“Tell me, coach.” Myles was crouched down into en garde position again, fencing mask removed but foil aimed in Coach Dan’s direction. “How goes your ongoing request for electronics?”
“Look around, Myles.” Coach Dan waved his right arm in front of him. “You don’t see any machines, any reels, lames even.”
Myles uttered a contemptuous short laugh. “You know, there was a time last year I actually thought old Stu Higgins would open up his budget for you.”
Coach Dan’s right hand transformed into a traffic cop’s, flat palm commanding Myles to stop. “We get by, Myles. Like we always have.”
“Of course, of course! Still, it must be difficult to face yet another year of being ignored, not having the equipment you need. Especially difficult because, back when I was on the team, we nearly came into our own? Stories in the paper, nearly two dozen team members, hosting our own tournament. But that’s all gone now, isn’t it? And you do know why, yes?”
For the first time that anyone on the Bark Bay High School fencing team could remember, their coach looked flusterated. “This isn’t — “
“The problem, coach, is that you keep thinking of fencing as a team sport. You want the team to be successful, you’re always looking out for your team. But the reality is that all people care about is individuals, personalities. Back when I was around to be your golden boy, we had all the attention we needed. But now — ” he came out of his crouch, looked around quickly at the half-dozen team members — “sorry folks, but you really do look a bit sorry — “
“Give me a foil.” Coach Dan had thrust his right arm towards the team’s equipment bag, without taking his gaze off from Myles.