Friday Mailbag-December 15, 2017: Angry Georgia Tech Fans Attacking Me On Twitter

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Question: Coach, I noticed that, over the past couple of days, there have been a large number of GTurd fans lobbing personal attacks at you on Twitter. I’m having a hard time understanding how someone could have a problem with all that you’ve accomplished. What gives?

You are correct, the Twitter attacks have been quite vicious - to see those attacks and my responses, you can follow me on twitter @3YearLetterman. GTurd fans tend to hate me for one simple reason. Put yourself in their shoes for a second. Imagine you went to some random suburban Atlanta high school, where you didn’t letter in anything, got your head shoved into lockers, and never got invited to field parties. You were president of the Math Club, however, and eventually got into GTurd because your SAT math score was adequate. You then went there and spent four years surrounded by other guys, playing World of Warquest and Everquest deep into the night, and watching your football team get embarrassed by UGA every Saturday after Thanksgiving (unless the refs were cheating). You graduated with an engineering degree, but despite visions of making it big in Silicon Valley, you ended up working at an Office Depot in Sandy Springs.

You have dubious personal hygiene. The closest you’ve ever come to enjoying the company of a female was when your aunt set you up on a date with one of her co-workers’ daughters. You then asked said daughter if she wanted to meet up through Second Life avatars. You never heard back from her, and your aunt got fired. When you go to UGA-GTurd games, you get barked at and a swirlie from a man with a determined look and wraparound Oakleys and a somewhat rotund man with a combover and a beet red face. You have posted on Stingtalk while in tears multiple times. 

On the other hand you have me. I lived the dream in high school, lettering - and starting - in football for three years. I am a man of immaculate style, as I always have a fresh high and tight haircut, and my attire usually consists of black jeans, wraparound Oakleys, and 7-8 pumps of Tim McGraw southern blend cologne. I have won multiple youth football titles and am approaching Saban-like status. When I return to my high school and stand in student section, I am hailed as a legend when I show them the three stripes on my letter jacket and explain who I am. I get invited to field parties. I live in an apartment complex with a pool. I have access to a time share in Westminster, SC. I had a hairstylist named Jessika ask me to go see “A Christmas Carol” just this week.

So having lost badly on the athletic and style side, GT fans try to one-up me by boasting about their academic accomplishments and supposed professional success.  But there, they lose again. Unlike them, I didn’t waste a bunch of money on college, as I dropped out of Atlanta Perimeter after 3 semesters when I realized it was a Ponzi scheme. And here I am, nearly 20 years later, raking in $27/hour plus bennies, a cell phone, and unlimited company polo shirts. 

So that’s a long way of saying, they hate me because I am everything they are not. 

Rose Bowl Mailbag - December 5, 2017: Hitchhiking to the Rose Bowl

Question: Congratulations on the big win in the SEC Championship Game this weekend and making the playoff. How did you celebrate? Also, what are your plans for the Rose Bowl? 

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Saturday night was, without question, the high point of my life. I went to the game with my youth football team’s DC and my offensive assistant who is on probation for selling counterfeit Oakleys. We drove up on Friday night and just illegally parked in front of Mercedes Benz Stadium. Saturday, we spent much of the day walking around Atlanta in the wishbone formation and blocking any Auburn fans we encountered to the ground. During the game, I had to physically restrain my DC on several occasions to prevent him from going down to the field during the game to confront the refs for the egregious calls. But by the middle of the fourth quarter, he was crying tears of joy as we put the game away, and I was giving swirlies to fleeing Auburn fans in the upper deck restrooms. All’s well that ends well.

Following the game, we went to Tattletales to do shots of Fireball, celebrate the victory, form tackle any Auburn fans we saw, and try and sell some counterfeit Oakleys (“Oatleys”) out of a garbage bag in Buckhead to raise funds for tickets to the playoff. We ended up offloading about 200 pairs at $20 a pop, so you do the math. The one moment of panic came at around 4 a.m., when my DC wandered off and could not be found. Thankfully, we discovered him the next morning passed out in front of the Varsity, surrounded by empty chili dawg containers and covered in a spilled Frosted Orange.  Then, as if the weekend couldn’t possibly get any better, a GTurd (Georgia Tech, for the uninitiated) journalist blocked me on Twitter for saying mean things about GTurd. 

