The Time I Recruited A Likely Overage QB with Tracings of a Mustache

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During my first year as a youth football head coach in the nine and ten-year-old division, we had serious offensive issues early in the season. Most of those stemmed from Jason, this giant turd of a quarterback whom I’d foolishly drafted in the second round. Jason was so pathetic and useless during our first game that I made the offense go into “Three Knees and Punt” mode during the entire second half. We won 7-0.

Revolutionary though it was, Three Knees and Punt could only take us so far. I knew something had to be done about the offense, and it had to start with getting rid of Jason and finding a real quarterback. I instructed my defensive coordinator, the beloved Coach Drake, to hit the recruiting trail.

Sure enough, the next Tuesday morning, Drake texted me: “Importent!!! Meet me at Long Johns at noon!”

I left work shortly before noon and drove to Long John Silver’s, Drake’s favorite restaurant. Drake was propped up against the driver’s side door of his white Chrysler Lebaron, wearing a “Big Dawg” t-shirt and double fisting cole slaw and hush puppies. Crumbs were all over his face and clothes. 

“What the hell’s so urgent?” I asked.

“Sorry to text you at work, but this couldn’t wait. I think I found our new QB1.”

“Who?”

“I’ll show you.”

I followed Drake across the parking lot to the corner furthest from the restaurant. Standing next to a rusted late ‘80s Ford Bronco II were a man in his thirties and what appeared to be his thirteen or fourteen-year-old son. The man had dirty, unkempt hair down to his neck, week-old stubble, and wore a tattered Chipper Jones t-shirt jersey and Auburn hat. The kid was pretty tall with a crew cut and tracings of a mustache. He wore a stained white tank top, and the phrase “Fuck ‘Em Up” was tattooed on his left bicep. 

“You must be Coach Letterman!” the man said, pumping my right hand enthusiastically. “Great to finally meet you! I’m Greg and this is my boy, Billy.”

“Hey coach,” Billy said in a voice much too deep for a ten-year-old.

“Nice to meet you son,” I said. “Hey Greg, could you give me and Drake just a second?”

“Sure.”


I walked away with Drake until we were out of earshot.

“What the hell is this supposed to be?” I asked.

“They say he’s really good.”

“Who?”

“That kid. Billy.”

“Good at what?”

“Quarterback. You told me to find one.”

That kid is the QB1 you were talking about?”

“Yeah.”

“He’s got a goddamn mustache, Drake! There isn’t a chance in hell that kid is ten years old. He can probably drive. I mean for Christ’s sake look,” I said, pointing. “He’s smoking a fucking cigarette!” We watched as Greg pulled out a couple of cigarettes, handed one to Billy, and lit it with a match. Billy dragged on the cigarette and exhaled two thick streams of smoke through his nostrils like he’d been smoking for ages.

“His birth certificate only says he’s ten,” Drake assured me. “I promise. Greg showed it me right before you got here.”

“Wait. Hold on. Greg just happened to have his son’s birth certificate on him at Long John Silver’s?”

“Yeah.”

“Did you ask him to bring it?”

“No.”

“Drake, there isn’t a fucking chance that thing’s real.”

“Well it looked real to me. Had the hospital name and everything.”

“You know what? We’re so bad on offense right now, I really don’t care. If the league will take it, let’s bring Billy on board. I don’t give a shit if he’s really twenty. And Drake,” I said, “if that works, we need to get rid of Jason immediately. He’s useless. So just tell his parents that we see a lot of Oklahoma drills in the parking lot in his future of he returns.”

“Absolutely.”


A day later, the deal was done, and Billy was on our official roster. Jason left the team in tears. We finally had our quarterback.

The Time I Threw a Devastating Downfield Block at a Funeral Home

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Brandon Meeks was a shitty cornerback. He was frail and slow. I hated his haircut, his squeaky voice, and his asthma-induced wheezing on days with a high pollen count. Brandon sucked against the run. He sucked on special teams. And he sucked in pass coverage, where his hip-turning skills rivaled those of a geriatric nursing home patient.

