This story was submitted anonymously.
Nothing ever happened.
Mostly, it was flattering.
Sometimes, it was weird.
And sure, a few times it became uncomfortable.
But he was my coach, my parents’ friend, I had crushes on his sons, I’d known him for most of my life, and that was just how he was. Even my parents knew that he had a penchant for commenting on the girls’ butts–my butt. But it was brushed off, that’s just him, we all said.
When I cried my way through practices and teenage angst he listened. A constant in my life, I turned to him for those first painful steps as I grew from the young girl he first started coaching eight years earlier, into a confident adult. He was my savior, and so I forgave him for telling me I had a nice ass.
Years later a detective called and threw my memories into a turmoil of what ifs.
What if I had responded differently.
What if in that time of early internet chat rooms, I hadn’t told him to go talk to his wife instead of me.
What if I had done something other than laugh and run off when he told me I was making him hard.
What if I hadn’t had any self-confidence.
What if I was joining the sixteen year old in the court case against him.
What if I was the one that would send him to jail and put him on the sexual offender list for life.
Would I have had the courage to do it?
Even now, years and three children since that phone call, I still think of him. Sometimes he invades my dreams and sometimes I see him in the smiling faces of our friends when they talk to my daughters.
And I think, what can I do?
What can I do to instill that kind of self-confidence in my girls?
What can I do to recognize that intent in the adults around me?
What can I do for my girls?
And if the time comes, and I suspect, fear or know, will I have the courage to act?
My biggest hero has turned into my biggest nightmare and nothing ever happened.