A Burnt Out Case [M for F]

Started by JD, January 04, 2023, 06:30:19 PM

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My char, Case, is an aimless 30-something veteran, conflict TBD, licking his wounds and working a dead-end job far from friends and family, location TBD. Dead-end job is something basic that doesn’t require him to apply himself, like stocking shelves at a used book store, fixing boat motors, tending bar etc. TBD. Dead-end job is beneath his education and ability. He was an academic overachiever. He has a law degree, but decided to enlist, branch and MOS TBD, instead of taking the bar, at the last minute, for reasons TBD. He’s got friends and family standing on him to take the bar, but has zero interest at the moment, for reasons TBD. He knows he’s not living up to his potential, but his rut is comfortable (albeit not particularly satisfying) and easier than applying himself. He may or may not have a substance abuse problem, severity and substance TBD, but probably nothing heavy, yet it's probably a contributing factor to his rut. He’s single and sticks to tinder and bars for one-night stands, and hasn’t had a serious relationship since law school, reasons TBD.

Enter an old high school friend, (he and Case played sportsball together) who is now a high school principal angling for the ISD’s outgoing superintendent’s* job. The school is academically strong with solid sports and music programs, but doesn’t have a forensics program. Our principal wants an easily point-to-able success story. (“We’re sending debate kids to state, nationals, and getting them scholarships to Tier 1 schools.”) So he leans on Case to quit his dead-end job, move, and start a debate** program. This allows our principal, who always has an angle, to cash in on some sweet, sweet state subsidies for employing a veteran, and look good. Our principal will also probably dragoon Case, without warning, into coaching some sport he really, really doesn’t want to (volleyball, softball), because our principal is a dick like that.
Case debated throughout high school. He and his partner were nationally ranked. He won a debate scholarship to a good school, TBD, where he debated throughout undergrad and he and his partner were nationally ranked, and coached a nationally ranked high school team, TBD, as a side-gig. In law school, he coached a nationally ranked college team, TBD, also as a side-gig.

Case is an easy get because 1) he has a hard time turning down a friend, 2) believes in the activity, and 3) has a creeping need to do something with himself and break his rut. Coaching debate is something he’d be good at and would scratch his itch for public service. He knows he’d like it.

And hate it. Case also knows firsthand that coaching high school debate is bonkers. He knows a good coach is necessarily stuck in close proximity to a small, close-knit group of hyper-intelligent, hormonal teens, usually with no social lives, during and after school, and for weekend tournaments, some of which run overnight or all weekend. All that time, plus the manic nature of the activity (wins are highs and losses—particularly the unfair ones—are emotionally crushing, especially for girls), require a coach to be a guidance counselor, surrogate parent, and grief mop. Not just for the losses, but also for any normal teenage drama that might affect a student’s performance: boy problems, girl problems, bullying, abuse, anxiety etc. etc. It’s exhausting, with a weird power dynamic, but Case has been away from the activity for long enough that he’s forgotten just how much it can take out of him. He’s also forgotten that as a non-faculty coach (he doesn’t have a teacher’s certificate), there’s the possibility of his getting stuck with a faculty sponsor (a de facto supervisor) that 1) he clashes with personality-wise or 2) someone he has chemistry with, or 3) both, which is a recipe for disaster.

Your char is a student (of legal age in whatever state this is set in and in accordance with E’s rules) or an inexperienced faculty sponsor. Either way, this would be a romance, character-driven, and on the serious side. (See “Shared trauma” below.) Also, see my O&Os. Debate coach/student relationships are difficult and complicated (hello power dynamic) even without modern teen drama; coach/sponsor relationships are too, and if the sponsor is married or in a serious relationship, look out. Imagine how you’d feel if your spouse/partner gave up evenings and weekends for an activity you don’t understand with someone you don’t know. Same goes for teenage boyfriends/girlfriends. (“I can’t fool around tonight because I’ve got to cut evidence before tomorrow’s tourney.”)

A faculty sponsor would necessarily be stuck in the same boat as Case in terms of time commitment and expenditure of emotional capital—for an extra $500 a month. The rest is up to you.

If a student, use your imagination. There are no constants for your char other than a willingness to sacrifice personal time, and be intelligent and intellectually curious. (Your char that is, but if you’re willing to sacrifice personal time and are intellectually curious, even better.)

Setting: It’s up to you! I’m happy to collaborate on time and location if you like, but I’d prefer that you play what you know: a school like your old school, a time like your time, a place like where you grew up. I like the idea of Case coming to a new town/school that you and your char know firsthand and that he and I have to learn to navigate.

Shared trauma: I’d like an emotionally intense situation to throw our chars together early on, so they can have a strong, common emotional bond. The nature of this shared trauma is entirely up to you and E’s management. It can be jettisoned or played in private, but my first preference would be our chars surviving a school shooting. Let me reiterate, this can be jettisoned or played in private. It’s hot-button and I wouldn’t want to post anything that might be even remotely triggering or reflect badly on the community, period. A bus crash could serve the same purpose. This wouldn’t be graphically violent, but a shelter-in-place situation, and that’s scary too.

Kinks: Not really, unless your char wants it. If Case gets involved with a student, it’s necessarily going to be careful and vanilla unless your char is adventurous and pushes him. If your char is faculty sponsor, and there’s personality clash, there’s potential for hate-fucking and all that that entails. Regardless, everything is going to be a little more intense than a commonplace entanglement. (See “Shared trauma.”)

*Can easily be changed to a school of your choice. Ex: private, Catholic, boarding, country day, all-girls etc. I defaulted to ISD because public school is what I know.

**Policy/cross-examination debate which, if you’re unfamiliar with it, looks absolutely nothing like debate to everyone who hasn’t participated. It rewards research, organization, strategy, speed, and confidence. Persuasion and speaking are largely afterthoughts. It’s also the only kind of debate that can land you half and full-ride scholarships to Tier 1 schools, who can scout and recruit as aggressively as the NCAA.

If interested, give me a shout.

O&Os: https://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=347874.msg16368895#msg16368895
"Like all young men I set out to be a genius, but mercifully laughter intervened." --Lawrence Durrell