Where I come from, and in many small-town parts of the country, high school coaches are the most respected and revered public figures in the neighborhood.
Growing up, I kind of accepted this and even bought into it a little bit.
It’s not until you get older and have the benefits of real life experience and hindsight that you realize how absolutely bonkers this is. I mean, watch TV for 20 minutes on a Saturday and you’ll realize that people who coach football (and most popular sports) are, for the most part, at least borderline clinically insane.
Here are some excerpts from the daily ramblings of your rural high school football coach. (Or the antithesis of Coach Eric Taylor).
“I don’t want you kids to think for one second that I don’t care about you. I care. I care a lot. You boys are like family to me. I’m here to teach you how to play football and live life like a real man. Sometimes the two will intertwine. I might be harsh, yeah, but know that it comes from a place of deep love that I harbor for you guys. I mean, come on—do you think I’m here at this school to teach economics, or to coach football? (Hint: it’s not fucking economics.)”
“While you kids take this test, I’m gonna prop my feet up on my desk, kick back and read the sports section of the local newspaper. Boy, I love the feel of a real newspaper in my hands. These babies will always be better, to my mind, than all those goddamn online blog thingies you kids are looking at all the time on your ‘my phones’ or whatever the crap. Anyway, don’t cheat. Or else I’ll give you that speech about integrity again. You know, the one the guidance counselor made me read to you last time. God’s watching. Remember that.”
“What do you mean you’ve been reading articles about concussions sustained in football and how they can damage your brain very severely in the longterm, Harrison? What kind of crap is that? Look, if you’re voluntarily reading anything other than Hatchet, you’re a goddamn queer, ya ask me. Now put your helmet back on and get back out there. No, you can’t have more water! The fuck you think this is, Golden Corral?”
“Gentlemen, when we go out there, you’re going to hear the roar of the crowd. The cheerleaders are gonna have some finger-painted sign touting how awesome you are, and you know what? They probably want you to finger-bang them. Because you’re a goddamn East High Warrior, and you know what? That’s something fucking special, boys. Real fucking special. Tonight, well, tonight is going to be—and I promise you this—one of the most important nights of your lives to date. And it may go on to be one of the most important nights of your entire lives. You’ll look back on this day once, twice, a million times in the ensuing years—assuming you don’t develop acute memory loss like some of my former Warriors—and you’ll remember to a T what is about to unfold on that field right out there. Now, do you want to look back on that as the time you lost? The time you failed? The time the cheerleaders became a little bit less excited about the prospect of you finger-banging them in your parents’ car when we get back to the county later tonight? Or do you want to look back knowing that you gave it your all, that you did everything you could, and goddamnit, you left it all out there on the field, whatever the fuck that even means? OR. Do you want to look back and remember the time you humiliated, in front of, like, 500 people, those goddamn no good talentless fucking Beavers, who hail from all those stupid hoytie toytie housing plans surrounding that golf course across town? Now let’s go make this happen. Don’t let me down. And fuck that little pussy Harrison, who for some reason thought his older sister’s wedding was a more important life event to attend than the ass-whooping we are about to so earnestly deliver. I love you guys. Let’s pray. “
“Class, we’re going to watch a video today. It’s mostly intel I got from River Valley’s game last Saturday with some select scenes from Glengarry Glen Ross spliced in for educational purposes. Now, I want you to keep a special eye out for trends in their offensive setups and executions. So the class lesson today is to keep your eye out for trends. Because I think trends are a thing you’re supposed to pay attention to in the stock market. If you kids give me some good input and insight here, we’ll have Nutty Bars during tomorrow’s class, and I’ll teach you how to balance a checkbook without using that homo kenmo wallet app or whatever it is. I mean, Christ. PayPal? How much more overt can you get? What a gay name.”
“Football builds character!”
“All right, boys. Good practice today. Now tomorrow is game day. Remember to wear your jerseys to school. I mean it, Harrison. Show some goddamn class and pride, will you? And remember the FreezeOut rule, fellas. Put the ladies on hold for tonight and tomorrow morning. No sex or masturbation for 24 hours before kickoff. That means no stroking it to Ryan Seacrest videos tonight, Harrison. You ninny. OK. Let’s pray!”