December 9, 2015: I Get Ejected From a High School Basketball Game

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My high school ought to be ashamed of how they treat former multi-year lettermen. I'm normally not much of a basketball guy, but my high school was playing its rival last night, so I decided to stop by. The student section is situated directly behind the team’s bench, so I was only a row or two up from the players and the coach. The coach was a grade above me in high school and was one of those losers who rode the pine in basketball and only got a letter jacket because they give them to all seniors. He would also get upset with me and my DC during pick-up games for playing “overly aggressive” defense. We've also had some testy exchanges on each other's Facebook walls over the last few years, so there's some history there.

I should have known when they were announcing the starting lineups that it was going to be a difficult night. Every time they would announce a player for the other team, I would do my signature clap-clap-clap-clap-clap OVER-RATED! chant. The students I was sitting beside all thought it was great, but our head coach and the principal asked me to “show some class” and stop. The most disturbing part is that the principal had a clear view of the three stripes on my letter jacket and decided to treat a distinguished like that anyway.

Once the game started, it was clear that the refs were being way too loose with the rules and were allowing players to camp out in the lane.  Whenever I would see an opposing player enter the lane, I started loudly yelling “One! Two! Three!” into the plastic megaphone they gave me when I arrived. The coach told me I was “distracting the players” and asked me to stop.

By that point the game was starting to get away from us, and I was noticing serious defects in our players’ fundamentals. So I decided to take matters into my own hands.  During a timeout while the coach was over at the scorer’s table, I went down to the court and starting giving the players instructions and a physical demonstration on how to take a proper charge.  The coach got really pissed when he saw that and called the security guard over.  The security guard told me I could either move sections or leave, so I decided just to get the hell out of there and get an early start on the post-game field party.  On my way out, I made sure to direct the coach’s attention to my region championship ring (3-way tie) and let him know that if his players don’t learn how to take a charge, he’ll never get one.

July 4, 2015: I Host a Fourth of July Party at My Parents’ House that Nearly Ends with a Trip to the County Lockup

Tonight, I hosted a 4th of July party at the above-ground pool at my parents’ house (where I’m living temporarily). The guest list was a who’s who of past and current lettermen at my old high school and other prominent community members. The centerpiece of the party was supposed to be my reenactment of George Washington crossing the Delaware in my parents’ above-ground pool. In preparation for that, I asked this one kid to blow up the float I would be using.  He was an academic all-region football player for my high school as a junior last fall, so I assumed he could be trusted to get the job done.

The reenactment was really at a new level this year. My youth football team’s DC did a 2-minute keg stand to get the crowd warmed up. "I'm Proud to be an American" was playing, red, white and blue strobe lights were flashing, and people were setting off bottle rockets, roman candles and black cats as I set sail on the float with a determined look on my face and a pose that was a perfect recreation of Washington in this painting:

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I was getting a standing ovation and I'm pretty sure I saw a few people tearing up.  Unfortunately, the little turd I entrusted to blow up the float underinflated it.  So halfway through the journey, the float started to take on water and capsized just before I got to the other side.

Needless to say, I was soaked and absolutely livid.  I berated the kid who inflated the float and told him I hoped he had been saving his money working at Dairy Queen this summer because owed me a new powdered wig and pair of LA Gears, which were ruined as a result of his ineptitude.  I made sure to drop in Bud Kilmer’s "you are the damned dumbest smart kid" during the rant, which of course was lost on him because he’s a millennial, and that only made me angrier.  Me and my DC then made him run gassers and do up and downs in front of the entire crowd until he could barely stand.

I guess one of my parents' neighbors saw the incident, because the cops showed up later that night to break up the party and question me about what happened. I invoked the Fifth Amendment, and they said they would be “investigating” whether any crimes had occurred, such as furnishing alcohol to minors. I need to lay low for a week or two to let things calm down, but I assure am going to come up with an elaborate way to humiliate that kid who underinflated the float the same way he did me.

November 24, 2015: I Find Out that My Youth Football Team’s Championship Rings Won’t be Ready for Thanksgiving

Just got off the phone with the company that's making them and unfortunately the special font I ordered for these will take a little while longer than expected, so they won't be ready until next week. That will be more than enough time for our team's awards banquet, but unfortunately not in time for me to show off at my family’s Thanksgiving.

