It's short, there's nothing worrisome in it, so, I defy you LJ-Cut! Mwahaha! (And I WILL make 25k today... I am sure of it!)
There was a definite lack of concentration on Fingon’s part the next day at the gym. He gave fewer pointers than he usually did, and instead of paying careful attention to the routines he found his mind wandered more to the events of the previous evening.
His lack of attention did not go unnoticed by the coach, and at the end of the day’s practice he was waved into the office. Wordlessly, he followed and shut the door behind as he entered.
“Fingon, there is something I would like to talk to you about.” Insertcoachnamehere perched on his desk and gave Fingon one of his serious looks. His hands were folded together before him, but as he started to get further into his speech, he gestured with them often, but gracefully. “You may have noticed that I am not one to give idle praise – if someone works very hard, I am more than willing to acknowledge it, but I find that one should strive to meet their goals without the influence of others in the form of kind yet untruthful words. Criticism, on the other hand, is very necessary.”
The coach stepped down and walked across the room to the display shelves that housed many trophies and awards. “Red Fern is not a very old team, but we are fierce. We do not always make first place, but we do our best.” He looked over his shoulder. “I do not think you have been doing your best, have you, Fingon?”
“I have been doing all that has been asked of me,” answered Fingon. “I come here on time, I stay late when there is a match the next day, and I help the team hone their skills. Are there other tasks which I have been remiss in performing?”
“It is not that you have not completed the tasks, but that you are not putting in your full focus. Other things are clouding your mind. I do not know how the Whitecloud team functioned, but things are different here. I expect everyone’s commitment to be to this team. Only then can our best performance be given. Does that make sense to you?” asked insertcoachnamehere.
Fingon nodded after a moment. “Is that all, sir?”
“No. I am going to be interviewing a few of your peers over the next week. They were all second choices when we first considered you, but seeing as how you lack a certain... quality that we were hoping for, we may replace you. Then again, we may not,” added the coach. “I guess what I am telling you is that if you are serious about staying here with Red Fern, now would be the time to show that.”
“I understand.” Fingon swallowed hard. “May I be excused?”
The coach waved toward the door, and Fingon slowly rose and left.
Even when he had been scolded by his father, he had never felt so talked down to. He waited until he gathered his gear and walked out of the gym and into the garden to slide down to the ground beside a tree. With his eyes closed, he willed himself not to get emotional over the conversation. A few deep breaths turned his embarrassment to anger. His desire to return home was returning, but his want to prove his father wrong was strong in him.
He allowed himself a few more minutes to calm down before he returned to his feet and made the short journey back to the house. By the time he was home, he had talked himself into leaving the assistant position, and then back into staying again. When he sat down for dinner with Maglor, he silently plotted to stay until he found another position at some other gym. By the time he had readied for bed, he had convinced himself that he was much too talented to work for someone else anyhow and should open a gym of his own. The next morning, he rose early, bathed, and headed back to the gym to prove how dedicated he was to his craft.