A Long Hot, Frustrating Evening

avatarthumbnail.jpgWe begin today’s story at Highland Lakes Elementary School for the season opener for the YMCA’s Eagles soccer team.

Coaching in the YMCA is much like the enduring the trials of Sisyphus. We start anew each season with almost an entirely new roster and spend the next week pushing the boulder up the hill, trying to teach the kids something about the game and teamwork only to see the boulder roll back down the incline at the end of the eight-week season and we have to start all over again.

There are very few constants to be found as a YMCA coach, but two have emerged over the past five years (with a two-hiatus in the middle.) First, the kids usually get better over time as they begin listening to the advice they’re being provided. Second, it takes several weeks before the kids learn to listen at all.

At one point yesterday, I asked everyone to turn around in the middle of the game. “If you hear the sound of my voice,” I bellowed from across the field, “wave.” Five of the eight players on the field did, so I suppose that was a minor victory. (My daughter even was one of them, so double bonus.)

In that respect, being a coach at the YMCA is little different than being president of my synagogue, Temple Gan Elohim. There’s an old joke that being temple president is much like walking through a graveyard … there are hundreds of people under you and not a single one hears a word you say.

So it was with great relief that I met with a client yesterday afternoon who not only asked all of the right questions but listened to the answers. Unlike a YMCA soccer season, I don’t have eight weeks to try and educate when it comes to a real estate transaction. That is especially true when dealing with bank owned properties, where the window of opportunity often is measured in days and not weeks.

Advice based on experience is all but useless if no one’s listening.

No one was listening to the fans at Sun Devil Stadium last night either as Arizona State was being pummeled by Georgia. Here, though, not listening to the shouts of the mob might be a good thing.

Run the ball. Pass the ball. Don’t pass the ball. Don’t punt. Stop that guy.

A common fan might watch a couple of dozen games in any given year, maybe more if you truly are dedicated (and don’t have a wife and kids demanding to watch their shows.) And that still pales in comparison to the volume of games and game film that not only have been watched by the coaches by dissected in far more minute detail than anyone else could hope for (or would really want to do.)

In short, they have far more experience than any one of us has. And so while I’m inclined toward the occasional second-guess as a frustrated fan, I also try to see the bigger picture as to why certain decisions are made. Hell, I wouldn’t throw the ball on every single down even in Madden 2008 – it just doesn’t work.

Listening to the fans reminds me of many conversations about real estate with friends and family and other “experts.” It’s like the players are not looking to the sidelines but instead are staring at the 72,000 people in the stadium looking for a coherent answer. Never mind that the accumulated experience on the sideline or the experience of the agent probably outstrips that of the mob. There’s comfort in the mob’s answer, even when correct.

Trulia Voices is a slight step above though that’s more like watching the pre-game show on ESPN. The analysts tell us what they think ought to happen and what must take place, even if they don’t have all of the facts in front of them. They have no clue of the emotions involved in particular decisions, whether someone might be up to the challenge that on paper seems so clear. But they do have their opinion and a microphone.

Nuance often is lost. Yet nuance often is a large part of the real estate transaction.

Of course, nuance doesn’t seem to matter so much when it’s over 100 degrees and you’re packed in like sardines in the stadium and surrounded by barking Georgia fans.

Just throw the damn ball. Forget everything I just said.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.

1 Comment

  • Tiffany 9 years ago


    I don’t appreciate sports like you do, but I sure have become fond of your writing style over the last several months as I have read your post daily. Thanks for the insight and the often quirky delivery of it!

    “Just throw the damn ball”, is my motto for the week.

    Headed to the 2009 Economic Forcast at Biltmore on Wed – should be an interesting discussion, lots of voices, lots of stats…sifting through all the information is always the challenge.

    -Tiffany in Gilbert –

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