Practice was great again. However, the tone of the practice was lighter than I’ve ever experienced. The appearance of Lily completely changed Coach and his normal attitude towards us swimmers. Where as, he wouldn’t yell at us. However, we all knew the ‘you know you can do better’ look. Due to Lily watching us swim, Coach didn’t want to be angry or harsh to us in front of his daughter. However, Lily is truly Coach’s daughter. At one point in practice Coach stopped Ken and mentally chewed him out for his terrible performance. Lily just giggled while pointing at his expression; she might have toppled over if she wasn’t standing next to her dad.
So over all, practice was good. We were all in the locker room changing. Ken was a sloth; maybe more like a dead sloth. He was sitting on the bench attempting to put his shoes on; he was slowly pouring over his body to reach his feet.
I guess Matthews couldn’t stand it anymore because he squatted down and put Ken’s shoes on quickly and quite roughly. “I am never staying up with you again. I’m good with being labeled as the stick in the mud. Never again,” Matthew finished as he stood up.
“Thanks dude, and me too. I won’t be staying up late the day before practice. Maybe school; school isn’t as killer.” Ken said slowly standing up. He swung his arm up and around Matthew’s shoulders, “But please be my walking slick, I don’t think I will make it otherwise.”
Ken and Matthew limped out of the locker rooms, but were going to wait by the doors for us. Jerry and I had to wait until the rest of the team left before leaving the locker room.
As we came through the door from the gym Little Lily came running towards me, “Uncle George!!” She screamed just as she threw herself into my outstretched arms. “You did so good today! Are you the best swimmer on the team? Can you teach me how to swim? Do you want to meet my stuffed animals? Can I come home with you?”
Her questions flew out of her; I was unable to keep up with her.
“Lily if you talk too fast he won’t be able to answer you. Ask him one at a time,” Coach stepped between me and the guys, locking the gym doors.
“Thanks Coach,” I sighed with relief that I didn’t need to remember everything she just asked, “what do you want to know?” I ask Lily looking into her eyes.
I looked away from the little body and off to my right, there stood my dad; he looked a smidge better than last night, but not much better. “Dad.”
Lily was still in my arms, but she was looking from me to my Dad and back to me. “Hi Grandpa George!” Lily let out a squeal of excitement and waved towards my dad.
‘Great‘ I was going to lose my new little person once she met my dad.
“Who’s this little lady?” My dad came up to us, “Aren’t you a pretty little thing.”
Lily reached out to my dad, and he gladly took her from me. “Wow, I was replaced so quickly,” I exaggerated a sigh out; the guys snickered at my response. Lily snuggled into my dad’s arms. I liked the look of my dad with a small little person in his arms; he was smiling more than I’ve seen in a while.
“Hello Matthews. You’ve met my daughter, Lily, already,” Coach said stepping towards my dad.
“Hey Brown. Yes, she is a sweetheart,” Dad said still holding the snuggling Lily.
Matthew, Ken, and Jerry were standing still and quiet behind Coach’s and Dad’s exchange. “It seems like they will be talking a while. I really need to head home to help my parents out with moving some things,” Jerry said to all of us.
“No problem bro. You can head out. Any of you can leave as well. I need to talk to my old man.” I said to the guys.
“Yeah, I’ve got to go home and sleep. I’m dead,” Ken said still hanging onto Matthew.
“I guess because he was my ride and I am currently his walking stick I’ll be leaving too. Is the barbeque hang out still happening tomorrow? Should we bring anything?” Matthew was still holding up the limp Ken.
“I’ll let you know if it’s still a go. I’m not so sure what my plans or days will be like the next few days. I’ll let you guys know,” waving off the guys as they headed to Ken’s parked car. I walked up to Coach and Dad still speaking. Coach was probably pouring out all the details of Lily’s situation. Lily had fallen asleep in my dad’s arms. “Dad? I don’t mean to interrupt, but we had plans today.”
“Yeah, sorry Brown we do have things to do today. Is she asleep?” Dad turned so that Coach could see her.
“Yep. She is out. You have gift Matthews; she never falls asleep for me. Before you go do you think you can attempt to put her in her car seat? It would be a big help.” Coach seemed to plead for this to happen like it was some sort of treasure.
“No problem. I fully understand. It was a pain getting this one to stay asleep,” Dad said in my direction as he walked toward Coach’s parked truck.
After Lily was buckled up into her seat, Coach drove off, but not before Dad invited him to the barbequing tomorrow; so I am assuming it is still on. “Dad. We need to talk, but I’m starving after practice today. Can we get food to go and head home?”
“No problem Son. Sounds like a plan,” Dad said as he swung his arm across my shoulders, pulling me towards his Dodge truck.