But during my first year as an assistant youth football coach, I had few other options. Brandon was merely one of the least offensive choices in a sea of losers. And yet, without Brandon, I’m not sure I’d be where I am today.

 

My first foray into youth football coaching came in 2013, when I was asked by a co-worker to serve as the defensive backs coach for his son’s youth football team. The team’s defensive coordinator was a local orthodondist named Steve Tomlin. Steve was a massive tool, and we hated each other from the start. Throughout August, I told Steve over and over that our defensive backs were a giant collection of turds and that if the front seven couldn’t pressure the quarterback, we were in trouble. Steve ran a 4-3 defense, but I’d been advocating a switch to a 3-4 defense with more blitzing.

All of this came to a head the week of our first game. We were set to play the Giants on the Thursday after Labor Day. But on Tuesday night, the coaches learned that Brandon Meeks’s grandfather had passed away. Visitation was scheduled for Wednesday evening and the funeral for Thursday afternoon. Over my strenuous objection, Wednesday’s final practice was cancelled so that the players and coaches could “be there to support Brandon and his family” at the visitation.


Let me be clear: I had no desire to attend Mr. Meeks’s visitation or the funeral itself. The man had been alive nearly eighty years and could have died at any time. And yet, he chose the most inconvenient time possible—two days before our first game—to succumb to heart disease. I have no tolerance for that kind of selfishness, and I certainly didn’t want to suggest I condoned that kind of behavior by “paying my respects.” But there was a bigger problem. With Wednesday’s practice cancelled, Mr. Meeks’s visitation was the last opportunity I’d have before Thursday’s game to lobby Steve to change to a 3-4 defense. I couldn’t pass up that chance.


The next evening, I drove to the funeral home for the visitation. This being Northeast Georgia in early September, it was blistering outside. I dressed in what I like to call “somber smart casual” attire—a black, button-up shirt tucked into a pair of black jeans, black LA Gears, black wraparound Oakley sunglasses, and several pumps of McGraw Southern Blend cologne. The visitation had started a half hour or so before I arrived, and the parking lot was already full. There was only one available space, and it was for “Immediate Family of the Deceased.” But if your grandson’s position coach isn’t “immediate family,” then who really is? So I pulled my T-Bird into the vacant spot and walked inside.

Somber, generic organ music piped through the musty, former Postbellum mansion. “It’s the first room on your right,” the usher said, handing me a paper bulletin. The bulletin said “Roger Meeks: 1934-2013” at the top and bore a picture of a large family dressed in identical clothing and standing on a beach. There must have been fifteen or twenty people, all wearing white button-up, short-sleeve shirts and white pants. At the center were a man and a woman in their early eighties who appeared to be Mr. Meeks and his wife. They were flanked on both sides by their children and grandchildren, including Brandon. It was the type of ridiculous family photo that you see on the front of Christmas cards that inevitably include a narrative update on what happened to the senders over the last year. Adults who prefer these cards are the same people who make bad parenting jokes on Facebook and are still “really into” Disney. No surprise that Brandon Meeks sprang from this gene pool.

I stuffed the bulletin in my pocket and walked inside.


The dim receiving room for Mr. Meeks was more crowded than I’d expected. A long line of mourners waiting to pay their respects to Mrs. Meeks had formed along the rear wall, and dozens of people were scattered about the room speaking in hushed tones. There were several ornate flower displays surrounding the casket. I surveyed the room and saw Steve midway through the receiving line. I politely elbowed my way through the crowd and approached him.

“Hey, Hey. Steve – Steve,” I whispered, tapping on his left shoulder to get his attention. “Can we talk?”

Steve looked dubious.

“It’s very important,” I mouthed.

Steve rolled his eyes and followed me to a large desk on the opposite wall.