I've mentioned before that my older brother is an accountant in Charlotte and thinks he's better than me because he went to UGA, even though my yearly expenditures on UGA merchandise dwarf his. He was an all-state tennis player (LOL), but is still mad about the fact that he only lettered once in football as a special teams senior. He's also banned my DC and me from attending his UGA tailgates, and he and my DC don't get along at all.  He's constantly accusing me of living in the past and is critical of my Nick Saban approach to youth football, probably because his results coaching his daughters' soccer teams have been thoroughly mediocre.

As bad as he is, my sister's husband is worse. He is an electrical engineer who went to Georgia Tech. He gets flustered and very angry when I inevitably get up in his face and do the What's That Coming Down the Track? chant every Christmas after we've beaten them. I will also bark at my nephews when he puts them in GTurd gear. He drives a Subaru, collects stamps and coins, and, needless to say, didn't letter in a goddamn thing. 

And the saddest part of all is that he’s polluted the family gene pool.  My aforementioned nephews are 6 and 8, frail, and afraid of and allergic to everything. I took them out in the backyard last year after Thanksgiving dinner and had them do some high knee exercises and tackling drills, and it was a joke.  I made them do up and downs and told them to stick to their ipads. 

 

 

October 29, 2015: The Rains of Castamere Pour Down on My Youth Football Team’s Opponent

[Note — If Kirby Smart really wants to embarrass Florida on Saturday and send a message, this is the blue print for doing so.]

As most of you know, I wore my Tywin Lannister Halloween costume to our youth football game tonight, which was a playoff semi-final. To complete the Lannister look, I decided to rent a horse and ride it out to midfield before the game. The idea was to project this image and intimidate the opposing team to the maximum extent possible:

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Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. One of the players' grandfathers volunteered to be the equipment manager this year, and I asked him to make arrangements for a horse. I specifically used the words "regal" and "imposing" when describing the type of horse he should get, and he even said he would pay the rental fee. Unfortunately, this idiot showed up tonight with a miniature horse that looked like “Little Sebastian” from Parks and Recreation.

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I asked him what the hell this little turd was supposed to be, and he said he was afraid of getting a bigger horse because I've never ridden one. I told him that wasn't his decision to make, fired his ass on the spot, and told him to take the horse into the woods and tie it to a tree so I didn’t have to look at that stupid thing during the game. 

After giving my pre-game speech in a British accent, the piccolo player went out to midfield with his violin and started to play the Rains of Castamere, and DT with Rat Tail stood him waving a flag bearing the Lannister sigil. At halftime, we were up 14-7, but we were having trouble controlling their offense.  The piccolo player told us that the left side of their offensive line was in the remedial reading class at school and that he felt they could not stop him blitzing if he picked the right gap.  We decided to go with it. He's too weak to tackle, but my DC taught him how to do a take out slide during halftime.

Once the second half began, the piccolo player was shooting the gap on every play and causing major havoc in their backfield. On one play, he caused a fumble with his takeout slide that we picked up and returned for a TD. My DC was so fired up he backpedaled across the field and did the dance Trinton Sturdivant did against Florida in '07 in front of the opposing sideline, concluding with a double throat slash. The game was never close after that. The piccolo player, the Vegan, and the DT with the Rat Tail continued to devastate their offense.

We ended up winning 35-7, and I gave myself a Gatorade bath. As a matter of policy, we do not shake hands with the opposing team. But I made an exception in this instance so that I could tell the opposing coach in a British accent: “Tywin Lannister sends his regards.” You should have seen the confused look on that guy’s face. 

We now move on to the league-wide championship against the team that beat us early in the season. Their coach works at the local guitar store. I've been harassing him on his Facebook wall for a few weeks, but now it's time to take it to a new level. We're celebrating at Beef's right now with shots of Fireball and apps, but starting tomorrow it's going to be all business for the next 7 days.

October 25, 2015: My DC Punches Out a Vampire that Scares Him at a Haunted House

Our season literally flashed before my eyes tonight.

We took our youth football team to a haunted house after tonight’s practice as a reward for their great play in last week's game and to help them relax in advance of this week's playoff game. My DC is afraid of almost nothing (we are talking about a guy who once leg dropped a family of copperheads because of a dare), but he is absolute terrified of the paranormal. He was trying to maintain his composure in front of the players, but I could tell he was really nervous before we went in because his face was beet red and he was sweating profusely.

We went into this one room that had organ music playing and a vampire laying in a casket. My DC thought the vampire was just a mannequin and went over to the casket with a couple of players. As he and the players were leaning over the casket, the vampire suddenly rose up. My DC yelled and reflexively punched the vampire right in the face, knocking him out cold.

