Ok so, back to the point of the “gotcha by the short hair” story I started a few days ago…

(I’ve been imitating the kids lately, every time they do their habitual “ok so” preface to every uttering, and sometimes saying, “You seem to like cheese a lot, since you begin every sentence with OH Queso!” Now for some of them, that’s a thing.)

It just so happens that this year I have well over half of the 7th grade basketball team in my classes. It also happens that several of said members have been inflicting various amounts of pain on my heinie. Further still, it happens that the coach of the 7th grade team (the same one with all the lunchtime energy) rightly feels that his team members are students first and athletes second.

hahahahaha! I gotcha (’em) by the short hair.

Since these days the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams are the only school athletic teams we have, it’s a pretty big deal to get past the tryouts and make the team. And the coaches keep a close eye on grade and citizenship.


I had mentioned all these facts to certain brand new, very proud basketball team members back when the season was first starting.

You know when middle schoolers say, “I know,” when we all know they really don’t know?

It was like that.

I about a week later I mention to one of the other coaches that I had a couple of hoops players who were still a bit too frisky, and disrespectful. That they sort of defeated the whole purpose of wearing ties to school on game day by acting like kindergartners.

Then I get an e-mail from the 7th grade head coach.


I understand “Kramer” has major behavior issues in English.  He is on the basketball team so if he doesn’t improve let me know and I’ll sit him out for a game or 2 or 3… whatever it takes!


So I printed a copy,  casually sauntered up to Kramer, and set the note on his desk to read. Then I picked it up, folded it, and put it in my shirt pocket.

I might as well have slapped duct tape over his mouth. Well for 10 minutes at least.

So for a few days, every time Kramer would “forget” again and say “I’m sorry” again, I would just tap my shirt pocket and slowly and sadly shake my head.

Back on with the duct tape.

Unfortunately, this young bronc proved himself to be a little harder to break, and within another week I had to call in my favor.

Kramer sat during the whole championship game of the tourney they played in this weekend.

Boy did that send a message reverberating through the rest of them. Especially when Coach showed up during break detention today and observed,

“There are sure a lot of basketball players in here. Do you need me to… Just let me know.”

Most definitely gotcha by the short hair.