Reuniting is a strange phenomenon. In my case it’s loaded with shaky expectations and lots of unknowns.
Frank is returning from Afghanistan in about four weeks. The past 11 months flew by really fast, but now the last month is going to drag with anticipation. He’s hit the part in his tour where they are transitioning their duties to the replacement unit, so he is feeling very superfluous. This is the worst thing for a soldier in theatre. He now has time to contemplate his situation and think deeply about where they are in their life and where they are going.
It began in early December when I started a new job and my boss gave me a New Yorker article about a surgeon who was skeptical about the idea of having a mentor (he thought he was at the top of his game) until he tried it, and then realized it helped him become a better surgeon. He likened it to coaching.
For nearly 20 years of my life I’ve coached figure skaters, and 12 of those years were spent with one particular student. I first met Heather when she was 9 years old – a tall, emotionally fragile girl from a divorced family. Heather would cry every time she couldn’t land a jump. I thought, like most skaters, she was frustrated with herself and mad that she couldn’t do it “right.” Years later she revealed to me that she cried because she was worried that she was disappointing me because she wasn’t able to land her jumps correctly. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I was, and still am, proud of her. (Now 21, she skates professionally with a big touring company.)