There was a lot of commotion with security swooping in and grabbing my DC (and he was trying to fight off the one dressed like Freddy Kreuger because those movies give him nightmares) and someone trying to get the vampire to come to. Turns out the vampire is a 15-year old high school kid who now has a very bad black eye and mild concussion. The police were called, but thankfully we had our team's legal counsel — my cousin the workers comp attorney — there. He argued that my DC had been provoked and acted involuntarily. After I dropped the name of my friend who is a deputy sheriff, they realized they were in over their heads and left without arresting him, but said they would re-visit the issue if the vampire decided to press charges. On our way out, the DT with the Rat Tail threatened to drive a wooden stake into the vampire kid’s heart if he said a peep about the incident (which I’ll concede was borderline, but times like these call for full measures, not half measures, to borrow from Mike Ehrmantraut), so we're probably in the clear.

October 8, 2015: The DT with the Rat Tail Dominates and Gets Ejected in His Debut

This was our first game with the DT with the Rat Tail that my DC and I recruited at the Kmart cafe on Tuesday. He lived up to the hype and then some. Before the game, my DC taught him how to use the Deacon Jones “head slap,” and by the end of the second quarter he'd knocked a couple of their offensive linemen out of the game. 

We were up 27-0 at halftime, but the opposing quarterback was giving our defense a bit of a hard time running around. My DC really wanted to put a stop to it, so he went to the DT with the Rat Tail and told him to “sweep the leg” and take care of the quarterback “through any means necessary.” The kid may not be able to spell his own name, but he definitely listens. The first play out of halftime, the DT with the Rat Tail knocked the opposing quarterback to the ground after he'd handed the ball off and started choking him. The officials pulled him off, flagged him for a personal foul, and ejected him from the game, but the quarterback was so rattled he refused to return to the game, so mission accomplished. We went on to win 48-0. My DC was so impressed he named the DT with the Rat Tail defensive captain, gave him the game ball, and invited him to come have a post-game beer with us at Beef's. His father, who is an executive shoe salesman at Payless, joined us.  

October 6, 2015: We Recruit the DT with the Rat Tail at Kmart

[Note - This is from 2015. The reference to the Gurley suspension below refers to his 2014 "autograph" suspension] 

Yesterday, my DC started telling a patron at the Sonic where he works about our youth football team (he's been warned by his manager to stop this in the past after customer complaints, but to no avail), and the guy he was talking with gave him a tip about a potential defensive tackle recruit. The kid was in juvie and then suspended for the first month of school after he attacked a librarian at the end of last year. Evidently, he body slammed the librarian after being informed that the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series (he is not capable of reading the books, but is a big fan of the unforgettable and haunting illustrations) was checked out. Under league rules, players are ineligible to play during a suspension. But now he's back. 

My DC and I decided to set up a dinner meeting with this kid and his parents at the Kmart "Big K" cafe tonight. My DC had to keep a low profile given that he is banned from the store after last year, when the bender he went on after Todd Gurley's suspension involved him stumbling into Kmart, putting on a UGA #3 jersey and helmet, and making a scene in the electronics section. The kid we were recruiting has a rat tail and honestly looks like he could be in middle school. In other words, he's a potential season-changer for us on the defensive line.

We went to the sports aisle afterwards to run a few drills and see how he fires off the ball, and he was incredibly impressive. Learning the playbook could definitely be a challenge, but if we can get this kid to halfway know what he's doing, we could have a devastating force on our hands. Can't wait to see how he performs on Thursday.

October 2, 2015: My Youth Football Team Wins 28-6 in My DC's Triumphant Return

Just a great night all around and a completely different mood from last week. During his pre-game speech, my DC sawed off his cast to symbolically demonstrate that we are officially moving past the Chrysler LeBaron "trust fall" incident and forgetting the last 3 weeks. He wasn't supposed to get if off for two more weeks, but he had his girlfriend -- who is a file clerk at a doctor's office -- "borrow" the office's cast saw. I think he may have re-fractured the arm at some point tonight, but that's an issue for another day. Given the recent dust-up with the league, I also hired my cousin the workers' comp attorney to act as our team's legal counsel (his fee is unlimited use of my parents' timeshare in Westminster, S.C.), so he was on the sidelines in his best K&G Menswear suit. 

Immediately before kickoff, we had the piccolo player walk out to mid-field and play the "Rains of Castamere" from Game of Thrones on his violin. My DC and I flanked him and stared across the field at the other team with determined looks. You could see the combination of confusion and sheer terror on their faces.