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And, of course, we plan to head to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl, but there could be some transportation issues getting out there. So right now, the plan is to do some combination of hitchhiking and perhaps Greyhound buses or the MegaBus. My cousin is a delivery driver for Lance’s snacks and will take us to Phenix City, Alabama during one of his deliveries, and then we’ll have to figure out our own way from there. We’ll probably stick to hitchhiking, as it is a great way to see the country. Keep an eye out, because I will be tweeting live updates from the road (@3YearLetterman).   

Georgia Tech Week Mailbag - Why Sy the Photo Guy was the Quintessential Georgia Tech Graduate

Question: Coach, I know we are playing GTurd this week. In honor of that, can you tell us whether the band camp kids in American Pie or the SciFi geeks in Can’t Hardly Wait are better representatives of future GTurd graduates?

I’m actually going to have to say neither and go in a third direction. While there are certainly overlaps between Georgia Tech graduates and the guys sitting on the roof of the party during Can’t Hardly Wait bragging about non-existent girlfriends and playing with Star Trek figurines, the real truth is something much darker.

And that brings us to the protagonist of One Hour Photo - Sy the Photo Guy, portrayed by Robin Williams. For those who aren’t familiar with the movie, One Hour Photo is about a bizarre employee in the one hour photo section of a store who becomes obsessed with a family that drops off their photos there. 

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Though it isn’t in the script, there’s simply no way Sy the Photo Guy doesn’t hold a management degree from Georgia Tech. He’s angry, strange, single, lonely, poorly dressed, socially inept, and believes he has a much more prestigious job than he actually does. He’s the kind of guy who sits in the lunchroom by himself, posts on Stingtalk, and scoffs at passing co-workers who are UGA fans while boasting about his SAT math score. In high school, he used to tell classmates who were giving him a swirlie or shoving his head into a locker that one day he would employ them all when he made millions of dollars in Silicon Valley. In reality, he never made it further west than his aunt’s house in Marietta. He’s the guy who whines to the staff at Beef O’Brady’s and tries to have me ejected when I bark at him.

You know on Saturday morning he’ll be sitting by himself in his apartment and angrily hoping for a win, but preparing a list of insults that reference the value of his degree and the average starting salary of a Georgia Tech graduate when the inevitable loss happens.  

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Friday Mailbag - November 10, 2017: My DC’s Top 5 Movies; Dealing with Meddlesome Youth Football League Officials

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Question: Coach, what are your youth football team’s defensive coordinator’s favorite movies?

Here are his top 5. 

1. Varsity Blues

2. Showgirls  

3. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit

4. Three Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain

5. Iron Eagle (all of them)  

Question : Coach, not sure if you’ve been following this situation in Michigan (https://www.clickondetroit.com/sports/decision-upheld-ending-woodhaven-warriors-football-season-postseason-activities). What advice can you give if your team’s season is ended prematurely by league officials?

I am certainly no stranger to having to battle league efforts to end my youth football team’s reign of terror. As many of you know, the assistant to the league director for the youth football league in which I coach hates me for giving him an atomic wedgie in high school. He tried to suspend my DC for his ill-fated “trust fall” off the back of his Chrysler Lebaron in 2015, which prompted me to retain my cousin the workers’ comp attorney as our team’s legal counsel. It proved to be the wisest decision I’ve ever made, as he’s gotten our team out of innumerable quandaries with the league, the local school system, and the court system. And all of that for the low price of getting access to my parents’ timeshare in Westminster, South Carolina. 

So my best advice is to call in the lawyers and fight as hard as you need to in order to keep the season going. Lawsuits, TROs, permanent injunctions, administrative hearings, petitions to judicially dissolve the league — whatever it takes, you do it. Your players deserve nothing less.  

