Coach Bittle: What might have been

The stadium was slowly emptying. The locker room was empty, the players gone to celebrate their win, Richard Bittle was busy closing and locking doors. When he turned around, he was surprised to see one of his players waiting for him, twisting the hem of his Georgia Football sweater.

- Huh… Coach? can I talk to you?

- Sure, Masterson, what is it?

- Huh…

The kid looked behind him, at the closed locker door. He seemed afraid.

- It’s about your son, Sir. The guys made us swear we wouldn’t tell, but-

Something cold grabbed Richard’s insides. Soon he was running to a deserted corridor, opening a locker door that was never used, and finding his own son lying on the cold ground, covered in bruises.

- Dicky, Dicky answer me-

He took the shivering boy in his arms. Dicky, thank the Lord, opened his good eye.

- …Coach?

- I’m here, son, I’m here. What happened to you, who did this-

- They- they said I was a faggot, Coach. I’m sorry, I should have been stronger, I should have-

- Nonsense, it’s not your fault, come here.

And holding his son against him, he barely heard the tiny voice whisper:

- But what if I am? What if I’m gay?

Richard didn’t have the words, so he held his son tighter.

Richard had made his decision before even reaching the house, so when later, that night, after the tears and the reassurances, after Dicky finally fell asleep, his bruises and cuts tended to, he sat down at the kitchen table with Suzanne.

- Richard, I know they’re your team, but-

- I will send my resignation in the morning. Madison High School wants me, I’ll call them as soon as I can.

- Oh. Okay. I was afraid that…

- Suzie, he’s our son.

- Yes. I’m sorry. But what about his figure skating? You know Katya is the best…

- That’s up to him.

If Richard was relieved that Dicky chose to play Hockey instead, he kept it to himself.

The front door slammed, and Dicky let his hockey bag fall to the floor.

-That Tyler is a real-

- Language, interrupted Richard without lifting his eyes from the newspaper.

- Sorry Coach, mumbled Dicky, sitting down in front of him, crossing his arms. It’s just that he’s been acting like a real jerk, showing off and saying stupid stuff…

- Last week you talked about how good he was at hockey for a good ten minutes without breathing. What happened since?

Dicky placed his head on the table and mumbled something.

- Didn’t hear you, son.

- …He got a girlfriend.

- Ah, said Richard, turning a new page. Sorry to hear about that.

- Yeah.

Dicky spent the afternoon transforming the kitchen into a war zone.

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anonymous asked:

Oh my god the one with both in the NHL😍😍😍😍 but what if they meet in the NHL

I LIKE THE WAY YOU’RE THINKING but also YOU KNOW THIS MEANS A LOT OF UNIVERSE BUILDING ON HOW BITTY ENDS UP SKATING IN THE NHL RIGHT. i cant write prompts like this without copious amounts of universe building so like. so like this isn’t so much how bitty and jack met in the nhl, but the history of Eric Bittle, hockey player since he was a child. jack doesnt even appear yet. 

also @des-zimbits remember when we were talking about bitty who played hockey all along?

Suzanne Bittle, neè Phelps, was a huge fan of Bad Bob Zimmermann in college. Richard Bittle didn’t understand the appeal of ice skating, but dutifully recorded matches of Zimmermann on VCR whenever Suzanne can’t catch the games. When they had their son, Suzanne was adamant on introducing Junior to the ice, and Richard again dutifully agreed. Football can come later, he reasoned, he’ll let the kid learn some balance first. 

Except once Eric Richard Bittle got on the ice, he never got off. He was skating circles around the other kids his age, even older kids in their skating class. When Junior was seven years old, someone in their area wanted to form an informal hockey team and offered classes. Richard and Suzanne both hesitated on enrolling Dicky, because he was so much smaller than the other boys, and last year his stint trying out for football hadn’t turned out too well. But the man, a Mr. Smith, convinced them to give hockey a try, and that their son was a natural skater and had great athletic ability. 

So Dicky took lessons and joined the team and started outskating and outplaying everyone. He took to hockey like a fish to water, and soon progressed from mites level to peewee, until he was 15 and faced a choice. Continue with the level of hockey that Georgia can provide him, or head to the USHL combine and hope to be scouted.

He looked at the worried face of his mama and the proud expression on his daddy. He remembered the night his friend Jason, who figure skated but didn’t even like boys, almost got locked in a closet if he hadn’t intervened and convinced the football boys otherwise and he had thought to himself, terrified, that could’ve been me. If I didn’t play hockey, if I wasn’t captain of the team, that could’ve been me. 

Dicky took a deep breath.

“I’m going.”

It wasn’t hard to get scouted. He was fast, he had soft hands, and he was able to out skate everyone. At age 16, Dicky packed up his bags and headed out of Georgia to his billet family. 