The game got off to a great start. On the other team's first drive we stopped them on 4th and short, prompting my DC to run out onto the field, chest bump the player who made the tackle, and then do a double throat slash toward the other team's sideline. It drew a flag and a threat of an ejection, but it really set the tone for the night. Through 3 quarters, our defense didn't allow a single first down, and my DC was hoping to have his first ever first-down "no hitter," so I made sure that all the shitty players played their one quarter on offense.

Unfortunately, in the fourth quarter, the complete bust of a cornerback we drafted this year got tripped up and fell while backpedaling and trying to cover a fly pattern, letting the receiver broke wide open for a touchdown. My DC was so furious he wrote "Ryan Leef" in permanent marker on the back of the kid's jersey and made him backpedal around the perimeter of the field for the rest of the fourth quarter. The kid was crying after the game and his parents promised he "wouldn't be back," so ultimately the meaningless touchdown was probably best for the team in the long run.

So now we turn our attention to UGA's Game of the Century against Alabama in Athens this weekend. My DC pawned his girlfriend's son's laptop to buy a ticket, and I was able to get one from my boss.  We'll be catching a ride up there Saturday morning with my cousin who has to re-fill vending machines in the area, and hopefully our tailgate will be up and running by the early afternoon.  I had a bad experience when I was tailgating on Friday before the Clemson game last year when some students started making fun of me for doing Larry Munson calls into a megaphone, so hopefully we won't run into that issue this year.

September 30, 2015: My DC's Suspension is Lifted and He Makes a Dramatic Return to the Team

My DC’s suspension was lifted last night by the league director, who clearly just didn't want to deal with my DC and took the path of least resistance. The assistant to the league director was very angry about the decision and in tears, as he thought he had successfully ended my reign of terror on the league. I feel bad for those people on the photo developers’ message board he moderates, as he undoubtedly went back to his aunt's house and unleashed his frustrations on them.

But all that is behind us now, and my DC returned to the team for tonight's practice in a blaze glory. Because his shift at Sonic ended a little late, he was going to be about 15 minutes late for practice, and I made sure to keep the lifting of his suspension a secret so that he could surprise the players with a grand entrance.

While we were finishing up warm-ups, his white LeBaron convertible came tearing into the parking lot and screeched to a stop.  His girlfriend was driving -- he currently is not allowed by the State of Georgia to operate a motor vehicle.  He then jumped out of the car's passenger side and ran full speed in his work uniform down the hill and onto the field.  He ran through the agility ropes (sort of, he tripped and fell midway through), hit each of the five dummies on the blocking sled, and then form tackled the tackling dummy into the ground at full speed.  The players were all going crazy.

I also arranged ahead of time to have the piccolo player's parents address the team during the mid-practice break.  Although it wasn't my true motive, I pitched it to them as a chance to have educated people teach these kids the importance of a good education, and I was hoping it would serve as an olive branch of sorts given the rocky start I got off to with them.

They both arrived looking the part (I swear to god these people are the real life version of Bobbi and Marty Culp from SNL). The piccolo player's mom spoke to the players about how her undergraduate years at Sarah Lawrence, where she majored in theater. Of course, none of the players (or coaches) other than the piccolo player had heard of Sarah Lawrence, and the whole discussion really confused the hell out of my DC.  He asked her at one point if she felt the celebrity phone photo hacking scandal last year had hurt her degree, and she had no idea what he was talking about.

In any event, once they finished up and left, I addressed the team to ensure the right message was conveyed. I told the players that this was a cautionary tale about what could happen if they focused too much on academics -- you end up never lettering, wearing sandals with socks, and either being a middle school choral director or a professor at a community college.  Even the piccolo player was nodding along in agreement, so the message clearly resonated.

This team is clearly ready for the challenge ahead tomorrow tonight.  I haven't felt this confident going into a game all season.

September 24, 2015: My Youth Football Team Loses, and I Have a Major Post-Game Meltdown

And so the streak ends.

As you all know, my DC was just suspended for four games, and while we are appealing that ludicrous ruling, it won’t be heard until next week. The game tonight was a boring defensive slog and we were only up 14-7 when the 4th quarter began. At that time, I knew we had a problem because there were three shitty kids I had to put in on defense to comply with the league's stupid “one-quarter” rule that requires each kid play at least one quarter. I went and spoke with the defensive assistant who is filling in as the interim DC and told him no big plays under any circumstances. He's an anesthesiologist, so I figured he was smart enough to be entrusted with the keys to the defense while we try to get my DC’s suspension sorted out.

