Coach, first off, thank you for being a legend and a source of incredible inspiration. Second, I see that you often mention that you were a three-year letterman at wide receiver in high school. May I ask why you were not a four-year letterman?
That is a great question, and the story behind it is one that still makes me shake with rage.
My freshman year of high school, it was evident to pretty much everyone with a functioning brain that I should be the starting wide receiver. The guy who I was competing with for the spot was some loser senior named Todd who’d never taken a meaningful snap. Todd was slow, gangly (LOL at that guy trying to run through agility ropes), couldn’t run block, and had the appearance of wearing invisible iron mittens whenever he tried to catch the ball. Making matters worse, he was one of those dumbasses who “went all out” on every play and drill in practice and treated basic warm-ups like they were the goddamn Olympics. You’d often see him out on the field after practice by himself running routes and throwing the tether ball by himself, as if that was going to do any good. We all played football with at least one person like Todd, and I hated him. No doubt he had a shelf at home full of “Hustle” and “Most Improved Player” awards.
Unfortunately, my coach had a loser’s mindset. He acknowledged that I was a vastly superior athlete, but expressed concern about my “attitude,” “excessive use of profanity,” “constant attempts to change the play in the huddle,” and “frequent questioning of the coaching staff’s coaching abilities.” Todd, on the other hand, had “put in his time” and “done everything we’ve asked him to do.” So I had to spend that season standing on the sideline, not lettering, and watching Todd fuck up multiple times on every offensive series. It was infuriating, and after the season was over, I got the coach fired by claiming he was having inappropriate relationships with other school faculty members (not true).
Flash forward about two decades, and Todd is a bank teller and has a son who – surprise, surprise – completely sucks at youth football. Although my employer offers direct deposit, I still receive a paper check so I can march into the bank every other Friday in my letter jacket, storm up to Todd’s station, and toss the signed check down. I then stare at him with a determined look on my face while he absorbs the fact that I rake in $29.35/hr plus bennies and a cell phone (which I make sure to display prominently in a leather belt holster when I go in the bank).