Special McElwain Firing Mailbag - October 30, 2017: Coaching Ethics and Faking Your Own Death

Question:  Coach, can we get your take on Jim McElwain’s “death threat” fiasco and subsequent firing?

I am still not sure what he was trying to accomplish with the whole death threat sideshow, but if we assume it was part of an attempt to gain a strategic advantage, I have to say I respect that. In fact, it’d be hypocritical of me to say otherwise, given that I previously faked my own death for my youth football team’s benefit.

Let me explain. Last year, my youth football team was in a tough spot. We had a big game coming up, but 3 of my best players were suspended for a week for stealing prescription meds from one of their teachers. The problem is that, by league rules, you can’t play during a suspension, meaning they would miss that week’s game unless I could figure out a way to get the suspension lifted. After the principal called my bluff when I threatened to sue the school for failing to prevent students from getting their hands on opioids (not sure what qualifies as an opioid, but I wanted to sound serious), the only option was to get the game delayed to the next week.

Hence, I decided to fake my own death. I won’t go into details, but it involved sending in a fake obituary to the local paper and using my deep connections in the local mortuary industry to schedule a fake funeral to coincide with the game. The important thing is it worked, as my DC was able convince the league to delay the game to the next week so the players could attend the funeral.

I got suspended for two games, but the maneuver worked. With our full roster, we won both games. If McElwain had been as creative as me, maybe he’d stlll have a job. 

Friday Mailbag - October 20, 2017: Plans for the the UGA-Florida Game

Question: Are you and your DC planning on heading down to Jacksonville for the UGA-Florida game this year? If so, what vehicle will you be taking and where will you be saying?

The short answer is yes, pending results of our fundraising campaign. My DC has a negative checking account balance and all of his credit cards are maxed out (not to mention a delinquency with Rent-a-Center), so he’s in need of some cash. As a result, we are attempting to pawn his girlfriend’s son’s dirt bike and baseball card collection and looking for the best offer we can find. 

If we go down, we will go in my aunt’s Corolla (I’m currently in between cars). There’s virtually no chance my DC’s white Chrysler Lebaron could make it down there and back, nor will I get in a car with him behind the wheel. 

Right now, the plan is to stay somewhere in Brunswick, Georgia, which is one of my favorite summer vacation destinations. I’ve stayed many times at the La Quinta there, and if there’s a better Golden Corral than the one on Golden Isles Plaza, I’m unaware of it. And the night life in Brunswick has got to be among the best in Southeast Georgia.  

On game day, we will go down to Jacksonville, get absolutely obliterated, and try to buy scalped tickets after kickoff to get the best deal possible. If all else fails, we’ll head to the Hooters at the Landing to watch the game and bark at Gator fans. If you are a Florida fan and see a somewhat rotund man with a combover and a beet red face and another man with a high and tight haircut, wraparound Oakleys, and a determined look, I’d recommend keeping your distance. Not going to lie - the odds of us making it back without someone getting arrested or injured seem very small, but life’s about living in the moment and assuming there won’t be a tomorrow. 

I will be tweeting updates throughout the whole trip, so keep an eye out.  

Special Cocktail Party Mailbag-October 16, 2017: Barking at UFraud (Florida) Fans

Question: With Georgia on a bye week this week, what can we do as a fan base to best prepare for the game against Florida in two weeks?

This is like a belt-high, inner half of the plate fastball to Chipper Jones in 1999. To start, do not dignify them by referring to them as “Florida.” They are UFraud. And I mean that literally, given the recent credit card fraud charges.

Beyond that, the answer to your question is easy—for the next two weeks, if you see UFraud fans, you bark at them. No exceptions. You see an elderly lady walking into a funeral home for visitation with a UF pin on? You run up, block the entrance, and bark at her. You see a mom dropping off her three-year old at preschool in an SUV bearing a UF sticker? You peel into the parking lot, bring your car to a screeching halt, get out, run over, and bark at both of them on their way in the building. You see a WWII veteran coming out of the VFW with a UF hat on? You shake his hand and thank him for his service, but then you get in his face, bark at him, and consider throwing in a Gator Chomp-Throat Slash combo for good measure. 