Big mistake. The other team scored early on a play-action pass that sucked in the anesthesiologist’s supposedly “gifted” son (my DC hates that little smartass because he's always correcting my DC's grammar) and allowed a receiver to break free. Then, late in the game, he lost contain on a bootleg and let them score the winning TD.

After the horn sounded, I took the players over to the side (no way we were shaking hands with the other team) and gave them the Bud Kilmer "I hope last night was fun" speech from Varsity Blues, complete with kicking over a water cooler that one of the players’ grandparents had brought, because virtually all of them had ignored my request that they not go on the science museum field trip today so they could focus on the game. I then told the anesthesiologist that I now understood why he was never able to become a real doctor, fired his ass on the spot, and told his son that I saw a lot of kickoff wedge busting at practice in his future if he chose to stay on the team. He quit the team and left. I made the remaining players run a bunch of gassers and then pour out the bottled waters that they ordinarily would drink after the game because they clearly hadn't played hard enough to need hydration.

At that point many of the parents came over to intervene, and I got into a shouting and shoving match with a couple of the dads of the shitty kids. We had to be pulled apart by an off-duty cop and one of the people running the concession stand. Two or three of the moms were crying and made their kids go get in the car. Once things calmed down, I scheduled a "revival" practice for 5:45 a.m. on Saturday and told them that I would assume anyone who didn't show up no longer wanted to be part of the team.

Despite the dramatics, this should be good for the team in the long run. I fully expect my Hotmail inbox to have a couple of messages in it tomorrow from the parents of bad players confirming they won’t be back, so in the end, this loss may prove to be a win.

Sept. 14, 2015: The Assistant to the League Director Suspends My DC for 4 Games

For the backstory on this, read my last post about my DC's "trust fall" off the back of his white Chrysler LeBaron convertible.

I just got off the horn with the assistant to the league director. Just so you know, there's a bit of a history there. He still holds a grudge against me for giving him an atomic wedgie in front of the entire school in our high school cafeteria. He went on to get a philosophy degree from South Carolina (big fan of the women's basketball team, so I always make sure to bark at him when we beat them) and works in the photo development department of the local pharmacy. He lives with his aunt, is a huge Bernie Sanders supporter, and I found out a few years back that he spends his free time angrily moderating an online message board for people in the photo development industry. I occasionally go on the board under an alias and brag about using company equipment to delevop my own photos for personal profit just to make him angry, but that's neither here nor there.

He gleefully informed me that the league decided to suspend my DC for 4 games.  He said that my DC's action "showed a complete disregard for player safety."  Apparently the decision was his alone, but we have a right to ask for a hearing before the actual league director, although it could result in a greater suspension.

The hardest part was having to break it to my DC.  Once he stopped crying and composed himself, we agreed that the suspension was worth fighting despite the risk of a worse punishment.  My cousin is a workers' compensation lawyer, so I have a breakfast meeting set up with him at Hardee's tomorrow morning to discuss our options.

Having to break this to the players at tomorrow's practice will be the most difficult thing I've had to do as a head coach. We will prevail against the forces of tyranny, I promise you.

September 10, 2015, First Game of the Season: My DC Gets Injured Doing a "Trust Fall" Off of His Chrysler LeBaron

A victory, but perhaps a major loss in the process.

The drama started before the game. I finished giving the team my pre-game speech, and it was time for my DC to carry on his tradition of headbutting a telephone pole to really get the players motivated. Instead, he instructed the defensive players to follow him to the parking lot for a "team building" exercise. I was on the field with the offense and couldn't hear what was happening, but I saw him stand up on top of the trunk of his white Chrysler LeBaron convertible and the players gathered below. He then turned his back to them, crossed his arms over his chest and then did that falling backwards thing that people do at corporate retreats. The problem is that he's about 5'9 230 (a very solid 230, but 230 nonetheless) and these are 9 and 10 year old kids. So not surprisingly, he crashed right through them and hit the asphalt.

His head was gashed open in the back, and he was bleeding profusely. His forearm appeared to be broken. Someone called an ambulance, but when they got there, he was so adamant about coaching the game that it took about 5 of us to hold him down while they sedated him (it took 3 shots) and took him to the hospital. By some miracle, none of the players were injured.

