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Coach Dad

by Mike O'Mary


Cast of Characters


Lisa, Tom’s 11-year-old daughter

Executives: Larry, Rick & Mary

Sally, Larry’s 11-year-old daughter


Place: In the car, then in an imaginary office


(Lisa enters, gets in the back seat of the car and sulks. Tom enters, talking over his shoulder.


TOM: (speaking to someone offstage) Okay, see you next week.


(Tom gets in the car and starts driving).


TOM: That was a good practice. You girls were looking tough out there.


(While Tom looks straight ahead, Lisa makes a face and does a quick, unflattering pantomime of Tom’s words. Tom glances over just as Lisa finishes.)


TOM: Make all the jokes you want, but you gotta get serious if you want to make the finals.


LISA: I guess.


TOM: The girls need to remember to use two hands.  And they need to hustle.


LISA: Yeah, I know… (sarcastic) “Use two hands. Hustle.” Blah, blah, blah.


TOM: What’s the matter?


LISA: Nothing.


TOM: You seem upset.


LISA: (annoyed) It’s like you’re not even my dad!


TOM: What do you mean?


LISA: You yelled at me in front of everybody!


TOM: What’s the motto? There’s no “me” in Team. (beat) That’s right. Besides, I didn’t really yell.


LISA: Yes you did. You said (screams) “LEEE-SA!”


TOM: On Tuesdays from 6 to 7:30, I’m your coach. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 15 years as an ineffectual sales manager for International Screw & Twine, it’s the importance of living vicariously through your children.


LISA: (perplexed) What?


TOM: The importance of teamwork. That’s why I’m your coach. Plus, it gives us some quality time together.


LISA: But it’s not fair. How would you like it if I came to your job and yelled at you in front of everybody?


TOM: I don’t know…


(Lighting indicates scene change: Lisa and Tom huddle stage right. Three executives--Mary, Rick and Larry--enter and sit down. They are accompanied by Larry’s daughter, Sally, who acts as Larry’s coach. Sally huddles with Larry, pantomiming last-minute advice while Lisa and Tom talk.)


LISA: Okay, there they are. Are you ready to make your presentation?


TOM: Yes.


LISA: I said, are you ready?


TOM: (with more bravado) Yes!


LISA: What’s your objective, Daddy?


TOM: To win!


LISA: Okay, now get in there and make it happen!


TOM: Okay!


(Tom starts to walk toward the executives. Lisa pats him on the butt.)


LISA: Hustle!


(Tom hurries up and steps in front of the other executives like he’s about to make a presentation. Sally steps back to the “sidelines” opposite Lisa. Tom checks his stance and shifts his feet a little.)


LISA: (motions for Tom to move over) Move over…


(Tom takes a small step.)


LISA: …more…


(Tom takes another small step.)


LISA: (makes broad motion) Waaaaay over!


(Tom moves to where he should be.)


LISA: Okay good. Now go!


(During Tom’s presentation, Lisa and Sally both pace back and forth anxiously, like coaches on the sidelines.)


TOM: Good morning, everybody. Thank you for coming.


(Lisa motions for Tom to speed it up.)


TOM: Today, I want to talk to you about a proposal that will do three things for our company. It will increase sales…




TOM: …reduce costs…




TOM: …and…uh…and…


(Lisa is frantically urging Tom on, hoping he will remember.)


LARRY: (taunting) Did you forget something, Tom?


(Larry, Rick, Mary and Sally laugh at Tom.)


LISA: Come on…you can do it.


TOM: …uh…


LISA: And improve customer service!


TOM: …and improve customer service!


(The executives applaud. Larry looks to Sally.)


SALLY: (to Larry) Come on, Daddy. Say something!


LARRY: (to Tom, in condescending tone) Increase sales, reduce costs AND improve customer service? What is this? Some sort of “miracle” proposal?


(The executives laugh.)


RICK: Yeah, how can one proposal do all that?


TOM: Uh…um…


(Tom panics, fakes an ankle injury.)


TOM: Ow! My ankle!


(Tom limps over to Lisa. While Tom and Lisa talk, the executives point at Tom and snicker amongst themselves. Sally steps in and high-fives her dad.)


LISA: What are you doing? What happened?


TOM: I think I hurt my ankle.


LISA: Let me see. (Lisa inspects Tom’s ankle.) It’s fine. Now shake it off and get back in there.


TOM: I can’t!


LISA: Yes you can.


TOM: (starting to pout) But they’re better than me.


LISA: (takes Tom by the shoulders and looks him square in the eye) Look at me: Nobody’s better than you. You can do this. You’ve done it a thousand times in practice. Now come on. (stern) Don’t let me down.


