“Are we gonna argue about this? My son’s season has been completely fucked up! His friend was a captain on the team, he maybe was gonna get a scholarship. Who’s going to give him that money now? I think the kids covered it up to save Coach Mac and save their season.”
Tending bar at Doc’s is Rob McDermott, class of ’95. He was one of four captains chosen by Coach Mac his senior season. “A captain is an extension of the coaching staff,” he says, slipping into present tense to talk about his team. “What the coaches don’t control, the captains control. Whether it’s being in the locker room, making sure everybody’s on the same page, rallying the troops, or making sure everyone’s focused on the task at hand.”
How do you weed out the undisciplined players? “On any high-school team, the seniors give you a little bit of a hard time,” he says. “We built a very good tradition with our team, and we just want to make sure that anyone who wants to fit in on the team knows about the tradition.”
What about, say, having your head flushed in a toilet?
“It’s all fun and games,” says McDermott. “And coming in, you expect it. You’re ready for it.”
Was Wesley Berger expecting it?
“From what I heard, the guys stuck his head in the toilet, and that was it. We don’t beat guys up.”
Some of his old teammates have gathered to buy drinks from him. The conversation easily shifts to a defense of Coach Mac. “He never judged us,” says Dave Lohman, class of ’94. “He always listened. He did more for me than any coach ever. And because we were the group with Amos, our team is etched in his memory.”
“The coaches would have to be everywhere at the same time,” says Dave Hill.
“When I was in ninth grade,” says Lohman, “my father died and my mother wanted to move to Florida. Coach Mac talked to my mom, convinced us to stay. He taught us not to run away from our problems.”
“How old were these kids, 16, 17?” says Andrew Longaro. “You’re old enough to know what you’re doing.”
So, I ask, were any of you guys flushed?
“I had some friends who were older,” says McDermott. “So, no.”
The others also shake their heads no.
“But, you know,” says McDermott, “if they wanted to do it? Go ahead. I want to be part of the team."