He had thought it would be different outside of Georgia. Not too different, because he’d been around locker room talk since he was seven, but that at least he would be able to avoid the harshness and the fear of exposure outside the locker room. It was, a little bit. They have an actual GSA club at the high school near his billet family that he attended. Ricky- because he was Ricky once his teammates found out his middle name was Richard- didn’t dare go near it. But its existence made him comfortable. 

They get close to the Clark Cup the year he joined, and Ricky put his all in training. At the end of the their season, he tentatively borrowed the kitchen and baked a pie for his team. It was a hit, and a huge weight lifted off of him.

Over the summer Ricky found out about Youtube, he started vlogging about his teammates, his school, and his pie recipes. He tentatively suggested in front of the camera that he found a few guys cute, then immediately switched to another topic. It was like another huge weight had lifted off of him. He, Eric Richard Bittle, found boys to be cute. There was no labelling, and nothing else definitive, but a quiet recognition. 

They managed to get into the finals for the Clark Cup his second year, when he was 17. Ricky was on the ice for 30 minutes when a hit fractured his arm. 

“Put me back on the ice, coach,” he insisted. “I need to play. I’m going to play well, I promise.”

His coach refused to, but took note of Ricky’s intensity and let him stay dressed and on the bench.

Ricky gets even better, people start recognizing his play, his style. His youtube channel is still unknown by hockey fans, but he deleted the ones that even hinted at him liking boys. 

His third and final year, they win. He coordinated the play, passed it to Mickey, who shoots it in the net and they win and Ricky had never felt so safe before. Everything was going well; he had a great run in the juniors, his teammates liked him, the hockey community loved him, and he’d already set sights on Samwell University where he planned on opening a new chapter in his life. 

Then a call came in his mama.

“Dicky? Oh, Dicky it’s bad. Your daddy, he-” she choked, unable to speak more. 

Cancer was a bitch. They caught Coach’s early on, so his prognosis was good, but both Eric and his mother wanted the best healthcare money could buy for him. Coach tried to tell him that it was nothing they couldn’t afford, and wasn’t he sure that he was going to get an athletic full ride to Samwell anyway?

Eric signed up for the NHL draft and applied for exceptional player status to play at eighteen. It was just a shot in the dark, they can afford Samwell (even with its full ride on tuition and housing, there were other fees) as well as Coach’s medical fees for a year before he can properly sign up as a nineteen year old and get a contract to cover the cost of much better treatments. He felt guilty, but he was so glad that he can have that one year. 

Then the news came. He was granted exceptional player status and was to be drafted the same year he had been planning on going to Samwell. The Providence Falconers had first pick that year, and Eric wondered if it was the universe tempting him with the fact that the two were so close. 

His teammates crowed and slapped his back, and his coaches laughed and congratulated him. 

Eric smiled tensely. 

to be continued….. 

Thinking about Señor Bunny

  • I think Bitty made him in 6th grade Home Economics class, a class that Bitty aced because he went in knowing everything they were going to teach him already
    • Everyone else was making square pillows or MAYBE a square drawstring bag or lunch sack if the teacher did the buttonholes or velcro attachment for them
    • Bitty brought in the satchel he sewed for himself last year and a hair caul he made for another figure skater to show the teacher, so she let him pick an advanced project.  
    • He handsewed a rabbit, and his other elective that semester was Spanish so he named it Señor Bunny
  • He got shit from the other boys for being good at sewing and making a  rabbit, but he got shit from the other boys for existing and just being him so he’d already decided to stop trying to fit in.  So he stopped hiding things like the fact that he figure skated, and that he was good at Home Ec.
  • Señor Bunny was his best confidant. He rode everywhere in Eric’s backpack.  
    • S.B. has helped Eric prepare for oral presentations, run lines for plays, and record his vlog.  
    • Señor Bunny was the first person Eric told that he was gay, and S.B. was very understanding and supportive and nonjudgmental.
    • He was also Eric’s only companion the night the football team locked him (them) in the utility closet.
  • Suzanne Bittle has a scrapbook of her Dicky’s skating career, which includes him posing with Señor Bunny at ALL of his competitions, whether buckled beside him on the drive there, sitting on his equipment bag when Dicky warms up, or being held while Dicky smiles brightly and nervously before going out onto the ice.
  • Eric perched Señor Bunny on the dashboard the entire drive up from Madison to Samwell
  • No one on the team saw, but Señor Bunny came on EVERY Samwell roadie.  For the NCAA final he left Bitty’s academic backpack and sat in his equipment bag, under his gloves and shin guards.
  • Jack laughs when Bitty sets Señor Bunny on the windowsill next to the bed in their bedroom in Providence, then thoughtfully turns him to look out the window.  “Does he go with you everywhere?”
    • “I owe this rabbit a debt of honor,” Bitty says seriously. “He was with me in the worst moments of my life. I think that means he deserves to be here for the best.”