when they came up short, his reaction was kinda like the way he was with Maureen--a little smile, shrug, "you tried" attitude. No helmets to grab or shoulder pads to whack.
I think it would have been hard to switch coaching mentalities, but I never really saw Joe go ballistic with a swimmer. I think Maureen, however, gave holy hell to one of them she was dating in her post-college years. Had he witnessed the encounter, her father likely would have gotten a kick out of it. "You go after 'im!" I can imagine him saying. "That's my girl!" If there's one thing Dr. Maureen learned from her father, it was ALWAYS to make a big splash.