The coach checked the big clock on the wall. It was time to get his team together. He turned on his seat and gestured his men to follow him. They rushed through the gym hall as to not disturb the ongoing game. He ushered them into the dressing room. His men had long changed, but it was the right place to have a private word with them. He could hear some of the guys joking around with each other. This was ok for now, but in only a short time he needed them fully concentrated. They seated themselves on the benches and looked at the coach. He waited till he was sure that he had everybody’s attention. Then he raised his voice. “Alright guys, this is the final. We have trained hard. You are faster and more agile. You are the better players. We deserve to be here and we deserve to win this game.” His team agreed with shouts and laughter. He went on with his speech by reminding them on the tactics and giving individual advice to some of the players. He checked the time again. “Let’s get outta here now and warm up.” The team slowly got up and left the room. The coach felt like shaking his head. He hoped they were only saving their energy for the match. In the gym hall they were greeted by cheers. A smile crept across his face. The support was on point.
There were still a couple of things he had to do before the game started. He rushed around, always observing his players with one eye. Everything seemed in order. The guys were running up and down on their half of the gym hall. Their opponents were warming up on the other side. The coach kept an eye on them too. Any information he could pass on to his team could win them the game.
The coach looked at the people on the benches. He needed somebody for the live stream. None of the people he would usually ask seemed to be around. No problem. He just needed someone. Anyone. And anyone was found. There wouldn’t be a qualified commentary, but at least he had found someone and the match could be found online. Back to more important things.
The time flew by and soon the teams were signalled to line up. Time for the final to begin. If only they could hurry up a little. This little opening ceremony seemed to be going on forever.
Finally the referee blew his whistle and the players were running. But things were not going good for his team. A bad start. His men didn’t look too good. He shouted instructions at them. They had to get their heads in the game. And quick! What on earth were they doing? Nothing was going right. They were better than that. Come on … concentrate, concentrate, concentrate.
It was no good he had to call for a time-out. The team huddled around him. He had no way of telling whether his words reached any of his men. He could only hope.
The time-out was over and his men were running again. Come on now, guys! But soon he found himself shouting and walking up and down the sideline again. One missed chance after the other. This was not how you could win a final. More than once he wished he could put on a shirt and play himself.
And just as he was about to give up hope his team seemed to be finding into the game. Yes, they were getting there. Push now. A bit more effort. Come on guys. You can do it. This was the team he had been training them to be.
By the time the referee blew the halftime whistle it was a completely different game. Everything was open. Time to get them all together again. Time for another talk. Time for another speech. If they continued the way they had finished they could win this game. They just had to keep their heads in the game and keep pushing. His team listened carefully to every word he said, they refreshed themselves, took last deep breathes and then they were running again. His team was fighting, but so were their opponents. The coach was in constant conversation with his team. Shouting instructions. Walking up and down. Come on now. Push. Push. Fight.
The referee blew the final whistle. Game over. The coach smiled as he high-fived his players.