Once the game started, our defense was clearly shaken up and was a complete disaster without their leader there. We were up 14-12 at halftime, but the other team had two scores on five plays, whereas my offense chewed up much of the first two quarters on methodical marches down the field. During halftime I fired the parent who volunteered to coach the D after my DC got injured and told him to stick to the bleachers. That didn't help. We traded scores at the beginning of the third quarter, and then near the end of the third quarter we scored again and converted the extra point to go up 27-18, but I knew we were gassed on offense and would lose if our defense couldn't get its act together.

At that point, the Piccolo player came up to me. As I was in the process of shooing him off and telling him to get the hell away from me, he noted that, by rule, the clock continues to run after defensive penalties until the last 2 minutes of the half.  Thus, he suggested an "offside on every down" strategy under which we would jump offside on every play when the other team had the ball once there was a running clock. He pointed out that it would take a good 30-45 seconds after each offsides for the offense to get reset, so we could effectively kill the clock and prevent them from getting two possessions.

It was a stroke of genius. The piccolo player agreed to be the player to jump offside on every play (also, none of the other kids were intellectually capable of understanding the strategy). We were able to stop them for a 6 yard gain on the first play so the strategy could be implemented immediately. For every play after that, right before their offense would snap the ball, the piccolo player would jump offside. I would then berate him and express dismay to the refs about the fact that the rules required me to play him for a continuous quarter. After about the 5th time the other coach wised up to what was happening and started to realize there was no way they could come back if we kept doing that. He started lobbying the refs to stop the clock but I (with the piccolo player’s help) directed them to the exact provision in the rulebook, and they agreed the clock had to keep running.

By the time they got inside the 20, the game was almost over. They ended up scoring with about 30 seconds left, so we were just able to kneel it a couple of times and escape with a 27-25 victory.  I got a Gatorade bath, and we carried the piccolo player off the field on our shoulders. I gave him the game ball and told him to savor it, because when's the last time anyone got carried out of an orchestra hall or whatever the hell they call it on someone's shoulders?

The coach of the opposing team, several parents, and the assistant to the league director angrily confronted me and said I should be ashamed of myself for exploiting a technicality to win a youth FB game. The assistant to the league director also told me they were looking into the pre-game incident with my DC and that there could be "repercussions," including a suspension, if they determine following a hearing that he had endangered players. Given what I saw tonight, if we lose him, we could be in very big trouble.

But those are concerns for another day. The good news is that my DC's injuries were limited to a laceration that had to be stitched, a mild concussion, and a broken arm. He was discharged after the game and we are doing celebratory shots of Fireball at Beef's right now.

September 2, 2015: The Piccolo Player Returns and Finds a Role Playing "The Rains of Castamere"

As many of you know, the piccolo player's dad learned of a rule that allows a player to change teams if the kid's parents and both coaches consent and asked if he could transfer his son to another team because of fundamental disagreements with how I run my team. I eagerly agreed. Apparently the league got wind of this and now the assistant to the league director is trying to put a stop to it. I just got off the phone with him, and he's come up with some interpretation of the rule that it's only meant to apply where there is some practical reason that a kid needs to change teams -- it's not for where there are personality conflicts. Apparently there was some concern I would “abuse” the rule just to get rid of players I didn’t want. So they are not letting the piccolo player change teams, and he returned to practice tonight.

I've now pretty much given up on the kid quitting because his dad is insisting that the kid keep playing and I've exhausted about every technique I have for running kids/parents off, so I'm trying to make the best of it. My DC actually had the idea of having him play the song “Rains of Castamere” from Game of Thrones (my DC kept calling it the "Castle Rains" song, so it took some time before I finally understood what the hell he was referring to) at midfield before kickoff to intimidate the other team. I discussed it with the piccolo player tonight and he was very excited about it. The only thing is that he wasn't familiar with the song or with Game of Thrones in general, so I instructed him to search for the Game of Thrones Red Wedding scene on youtube tonight and watch it a few times. He's supposed to be a music prodigy (a fact I've reminded the other players countless times during bull in the ring or Oklahoma drills) and can learn music by ear. I also told him there was no way in hell any player of mine was going near a woodwind while in uniform, but he said he can play the violin as well so we are all set. 

Once you get to know him, the piccolo player is actually a very smart, articulate, and personable kid and a hell of a good student. Unfortunately he absolutely sucks at football and calls classic music his "true passion," so it's hard to imagine his life turning out very well, which is a shame. 

August 24, 2015: The Piccolo Player Quits

I got an email from the choral director (the piccolo player’s dad) letting me know that he "fundamentally disagreed" with the way my DC and I ran our program and that he felt our win at all costs attitude, "denigration" of academics, music, and the arts, and "autocratic and militaristic" style had no place in youth sports. As a result, he could not in good conscience allow his son to continue to play for this team.

