During swim practice the other day, one of my athletes (Dan) asked to get out to go to Chinese Club (he’s Chinese). You’d be surprised but junior varsity kids sometimes come up with excuses to get out of practice. Crazy, huh? Who wouldn’t want to swim 5000 yards in a couple of hours?
Because sometimes they are less than honest, I ask for some proof that they went; usually, the teacher they are going to emails me. When practice finished, I went in my office and checked my email. I wasn’t actually looking for Dan's teacher's email but I did notice there wasn’t one. I've never had any problems with him before, so I figured he went. If I were the Chinese Club sponsor, I would totally put off emailing the swim coach. “I’m busier than him damn it!” I'd angrily yell with my fist in the air if I were her.
When I was walking through the building and out to my car, I saw three boys of Asian descent walking out of a classroom. I called out to them (I was far enough behind them that I had to raise my voice). I loudly but nicely said, “Did you boys just get out of the Chinese Club?” Now, I’m from Texas and have a mild, at best, southern accent. “You boys” and “CHIIIII-nese” – I just can’t help it! They all turned at the same time, and the one on the left said, “I’m Korean and they’re Vietnamese.”
I’m not racist, and I don’t even need to bother defending myself. On the other hand and more importantly, I really, REALLY didn’t want them to feel that way. All of the ration and reason of the situation began swirling around my head, and before I could defend myself, he said, “Yeah, we were there but it is called Asian Club.”