Slade Haney

The Waterboys

Throughout my time at Donoho, I have learned many life lessons that will be extremely valuable as I continue to grow up. One such lesson is that you should never tell eighth graders to do something without being especially clear of what you would like them to accomplish. Especially eighth graders that are trying their hardest to prove themselves to their very intimidating coach of whom they want to impress. If there is a slight miscommunication in the directions, they may misinterpret the job, and a very simple task can turn into a completely unexpected result. Most importantly, it may be nowhere near what was actually supposed to be accomplished. Fortunately for Tyler, Judson, and me, we learned this lesson first hand.

This story takes place the summer going into my 8th-grade year at one of our very few summer workouts. The workouts were mainly for the football team, but Skip (Coach Gendron) told me that I needed to attend them because I was, as he said, “weak.” At one of these workouts, Skip called Judson Billings, Tyler Allen, and me to his office because he had a job for us to do. As little 8th graders, we were ecstatic because our varsity baseball coach sought us out to do a job that he could’ve just as easily gotten an upperclassman to do. We walked into his office, and he said in his deep bass voice, “Men. I need you to put this (about 30 water bottles) in that.” He did not specify what exactly “that” was. Instead, he pointed to the corner of his office where an oddly-shaped, large, glass container sat on top of a mini-fridge. We did not see the fridge, and to this day, we are convinced that it was not in there. Unfortunately, this is where the confusion began. 

Skip left the office because he felt as though he had explained the job thoroughly enough for us to understand what we were supposed to do. Little did he know, all he did was confuse us beyond all help. For some reason, our premature eighth-grade minds settled on the same idea. I looked at Tyler and Judson and asked, “Why does he want us to pour all the water into the jar?” Tyler looked at me and said, “I don’t know man, it doesn’t make sense.” We were left with two options. We could seek out Skip and tell him we were confused and weren’t paying attention to his instructions, which could create a negative outlook on us, or pour the water into the jar. Without another moment of hesitation, we started pouring. After fifteen minutes of taking the water bottles out of the tub, pouring the water into the jar, and then putting the bottles back into the tub, we left his office believing that we had done a great job and that Skip would be proud.

However, about ten minutes later, the sound barrier was broken as Skip yelled for the three of us to get in his office. Terrified, the three of us walked back completely dumbfounded as to what exactly was wrong. It is very difficult to describe his facial expression, as it is a face that I have only seen in that moment. I could tell that he wasn’t sure if he was supposed to laugh at this odd turn of events or choke slam us all to the ground, he probably wanted to do a mix of both. Doing his best not to smile, he asked us, “What is wrong with y’all? Why did you pour all of the water into this jar?” The room was dead silent. The three of us looked at each other, and I said, “That’s what you told us to do, Skip.” I thought he might explode. He did, but thankfully, it was with laughter. Skip then spent the next ten minutes trying to explain how he meant for us to do the very simple task, followed by a lot of lighthearted jokes and name-calling by Skip. He then opened the magically appearing mini-fridge saying that that was where he had intended for us to put the waters. In complete disbelief of the situation, he told us to go back to the weight room and to think about what we had done. 

This story has been told by Skip so many times that people who don’t personally know me will bring up the story and laugh at the comical occurrence that happened on that confusing June day. I suppose the moral of this story is simply to be very clear with instructions when you are giving a job to middle schoolers who are trying to impress you. This is a story that will go down as one of my greatest memories at Donoho and is one that I am grateful to have been a part of.