Hee-hee-who, hee-hee-who … me? A coach?
After years of being a participant in sports and other assorted activities I’m now a “coach.” Or at least that’s what I’m being called in some quarters.
The hitch, however, is that I haven’t a clue about what it is I’m supposed to be coaching to my “team.” Actually, team is as much a misnomer as coach, since my wife, Annette, is the only player on the team. Wait, I take that back, the team is Annette and our happily gestating baby boy, Kelly, due on July 20. So I guess you could call it a coed team.
But me ” coach? Me? That’s what the expert who conducts our prenatal classes has taken to calling the males in our weekly get-togethers. Coaches, eh?
Usually, coaches have some sort of past experience actually doing what they are supposed to be coaching. But sometimes those connections ” like me coaching my wife on childbirth ” are tenuous at best. I’ve never really been able to figure out how some short, middle-aged guy in a suit who’s never stepped on the hardwood of an NBA court ends up coaching a bunch of 7-footers how to rebound a basketball.
But I digress.
The other night I looked around the class at the other fathers-to-be and thought, with a fair degree of certainty, that none of them had given birth before. I think I would have noticed had I. I mean I would remember boxing out Shaq under the rim, wouldn’t I?
Anyway, coach is what the instructor calls me, so coach I’ll be. I’m cool with that. I can coach: Keep your head down and eye on the ball; choke up on the bat; tackle ’em at the knees; jab, bob, weave ” but most important of all, just breath.
So like running, cycling or doing a lay-up, having a baby ” from what I’ve gleaned from prenatal classes ” apparently involves a whole lot of breathing.
Piece of cake! I can breath, been doing it for more than three decades with only a few minor hiccups. I can handle standing on the sidelines reminding Annette to breath. I can even wear that old stopwatch around my neck and time those contracts, or constructions, or whatever they’re called.
But of course, someone had to go and make breathing all complicated. Seems there’s something out there called patterned breathing, which isn’t to be confused with heavy breathing and 1-900 numbers.
The prenatal folks have you practice breathing ” pant-pant-blow, which after a deep breath comes out in the exhale sounding like “hee-hee-who.” This patterned breathing helps mom relax, deal with pain, fear and anxiety. That’s all fine. Annette, I’m sure, will be so busy pushing and yelling for a few hours that she won’t be thinking about much else.
I, on the other hand, must continue to coach and worry about having the in-laws pour a cooler of Gatorade over my head in celebration. I know, I know ” pant-pant-blow, hee-hee-who ” it’s a big responsibility.
And what about those other anxiety ridden things? New baby, sleepless nights, college educations, poopy diapers? Hee-hee-who, pant-pant-blow… Forget contractions, coach is getting a little light-headed just thinking about the big game.
Hee-hee-who, hee-hee-who ” must … remember … to … breath …
Jamie Bate is the editor of the
Sierra Sun. Reach him at