But it gets even better. He said that one of the other coaches had agreed to let the piccolo player play for his team and asked if I would consent to his changing teams, which apparently the league will allow if both coaches and the parent's player consent.  So now I'm not just rid of this kid, but I also get the benefit of having him foul up the secondary for one of our opponents. This may be the greatest personnel change since I recruited the likely overage QB with traces of a mustache for last year's team.  I respond to his email by linking a youtube video of a choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah (which I intentionally misspelled and mischaracterized as "Handler's Water Music" just to piss him off).

My DC and I are putting down shots of Fireball at Beef's to celebrate right now. One down, a handful more to go.

August 18, 2015: The Second Practice

Our goal heading in was to finish off the piccolo player and make him quit, and I think we probably accomplished that. After telling the kids the league was implementing kickoffs (not true), I set up a kickoff return drill where the piccolo player was the designated "wedge breaker.

At the end of practice, I brought in a couple of hair stylists from the local Sport Clips to give “high and tights” to the kids whose parents ignored my instructions.  Most of the kids were excited to be getting the exact same haircut as me (next thing you know they'll be wearing wraparound Oakleys, a cell phone belt holster, black jeans, and white LA Gears), but the piccolo player started crying and initially refused to get in the chair because he wanted to keep his stupid bowl cut. So my DC told him that he would personally destroy his entire woodwinds collection if he didn't follow instructions, and the kid finally got in the chair and got his haircut.

After the haircuts were finished, the piccolo player's father – who is the choral director at the local middle school and wears Chaco sandals with socks – came to pick him up and was beyond pissed when he saw his son's haircut.  He was in tears (now we know where the son gets it) and asked me what kind of monster trying to re-live high school glory days forces a kid to get his hair cut against his will.  I told him a three-year letterman who wins championships. I added that if he took the same no holds barred approach to choral directing, perhaps last year's Christmas cantata wouldn't have sucked so bad.  I have no idea what a cantata is or if the middle school chorus even puts one on, but it was the best comeback I could come up with in the heat of the moment. He stormed off, and my DC started singing scales at him as he and his kid got in his Geo Prism and took off.

My guess is that we've seen the last of that kid, so there's one down. 

August 13, 2015: The First Youth Football Practice of the 2015 Season

Looks like we have a decent group to work with. I started practice off (which I closed to both the parents and the media, if any had shown up) with a speech to the players about dedication, commitment, and the proper "balance" between athletics and academics. I asked for all students who had ever made the honor roll raise their hands, and when two of the twenty-five players did, I asked them if they thought anyone would care about that in 20 years? “No” is the correct answer, because no one remembers numbers written on a piece of paper. A championship ring, on the other hand (and at this point I pointed to my HS football region championship (3-way tie) ring for effect) is timeless. I told them that school must take a backseat to this team and that one bad semester isn't the end of the world anyway. Most of the kids were nodding in agreement, so I think they got the point. 

The practice itself was lively and intense. My DC focused pretty much all of his efforts on making the piccolo player quit. The kid ended up being every bit as bad as we suspected and looked like a senior citizen with a chronic hip problem during the back pedal drills. My DC punished his ineptitude by making the kid backpedal around the perimeter of the field while pretending to play the piccolo. The kid cried pretty much the whole practice, so we may have seen the last of him.

The only downside was that only a handful of the new players showed up with the “high and tight” haircut I had instructed their parents to get them. I will take matters into my own hands at the next practice, as I plan to bring in a couple of stylists from the Sport Clips I frequent to take care of this problem.

August 6, 2015: I Implement a Revolutionary Strategy for the Youth Football Draft and Draft a Piccolo Player and a Vegan

Today was the youth football draft. I've spent weeks getting ready for this and held a summit at my parents' timeshare in Westminster, SC, this past weekend with my DC and assistants to finalize plans. And we came up with a revolutionary draft strategy.

There comes a point in every draft where all the useful kids have been taken and the only players left are ones that have nothing to contribute. Last year, I made the mistake of just assuming that I could bench their asses and they'd either quit or just occupy space on the sidelines. Unfortunately, I later discovered the league has a "one quarter" rule under which every player has to play at least one quarter in every game. There are some ways around this - a couple of times last year I "completely forgot" about a particular kid until there was 90 seconds left in the game and the outcome was no longer in doubt, but you can only get away with that excuse once or twice a year. So because of the one quarter rule, terrible players aren't just useless tackling dummies; they are affirmative detriments to the team.

