Coach Vlad’s Feet Of Strength

To much critical acclaim I’ve written previous dialogues with Coach Vlad. I coach a high school swim team with him. He is from Russia and his English not so good. I find often times after speaking with him I leave with a Russian accent. Communication can be like speaking a foreign language as it takes utmost focus.

Sometimes it’s easier to just nod your head and fake enthusiasm when  you don’t feel like listening. This practice can be dangerous as the conversation might wind into strange corners.

As swim practice ended I was going over paperwork waiting for all the kids to leave the locker room. Vlad sat down in the chair next to me and let out a world weary moan. He lifted his sneakers up on the desk. “Foot no good.”

“Maybe you need new shoes?” I suggested.

“Other shoes hurt more. Now hurt little.”

“Maybe you need to wear sandals?”

“I run with dog in sandals. Oohh hurt very much.”

“Uh huh.”

“Put cushion in there. Hurt now little bit. How you say, cushion?”


“Yes, cushion. You know what work best?”


“You go to sleep with shoe. Inside shoe put cabbage leaf.”

He regained my attention. “What?”


The conversation ended there as Coach Vlad had to excuse himself to yell at the younger kids he coaches to “No play. In pool now!”


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