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Oceans For Emotions: Help me say no when I should know better

By By Elaine Wheat
March 23, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 22, 2012 at 10:23 p.m.

Elaine Wheat

Editors note: This week's column is a letter from Jan Lahodny, who was named coach of the year for the Texas Girls Basketball and who is in the Hall of Fame for the Texas Girls Basketball.

"I will teach you the good and right way."

- I Samuel 12:23

Letter from Jan Lahodny, past head coach of the most winningest - Victoria Stingarettes Girls' Basketball Teams:

Dear Elaine,

You said in your column, "Oceans for Emotions," a few weeks ago, that you would take me fishing, but I had to follow your instructions without questioning.

Here is my vivid memory of that adventure. Until that day, I believed a perfect day at the beach was tanning in a lawn chair with my favorite beverage and a good book.

Within minutes of being in the water, I knew I had been hustled by the "Minnesota Fats" of the oceans.

Contrary to popular belief, I can follow orders when I am in deep water.

Rule No. 1: "Shuffle your feet, lest a stingaree stings you." (Is our high school mascot of the team I actually coach a non-mythical hurtful creature living in this sea?)

Rule No. 2: "Don't get too close to that pier. Sharks have been seen there." (Thanks for that nonchalant tidbit of information.)

Rule No. 3: "Keep the slack out of your line, and pop the cork to attract fish." ("With Jaws nearby, no thank you!")

Rule No. 4: "Coach, come out farther where the fish are biting." ("Get real! I am much shorter than you and you forgot to tell me to quit shuffling my feet. I am standing in a hole in the seafloor doing a ballerina dance on my tippy-toes, barely keeping my nose above water!")

Rule No. 5: "The fish have to go on the stringer of anybody who hasn't caught any." ("Coach Wheat, you kept handing me speckled trout or mackerel, what's the difference, and I put them on the stringer tied to my belt. They have sharp teeth and fins, and I am glad you weren't keeping score because a couple of fish escaped that stringer.")

By then, I was exhausted from "hot-peppering jump rope" over that constant, swirling stringer of fish, not to mention having continually looking around for Jaws. Any shark now had to see me as a scrumptious beef-and-reef combo meal and was probably no longer lurking near the pier.

My favorite recollection of me that day was a picture taken of me pretending to be surfing on an old tire that had washed ashore. It was not a "Tebo-esque" pose, but my heart-felt sincere gratitude to be on land.

Now, we could go home to a meal of fresh fried fish and hush puppies.

Oops! Rule No. 6: "Have to clean the fish." ("A filet knife and a writhing fish is not the sweetest way to lose my finger. How could I effectively communicate with referees when they missed a call if I didn't have all of my fingers?)"

An evil thought came over me as I put my tired self to sleep that night ... He who laughs last, laughs best! I told the fish, "I ate you instead of you eating me ... ha ha ha!

Dear Lord, please help me say no when I should know better. Thank you for the magnificent power and beauty of your oceans and the friends who share it and love it with me. It is one of life's greatest pleasures. It is like your free gift of salvation. The ocean is a free gift for everyone to enjoy and share. Why are we so compelled to accept, embrace and enjoy what you freely give?

Your friend for a life-time,

Coach Jan Lahodny, the worst wade fisherwoman ever

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