My strategy for the back end of the draft this year was innovative. Most coaches just pick kids at random because they all suck anyway (that's what I did last year), but this year we did a lot of research on those players and decided to focus on trying to draft weak-willed kids who we thought we could make quit. I received some valuable intel before the draft from one of the local school system’s cafeteria workers about this one kid who plays the piccolo and another who is vegan. Needless to say, I snapped them up immediately after all of the useful players were taken. I'll put the over/under on them quitting at two practices.

I have distributed the offensive and defensive playbooks to all the parents and asked them to take 30 minutes out of their kids normal homework time each night to learn the plays in advance of next Thursday's practice. Lastly, I asked them to try and keep non-football related school absences to a minimum, because throughout the year I'll be asking them to hold their kids out of school for the entire day or pick them up early so they can focus on certain games.

May 12, 2015: My DC Gives a Deposition, Gets Escorted Out by Building Security

Today, my DC had to give a deposition. It's just a simple slip and fall that he witnessed at the mall one afternoon last August. He was coming out of watching Transformers 4 for the second time (to catch anything he "might have missed" during the first viewing). The person who fell is suing the mall for failing to clean up the spilled nacho cheese that caused her to slip. Although he was listed on the mall's incident report as an eyewitness, my DC had been drinking Fireball throughout the movie and was absolutely shitcanned at the time the fall happened. He now has no memory of what happened. For most people that wouldn't be a problem. But for him, it violates the terms of his probation stemming from his arrest when he was found passed out in the bushes at Hardee's at lunchtime. 

The deposition got off to a rocky start almost immediately when my DC refused to answer a preliminary question about his current residential address. The correct answer is "none" (another violation of his probation), but he would not answer due to "identity theft" concerns. The attorneys also ended up having to get the judge on the phone to instruct him to stop making evidentiary objections (he watched several episodes of Suits to prepare for the deposition) and to stop saying "off the record" before he would start answering a question.

But things really went off the rails when the attorney started asking him about the events leading up to the accident. My DC mentioned that he was coming out of watching Transformers 4 for the second time that day, and the attorney made some crack about that being a special form of self-torture. My DC, still upset over the fact over the Academy Awards snub, then lost it and had to be restrained by the other attorney, the court reporter, and a member of the janitorial staff from attacking the attorney taking the deposition. The deposition was terminated and building security was called and escorted him out of the building

The good news is that the attorneys for both sides were so shaken up over the whole incident they have decided not to reconvene his deposition or call him as a trial witness. And, the deposition ended before my DC had to answer any questions that would require him to disclose that he was absolutely obliterated at the time of the slip and fall. So for now, it looks like he's in the clear. Here's an excerpt from the transcript:

Attorney: And where do you currently work?

DC: Objection. Calls for hearsay and violates the best evidence rule.

Attorney: Sir, that is not a valid objection, and even it was, this is just a deposition so you still have to answer the question.

DC: Off the record.

Attorney: We've been over this several times. You cannot just say off the record whenever I ask a question to avoid answering the question. I'll ask the court reporter to repeat the pending question. You need to answer it on the record.

[Question read back]

DC. Objection, calls for speculation.

Attorney: This needs to stop. Please answer the question on the record.

DC: Off the record.

Attorney: Alright, I've had enough of this. Let's get the judge on the phone.

DC: Go right ahead. If you think I'm scared of the federal government, think again.

Attorney: Sir, please return to your side of the table.

April 21, 2015: My DC got fired from his school crossing guard job for barking at a student

Just got a tearful phone call from my DC letting me know that he got canned. This morning one of the kids at the elementary school where my friend the DC is the crossing guard was wearing a Jalen Hurd University of Tennessee jersey. When the kid was crossing the street, my DC started barking at him, asking him if Hurd would ever break 5 yards per carry, and making fun of the kid's bowl cut. The kid's father saw the whole thing and went to confront my DC. A shouting match ensued and several parents had to physically restrain my DC. Apparently several kids saw the confrontation and were "traumatized" (the school's word, not mine), crying, and eventually excused for the day because they couldn't concentrate. 

This was a "third strike" for him (he was already on thin ice for recruiting on the job and making a kid do up and down in front of everyone for not paying attention), so they had to fire him. We are going to meet up at Beef O Brady's tonight to brainstorm over Miller Lite and shots of Fireball about how to replace the income. He's leaning towards trying to becoming an Amway salesman, but I guess we'll see.