Saturday, February 8, 2014

Failure Coach XXIII


“I’ll tell you what Alan, I have really enjoyed my association with Alan Edgewater Failure Coach LLC and I’m so glad I met you. I don’t have to tell you have been on a roller-coaster since just before winning the lottery. I made some bad decisions before and after winning but hooking up with you isn’t one of them.” Coach Siena remained loyal to Alan and was in no hurry to collect the repayment of his $15,000 loan. Alan, however, was anxious to at least make a payment of $5,000 to show good faith. He fully intended to pay the amount back in full but was seeing more outflow than inflow these days. Coach Siena was flush when he made the loan. He lost track of spending for a period but he has gotten his finances more under control lately with his Sazerac position. His compensation is fair enough, he thought, and allowed him to live more on his paycheck and business expenses instead of dipping into his principle savings. 

He still resisted any kind of financial planning. He didn’t trust anyone who appeared out of thin air after news of his winning hit local media. He took a lump sum amount of $218,000,000 after winning instead of annual payments. He was generous initially with friends and relatives but learned to limit his gifts. Instead, he made some loans and pledged enough to get the scholarship fund he started with Alan Edgewater’s help. Now as Alan stood poised to make a payment of $5,000 to Coach Siena, the coach refused to accept it. “I’ll tell you what, Alan why don’t you make that payment into the fund and we’ll call it a forgiveness of that portion of the loan. I’m in no hurry to collect and I do want us to be in a position to make that award annually. I really like this kid Andy Valentine. He’s a good kid, smart and I think he’ll come out on top. He’s looking at historic Ohio D-III liberal arts schools. Oberlin, Kenyon, places like that. I really think you will enjoy meeting him and his family when they come to St. Louis for our little presentation.”

The Missouri Athletic Club is one of turn-of-the-century facilities with overstuffed leather wing-back chairs oak-paneled walls and priceless art on display in the common areas. Of course there was also a pool, indoor tracks, gyms, basketball and squash courts. The board of governors was always trying to attract new members with structured activity but the original downtown location at fourth and Washington was convenient before football and baseball games and that was sure to pull people into the Jack Buck Grill. It was a pregame gathering point. The downtown location was ideal for clubby exclusive awards banquets, too. The second annual Alan Edgewater Failure First Scholar would officially receive his award in this distinguished old boy environment.

Meanwhile, just about 12 miles west of the downtown facility The MAC West location which was a strategic real estate purchase in 1995, renovated in 2003. This facility was already paying dividends and attracting a more robust family activity. This location was where Alan Edgewater and Coach Robert Siena met for a buffet-style breakfast. Alan was a guest because of the business he was doing with the downtown ballroom and coach Siena was hoping to chat a bit with the Food and Beverage manager about a Sazerac Rye Whisky sampling event, presentation and maybe a signature drink promotion. The two looked like captains of industry in this out of the way setting in West County with all the time in the world to discuss business, books and plans beginning with the scholarship banquet which was just a couple of weeks away. The F&B manager sat with them a while and talked a little about Sazerac without committing to anything in particular. He excused himself and quietly comped their breakfast. They tipped generously having occupied the table for 2 hours. The breakfast clientele this mid morning was sporadic anyway.

The two men were feeling prosperous and successful at the club. As they made their exit, Alan noticed a copy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch someone left behind in sections. He picked it up to scan the news and a headline stunned him.

Alan Edgewater Scholar Arrested.

Johnny Appleseed, the first winner of the Alan Edgewater Failure First Scholarship was arrested in Coral Gables, Florida for possession of narcotics, assault and public drunkenness. Appleseed accepted a full scholarship to the University of Miami with much fan fare from Coach Robert Siena of Red Bud, IL who helped start the fund last year. The arrest happened just two weeks prior to the scheduled presentation of the second annual award in St. Louis. Calls to Alan Edgewater were not returned but the erstwhile coach offered this bit of insight, “I’ll tell you what, that kid is going to make some mistakes. Our scholarship comes without strings but I’ll wager he'll come out ahead of the game.”

Alan could hardly believe what he was reading. He took a few deep breaths and handed the article to Coach Siena. The coach laughed. “That is some fucked up journalism, right there. This business with Appleseed is a non-event. This ain’t news.”

“With all due respect coach, it’s news. Why didn’t you tell me about this?”

“This thing happened and Johnny called me. It was something that happened on Miami Beach. You know South Beach on Sunday afternoon. Well Hell, he was with some kids at the beach. Anyway I got him a lawyer. It’s a non-event. I’m telling you.”

Well it is something we need to assess. We are about to award another scholarship and that non-event of yours is gonna be linked to ours. This is NOT what we want people to understand about the Failure First scholar program.” Alan spoke as calmly as he could muster, “Coach, If you don’t mind, let’s see what Bob Caster thinks about this non-event in Miami.”  

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