(Tom composes himself and reluctantly goes back in. Lisa pumps fist and nods her head in encouragement.)


TOM: If you’ll take a look at this graph, you’ll see that IST Corporation has numerous growth opportunities…


LARRY: What kind of graph is that?


TOM: It’s a bar chart.


MARY: Why didn’t you use a pie chart?


RICK: Or a line graph?


TOM: I don’t know…


LARRY: Who drew that graph anyway? A monkey?


TOM: No, I did.


LARRY: Then you must be some kind of monkey boy.


MARY: Yeah, draw us some more pictures, monkey boy.


LARRY, RICK & MARY: Monkey boy, monkey boy.


(Tom runs over to Lisa.)


LISA: What are you doing?!


TOM: They’re calling me names.


LISA: Just ignore them.


TOM: (whining) I can’t.


LISA: Listen, you’ve got to toughen up. Now get back in there and talk about deliverables and takeaways—and then wrap it up with a strong call to action.


TOM: (petulant) But I don’t care about deliverables, and I don’t care about takeaways. And I don’t want to do a strong call to action.


LISA: What are you gonna do then? (beat) Quit? Is that what you are—a quitter?


TOM: I want to go home.


LISA: This is business—you can’t go home. Now get back in there.


TOM: I don’t want to.


LISA: I don’t care.


(Tom hangs his head. Starts to cry.)


LISA: What? (beat) Don’t start crying! Don’t you dare start crying.


TOM: I can’t help it.


SALLY: Hey, are we gonna have a meeting or what?


LARRY: (embarrassed) Sally!


SALLY: (stern) Daddy! (to Lisa) We haven’t got all day.


LISA: You got a problem?


SALLY: No, but your wussy daddy sure does.


LISA: Yeah?!


SALLY: Yeah!


LARRY: (meekly) Hey, come on. It’s only a meeting.


SALLY: (to Larry) Stay out of this, Daddy!


LISA: (glaring at Sally) Oh, we’re gonna have a meeting all right. (to Tom) Now get back in there.


(Tom resumes the presentation.)


TOM: (tentatively) Um…okay…so in summary, the important thing to remember is that if we have lots of deliverables…and stuff…then everybody will get lots of takeaways…and stuff…and we can bring the whole corporation…(Tom motions with one hand)


LISA: Use two hands!


TOM: (Tom motions with both hands)…we can bring the whole corporation to a new level of success.


(Larry looks to Sally again. Sally urges Larry to say something.)


LARRY: More like a new level of stupidity.


(The executives laugh. Sally pats her dad on the back. Lisa hangs her head.)


RICK: Yeah, stupid monkey-boy.


(The executives laugh.)


MARY: Hey, where’s my takeaway?


LARRY, RICK & MARY: (starting to chant) Yeah! We want a takeaway! We want a takeaway!


(Lisa motions to Tom.)


LISA: Get over here!


TOM: Uh-uh.


(Lisa goes to Tom.)


LISA: What was that? I told you I wanted a strong finish! You weren’t even trying!


TOM: Yes I was!


LISA: No you weren’t. And that’s the problem. I tell you over and over again, but you just don’t listen. What am I supposed to do with you?!


(While Lisa is speaking, Tom slowly starts to wilt. He ends up curling up in near fetal position in his chair.)


TOM: Stop yelling at me!


(All lights go down except spot on Tom. Larry, Rick, Mary and Sally exit. Lisa takes her seat next to Tom. Lights up and they’re back in the car.)


LISA: Yeah, I bet if I yelled at you in front of everybody, you wouldn’t like it.


TOM: (startled back to reality) What? Oh…yeah, you’re right. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. 


LISA: Yeah!


TOM: Can you forgive me?


LISA: Yeah, I guess…(loses train of thought and points excitedly to stage right) Oooh, look! Ice cream! Can we get some?


TOM: Sure, honey.


LISA: Hurray! Ice cream, ice cream!


(Tom turns steering wheel like he’s pulling over, then puts the car in “Park.” Lisa jumps out of the car and runs stage right. Tom lags behind. Lisa stops, turns around and yells at him.)


LISA: (with the stern face of a coach again) Come on, Daddy! Let’s hustle!


(Lisa runs off stage. Tom follows. Lights out.)

"Coach Dad" was performed as part of the sketch comedy show "Give Me Liberty and Supersize It" (cowritten by Mike O'Mary and performed at Second City's Skybox Theatre in Chicago) and as part of "Cubicles" (written and produced by Mike O'Mary and performed as part of the inaugural Sketchfest at the Theatre Building in Chicago).
Mike O'Mary,
Jan 16, 2009, 12:39 AM