coach approaches bitty the summer after year 3 and says they need to have a talk. in b’s mind, the best case scenario is that they’re finally discussing the birds and the bees, which they never actually did bc coach foolishly relied on b’s middle school, abstinence-only sex ed to do all the work for him.
worst case scenario though? coach found Bitty’s YouTube channel. coach knows about jack. coach is about to force a conversation b isn’t ready to have.
so b’s p anxious as he follows coach to the den and waits for his father to speak. to his surprise, coach pulls out two beers and an old notebook, brimming with loose sheets and red ink.
“even if it’s not a coaching position,” coach says gruffly, tossing b his football-shaped bottle opener. “being captain is an important job. you gotta be the heart of the team, son, and I don’t doubt your abilities for a second, but, well…I’ve been waiting awhile to give you this.”
and he hands the book over and b flips through it. partially it’s plays, not too relevant to hockey but with some interesting ideas. the rest, though, is messy scribbles, notes on how to approach closed-off teammates, ideas on nutrition and team bonding and rousing speeches. Bitty’s tearing up before he can help it.
“thanks, dad,” he says softly, thumbing mindlessly through the pages again and again. “i…hope I’ll make you proud.”
“‘Course you will,” coach says, clinking their bottles together. “You always do.”