Coaches Cluster.

Every year, just before the season starts, the Mighty Mite coaches gather at head coach Lumpy's house for a long night of pizza and beer. It's advertised as a meeting, and as such has an agenda and paperwork and all the trappings of a purposeful gathering. However, thanks to the characters involved, the years we've known each other, and the beer, things tend to veer off course in the early stages and only deviate more as we go. Hey, if a dynamic works...
 
Creating a sense of unity and direction before the season starts is more important than any agenda item, especially for the new coaches. It can be intimidating joining that group, given the skiing pedigrees gathered around the stacks of pizza boxes and beer pitchers. It's important to let everyone know that, at it's core, the organization is less about creating the next World Cup phenom than about creating strong, life-long skiers, positive memories, and friendships. We can teach you to ski fast, and a lot of the kids do just that, but it's also about having fun on the mountain doing something active while building skills that will last a lifetime.
 
Building that environment apparently involves fart jokes and sexual innuendo. To be honest, no matter what these people have achieved in their professional lives (and as a whole it's a pretty accomplished bunch), when we're on the hill we revert to big kids. Skiing is fun, and the mountain is recess. We take certain things, like safety, very seriously, but modeling effective ways to have fun on snow is a key priority.
 
That, and beer.
 
The night of the coaches meeting it started snowing. I take this as a good sign. After a few years of substandard conditions, I'd really like a return to the old normal. I'd really rather not throw my back out again, like I do every year, trying to watch all of the kids as we navigate down a ribbon of death. More snow means more room to spread out, creating space between us and that new snowboarder with more guts than skill. More room to evaluate the group's strengths and weaknesses. More room to get to the fun.
  
At my core, I'm no different than any other Mighty Mite coach. I like me some fun.

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