Getting hired as a speaker is a difficult undertaking at times, but the hardest time I had was when I was trying to convince my “own” daughter to let me speak to her high school volleyball team. The squad was getting ready to start the first round of the State tournament, so it was kind of a big deal. She was the senior captain of the team and my wife was constantly in her ear about having me come to talk to her team. “Why don’t you just have your dad talk to your team?” was her question. My daughter immediately shot back a look of “yea…right”. Finally my wife was able to break down the door and convince her to give me a chance (she has a great penchant for doing this). My daughter, in turn, had to go and convince her coach that this was a good idea. Not so easy in the adolescent world.
Now Katie’s coach was a veteran coach who had won a ton of games and was set in his ways. On top of that, he was wrapped really tightly. If you were to break down his body composition you would find it to be 20% bones and muscles and 90% nerves (I know that doesn’t add up, but he had the extra 10%). He probably the guy who the comedian had in mind when he first uttered “He would be the type of person who would make coffee nervous”. Surprisingly he said “yes”.
So it was set. I was to address the team after a practice in the “health” classroom (it had a podium and enough seats). My daughter was in the back doing her “Please dad, don’t embarrass me “dance. All fathers can relate to that body-language plea. The coach of the team said to me “Alright. You have 10 minutes” as he was doing the “Please don’t screw this thing up” dance followed by the “Oh my God, we have a good team. What am I doing?” shimmy. Internally he was probably worried about me saying something that would totally undermine what they had been doing there.