Generally, not a lot of the local pieces about high school sports strike me, but let’s say the story of Michelle Miller and the Washington-Lee high school girls’ basketball team in Arlington, Virginia, is very different. Miller, a chief operating officer for an Internet company, racks up some serious frequent flyer miles just to keep a promise to the girls she made a short time after volunteering as an assistant, then finding herself as the head coach soon afterwards:
Soon after she pledged at the school’s winter sports banquet that she would return in 2007-08 to provide stability to the downtrodden team, her consulting job in Washington morphed into an executive position in Denver
Miller assessed her quandary: Go back on the promise she had made to a bunch of girls she had become attached to and seen improve — and perhaps be viewed as giving up on them at the risk of them giving up on themselves — or try to juggle her Arlington team, which was coming off an 0-22 season, with a job 1,500 miles away.
Miller chose the latter, meaning that at Washington-Lee this season, “traveling” has been more than an offensive violation, “going coast to coast” does not pertain only to dribbling the length of the court, and “coach” is not just a title but a flight classification.
The story is replete with the difficulties inherent in such a schedule: leaving practices mostly to assistant coaches, the absenteeism and a slight bit of resentment/confusion on behalf of the players, but Miller is the fourth head coach for the girls’ team in as many years. Stability in its own, weird way is probably preferable. Later in the article, Miller explains in an e-mail to her company that what she’s doing is probably insane — which is entirely true — but there’s still something to admire in the stubbornness of doing it.
Photo: Jonathan Newton/Washington Post