A Different Type of Dialogue
I was taken aback when my writers mastermind group said not to change a word of chapter five of Coach Dave Season Two: All-Stars. It was a different type of dialogue but one very common to sports teams, a conversation through group text. Nevertheless, since I had never written an entire texting conversation, I was speechless that it made such an impression.
I’ll let you read the chapter first and then tell you what came of it later through the suggestion of my group. Check out a different type of dialogue with the baseball dads of the Southburg All-Star team.
A late-afternoon office meeting caused me to miss most of the first practice of the all-star season. Stepping out of my building into the sweltering heat that still hung over the early evening, I considered going straight home without stopping by the ball field and asking one of the other dads to give Rob a ride home. When I turned on my phone to make that call, I discovered, instead, an action-packed list of notifications of the day’s events on a group text with the other Scarlet Knight dads.
From Gary “Rooster” Hamilton: Five minutes into practice and Brandt is already acting like this is his team!!!
From Big Carlos Rosales: Brad, this is not good. You need to be here to help calm down Rooster. 🙂
From Charlie Jones: Just giving you a heads up, Brad. Dissension in the ranks already.
From Gary “Rooster” Hamilton: Arrrggghh!!!
From Dean Ford: Translation of Rooster’s text: Any thoughts of Fletcher Brandt’s settling into a trusted assistant’s role have already dissipated.
From Hunter Logan: Brad, I can only imagine your response to all these texts when you get out of your meeting. These two coaches working together really was NOT a good idea. On the bright side, we have really enjoyed getting to know Reggie Barnes’s dad, Tyrell. (Reggie is the catcher from the Dodgers.)
From Gary “Rooster” Hamilton: Just thought I couldn’t stand Brandt before!!! He better not say a word to me after practice or I’m going off on him!!!
From Big Carlos Rosales: Brad, you gonna be here before practice is over? We might need some help restraining Rooster. lol 🙂
From Dean Ford: Seriously, Brad, it would be good if you could be here by the time we have the team meeting. Coach Dave is going to need some serious support.
From Gary “Rooster” Hamilton: I don’t usually chew my cabbage twice but Arrrggghh!!!
From Dean Ford: With all the Scarlet Knights on the team and the support of all our parents, that gives Coach Dave a numbers advantage, but you know as well as I do, all it takes is one or two belligerent parents to make a season miserable.
From Gary “Rooster” Hamilton: Idiot!!! That’s what he is, an idiot!!!
From Dean Ford: The catcher from the Dodgers’ dad is with us, and so is Billy Henderson’s dad, Gene. Jesse Winfield’s step-dad is Jon Ellington. He’s not here, but he’s a friend of mine from way back. Mainly, the parents I’m worried about are the Yankee parents and Jud Franklin’s dad. They’re all here and—well, let’s just say that Coach Dave has plenty of “assistant coaches.”
From Big Carlos Rosales: Kinda like when we started the regular season, lol. We’re all concerned about Rooster. For real. He’s madder’n a wet hen. (See what I did there?) 🙂 lol 🙂
To Gary “Rooster” Hamilton, Big Carlos Rosales, Charlie Jones, Dean Ford, Hunter Logan: Hold it together, boys. You guys aren’t much on specifics, but I’m leaving now headed toward the ball field. Be there in 20 minutes. Rooster, try to dial it back a few notches, would ya?
A Different Type of Dialogue…And Then…
My mastermind group made one suggestion: include at least one more chapter of texts. So along about chapter fourteen, I decided the time had come for another texting chapter. The conversation started heavy on the fun (and making fun of Rooster), but then it morphed into my favorite dialogue of the book. It was one of those days when the dialogue was developing faster than I could think, like the characters in the book had come to life and directed their own conversation. (Now, that would be a really different type of dialogue.)
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About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.