I know you were not a dirty coach or a cheater or a liar or a phony. When Woody Hayes accused you of teaching cheap tactics, it enraged you. Your assistants called Hayes "the fat man" after that, and so did we players, because we didn't like him either. You were not a bad coach, Alex, but you were part of a system that is fundamentally flawed. It wasn't really your fault, and it wasn't mine. But you were the adult and I was the kid, and we can't change that.
Coaches and players go in lockstep through life, inextricably bound up by coincidence and fate, as do parents and offspring, cops and robbers, priests and sinners. It's a tangled web that only goes straight at the end. You saw me suffering at the dedication ceremony, Alex, and you walked up to me with your tough coach's walk, the way you have a hundred times before. I may have flinched.
"Smile, Rick," you said.
That was nice. We must be friends.
I know I'll always be your player.