I can’t believe it is Derek’s fourth season at the University of Detroit Mercy. Derek had a rough summer marred with rejection yet he continued to rise above. He was a proud man who was not going to let his family down. He wanted to provide for his family and it was coming at the expense of his character. Derek was miserable and he was selling himself to the devil doing anything he could to get through each day. Each rejection took a piece of him and he was starting to feel constricted – he was never going to get out of this work environment that was suffocating him. The work place was so toxic. Derek had a hard time accommodating the head coach especially when it came to what kind of recruit the coach was looking to bring on campus. He tried to bring in players that fit his style of play but they could never get on the same page about a kid. Not only did Derek have a hard time adjusting to the head coach he also had conflict with how the other staff members conducted themselves. The staff frequently stabbed each other in the back. They never worked together. They would bad mouth each other to the head coach. It wasn’t about getting the right kids into the program it was about trying to get the head coach to take my kid over your kid because I want to have the power. Derek felt like he was drowning.
Derek could not climb out of the toxic muck because the head coach never gave him a chance to breathe. He never made plans or itineraries – you were just supposed to come when he called which wasn’t easy because he changed his mind 10 times a day. He never let the assistants know what was on his agenda for the day so they never knew what was going on day to day. Conversely, don’t ever let him know you have plans (parent/teacher conference, important sporting event) because he invariably would schedule something at that precise time. I am not sure if he did this on purpose but it happened too frequently to be a coincidence. It is ok to fly by the seat of your pants when you work alone but if you have a team of people working under you – assistant coaches, trainers, managers, strength coach, secretary –you need to be cognizant of their needs. We had young kids involved in many activities – I needed some sort of plan because there was no way I could do this alone. I wasn’t asking for Derek to be home every night by 5:00 – I knew the drill. But, if I just had one time a week that I knew Derek was going to be home that would have been a huge help but even that was nonexistent. Derek was miserable at work and I was stressed being essentially a single mother – it put a huge strain on our marriage. One time to help us spice things up I told him we should try the Seven Day Sex Challenge. It was actually something I saw on TV. The first three days were good but then you have to be creative to keep things interesting and creative people we are not! It actually ended on day five when Derek kicked over the red candle that in turn scattered red wax all over our white carpet. I was picking red wax out of our carpet for weeks.
Despite all the turmoil Derek had no other option than to keep trudging forward. We had high hopes for this season. There were six seniors, a McDonald’s All American, and the experience to be successful. Those high hopes were quickly dashed when three kids were suspended indefinitely from the team before the season even started and then three games into the season one of our best players tore his ACL.