Either you’re “all in’ as a Georgia fan or you aren’t, and it is time to differentiate the true fans from the fake ones.

Friday Mailbag-October 13, 2017: Fashion for Attending a High School Football Game

Question: Being a man of such keen fashion sense, how do you typically dress for a high school football game? 

Excellent question, and very timely given that I’ll be attending a game at my old high school tonight. If you’re a multi-year letterman like me, you should always wear your letter jacket, regardless of the temperature. When you stand in the student section like I sometimes do or attend post-game field parties, it’s important to send a message to current students that you’re an alumni worthy of respect, not some special teams senior who only got a jacket because they give them to all seniors. If it’s so hot you’re worried about passing out, you can take the jacket off and tie the arms around your neck like people sometimes do with sweaters at country clubs. For cool, crisp evenings, I like to go with a black mock turtleneck underneath my old high school football jersey, freshly pressed black jeans, and white LA Gears. It is a refined, yet intimidating, look. For warmer evenings, I will usually wear a “No Fear” t-shirt tucked into said black jeans. And I always finish the look off with 7-8 pumps of Tim McGraw Southern Blend cologne, which, like a foghorn, announces my presence to all in attendance. 

October 8, 2017 (Sunday Edition): Tommy Tuberville's BAC and My DC's Upcoming Bench Trial

Question: What was Tommy Tuberville's BAC for yesterday's Georgia-Vanderbilt game? 

My best guess is somewhere between 1.8-2.5. Honestly, the prospect that he was stone cold sober during that broadcast is imminently more concerning than if he was just simply hammered the entire time.

Question: When is your DC's bench trial for crack blocking that guy during your 20-year HS reunion? Also, what is his strategy?

It's this week. My cousin the workers' comp attorney was going to represent him. Unfortunately, he's dealing with a minor ethics issue of his own. It arises from an affidavit he filed with the court that was signed by someone who may or may not have been dead at the time it was allegedly signed. As a result, he is temporarily barred from appearing in court. The presiding judge has also criticized my cousin's appearance as "unprofessional" on prior occasions, so it's probably for the best anyway.

Despite our pleas to use a public defender or check around to see if another lawyer will take it pro bono, my DC is adamant that he will defend himself. The centerpiece of his presentation will be when he calls himself to the stand and, in his words, "aggressively cross-examines" himself. The state has several witnesses on its list from the reunion, including our class president, the assistant to the league director, the guy my DC crack blocked on the squash court, and the guy who won Defensive Player of the Year our senior year over my DC, so god only knows what he'll do when they take the stand.

He is also re-watching Season 3 of Suits to help develop his list of evidentiary objections. 

September 29, 2017: Flag protests

Question(s): I received several questions this week to the effect of, "How is your team handling the flag protests?" and "Will you, your DC, and your team stand or kneel for the national anthem?"

With the exception of the Piccolo Player (probably the only player on my team who has ever read a news article of any kind), I really doubt any of my players are aware of the national anthem displays. I had the team doing an hour-long Oklahoma drill last Sunday as punishment for a lackluster performance on Thursday (although if the league asks, it was a "voluntary" game of touch football and not a practice), so they wouldn't have seen the protests.  And most of them couldn't tell you what the word protest means if you had a gun to their head. 

But more to the point, the 5 minutes before a football game starts should be devoted to refining your game plan and intimidating the opponent, not to distractions like patriotism or social causes. I always continue my pre-game preparations with the team during the national anthem. Furthermore, the only anthem my youth football team is concerned with is the Rains of Castamere, which the Piccolo Player plays at mid-field before every game. I require my players to flank him on either side and stare across the field at the opposing team with determined looks. My DC initially would hold up an iPad playing the Red Wedding scene, but the league put a stop to that because they deemed it "inappropriate" for 9-10 year olds. So while our opponent is busy standing or kneeling or whatever they choose to do for the national anthem, we are focused on getting ready for the game, scaring the hell out of them, and then winning.