Coaches, Cars, and Character

Team after team, the endurance race pressed on. No car came anywhere close to beating us. Hopes were high. But when it was all over, the maroon and white competitors from Texas had the highest overall score, and my team, the boys in blue took second in the annual hybrid race car competition.

“Not next year.” Stephen, our team rookie, sulked out loud.

Lance, the team captan glared at Stephen, then with a disappointed but knowing grin, he looked over at the coach and said. “Was I really like that last year?”

“You’ve come a long way,” the coach responded, his face changing from concerned to encouraged as he also looked at Stephen then back to Lance. “I expect to hear great things about you’re career.”

Most crews went over to congratulate the winning team. “Great design! Impressive driving. I’d love to see your finite element analysis for your suspension.”

Stephen held back.

“Gather ‘round everyone,” Lance called out, receiving a nod from the coach. “You are awesome. We came from behind and made the best showing yet for our school. Ed, that was a jaw-dropping run. Let’s hear it for Ed.”

How can he be so cheerful?” Stephen punched the end of his right fist into the palm of his other hand.If it weren’t for that technicality during the autocross…”

The coach put his arms around a few team members and leaned into the center. “I can’t tell you how pleased I am, not only with the car you engineered, but with the way you’ve worked with each other, the way you helped the other teams, and your respect for the officials.”

“What’s he talking about?” Stephen said under his breath. “The technicality was unfair; I think they made a mistake. We should have won. Next year for sure.” His fist hit his palm again.

Lance turned to his mentor. “Coach! It looks like you’ll get to build more than cars next year.”

The coach elbowed his team leader. “Yes. Just like this year.”


About Kenneth Richard Hardman

AncestorClips are very short stories about very real people. Each clip nurtures awareness of a time, a place, and the character of a man or woman who cultivated a path for our life. The reader feels the good, the obstacles, the happiness, the sadness, and the overcoming. They cheer us, make us resilient when challenged, give us purpose, and connect us to our multi-generational family. Each story is followed by reflections from the author and readers sharing how the story strengthened or inspired them. Ken Hardman is a son, a brother, a grandson, a great-grandson… He is also a husband, father and grand-father. Ken is a professional engineer, engineering mentor, technical writer, and associate technical fellow at a major aerospace company. He is a writer of engineering and family history stories. Please join Ken in reading, reflecting upon, or writing #AncestorClips
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2 Responses to Coaches, Cars, and Character

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  2. Reblogged this on Engineering Stories and commented:

    Here is one of my favorites. Enjoy the short read.

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