Too Much 14

Rune responded to his coach like a private reporting to his sergeant, the success of Annie and Rex so far in the pools tripping off his tongue effortlessly, like a well-executed lunge. Coach Dan nodded, waited for the teen to finish.

“What I meant — ” a thirty-five-year-old hand squeezing the outside of Rune’s shoulder — “is, how are you doing? Are you having fun today? What are you learning?” The coach had thought freedom from competition pressure would allow his student to view the sport with a new perspective. An assignment which had slipped Rune’s mind until just this moment.

“I dunno.” Rune looked down, his coach wearing Pumas. “Annie, she did some nice . . . ” Voice trailing off as the memory of her prosecutorial face came back to him. His attempts at explanation, to her, and JanHar, and Rex. Not even sure what he had been trying to explain, only the reality of his futility remaining with him.

“She’s good. So’s Rex. And JanHar, and Franken — Francis.” He had raised his head without realizing what he’d done, was now looking above his coach’s head, up at the gray high ceiling of the field house. “Everybody’s good. And I dunno, I guess it’s fun, watching everybody, how good they are. Learn anything — I dunno. Everyone I see is so good, I dunno what to look for.” Hands wide, as if trying to put his arms around the tournament.

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