Like I mentioned in previous posts, I wanted to introduce readers to a few of the main characters from Forgetting My Way Back to You, my upcoming novel, ahead of its release next month. In keeping with one of the story’s elements, these posts are portrayed as news articles in the Coatesville Times, the setting’s actual local paper. This edition gives a sneak peek at Mike Stoll, the protagonist’s father whose no-nonsense personality leaves quite a mark on the plot.
August 23, 2013
Iconic Coach Sidelined but Far from Forgotten
By Terry Cinders
As the Red Raiders prepare to kick off their season tonight against the Easton Rovers, Coatesville’s former head coach, Mike Stoll, continues to follow the team’s progress despite his limited circumstances. While he hasn’t stood on the sidelines since suffering a stroke four years ago, his successors still appreciate his wisdom, drawn off his twenty-five years of experience. As my article reported earlier this week, even Hunter Jett still turns to him for pointers, though having played on a professional level.
“These guys know what they’re doing, of course. The athletic department has high standards, so none of them truly need help. I appreciate their respect for an old man, though, and I’m happy to share whatever I can to add to their success.”
Stoll’s connection to his former squad waned for a time, due to his health and the passing years. With his sudden stroke in the spring of 2009, he couldn’t hand over his duties the way he’d planned to in preparation for his retirement. Jay Wilson, his friend and colleague, included him in the transition, but Stoll’s limitations impeded the guidance he could offer.
Now that his daughter, Charlee, is the team’s physical trainer, however, Stoll takes advantage of the inside scoop she can offer.
“She keeps me informed of the goings-on but does withhold some things that she thinks will upset me. I typically find out through the grapevine, anyhow.” He grimaces but won’t elaborate on details. “Regardless, I love having her out there.”
He made it to the first game she worked in 2011, having not attended one since the last he coached. Following that, he’s gone to just three but listens to every one that’s broadcasted on the radio from his room at Harrison Home, the senior center where he lives. He hopes his family takes him to a couple this season.
“I’m expecting a much better year than last. We have a good core of upperclassmen who showed maturity during the final few games, so I’m optimistic.”
When asked if Hunter Jett’s arrival as offensive coordinator boosted his confidence, he gave a cryptic response.
“He has a lot to give when it comes to football, but don’t go to him for advice on women!”
- Character Spotlight: Charlee Stoll
- Character Spotlight: Hunter Jett
- Character Spotlight: Mabel Stentz