When we got there, I placed the bulletin on the desk and turned on the lamp. “I’ve been thinking a lot about our defensive game plan for Thursday,” I said to Steve as I hunched over the desk and diagrammed a 3-4 defensive formation over the Meeks family’s white clothing. “I think we’re going to have a better chance of slowing down the Giants’ passing attack if we switch to a 3-4 like I’ve been saying. Now, I know you say the players are too young run a 3-4, but—”

“Seriously?!” Steve interrupted. “Are you kidding me with this?”

“No, I’m not. A 3-4 really is much better than a 4-3. That’s why Nick Saban runs it.”

“You just pulled me out of a receiving line for a funeral visitation to talk football strategy,” Steve said, the anger rising in his voice. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Well, excuse me, Steve, but this wouldn’t be necessary if I thought you were remotely prepared for the Giants. Our first game is tomorrow, so when the hell else am I supposed to bring it up?!”

“One of our players’ grandfathers is dead! His body’s right over there,” he said, pointing. “And this is what you care about?”

“Look,” I said, trying to restore dignity and common sense to the discussion. “Whether we discuss this now or later isn’t going to make Brandon’s granddad any less dead. It’s bad enough we had to cancel practice because of this.” Steve scoffed. “And I’ll be honest with you Steve,” I continued, “right now, I think you’re on the verge of adding insult to death. You’re going to make Brandon look like an idiot on the field tomorrow because you aren’t prepared.”

“The funeral is tomorrow! Brandon’s not going to play. I already told him to take as much time as he needs.”

“Well that’s unacceptable. The funeral’s at 2:00 and the game isn’t until 6:00. Last I checked Brandon isn’t the one who’s dead; his grandfather is. Brandon can just wear his pads to the funeral and come straight to the field after.”

“You know what Letterman? I’m done with this conversation. I really don’t want you around the players anymore, so please don’t come back. I’ll find someone else to coach the secondary.”

“Are you shitting me?!” I said, raising my voice, drawing the attention of several people standing nearby. 

“No,” Steve responded. “You’re a really sick person.”

At that point, natural instinct kicked in, and Steve was destined the suffer the same fate as hundreds of high school defensive players who were unfortunate enough to cross my path between 1994 and 1996. I sprang forward and executed a devastating downfield block on Steve, sending him stumbling several feet back into a flower display, which he knocked onto the casket itself. Shouts and cries of mortified onlookers rang throughout the room, and two funeral home employees swept in—one to realign the casket and ensure all was in order, and another to attend to Steve, who was gasping for breath on the ground.

I walked over to Steve and stood triumphantly above him. “You never lettered in shit,” I said. I then flipped on my wrarpound Oakley sunglasses and strode out of the funeral home with a determined look on my face.


My path to becoming a youth football coaching legend had officially begun.

Game of Thrones Analysis: Could the Army of the Dead Handle the Grind of an SEC Schedule?

Game of Thrones is a remarkable television series that has just started its final season. It is also home to perhaps the most dominant army in television history—the Army of the Dead. This, in turn, begs the inevitable question of whether the Army of the Dead could handle the grind of an SEC schedule? I address this important question today by balancing the Army of the Dead’s strengths against its weaknesses.

First, the strengths:

1. Recruiting. When the Army of the Dead defeats you, you become one of them. So we have to assume that if they beat an SEC team, they then get their pick of the defeated team’s best players. That’s a tremendous recruiting advantage.

2. Depth. The Army of the Dead is the largest force the Seven Kingdoms have ever seen. You destroy one of their soldiers, and another, virtually identical soldier steps right into its place. Kirby Smart literally dreams of having a stack of soulless destruction machines on his sideline like the Army of the Dead.

3. Durability. The Army of the Dead doesn’t have an injured reserve list, because they don’t need one. The only way to get them off the playing field is to completely destroy them.

4. Coaching. The Army of the Dead is led by the Night King, an unflappable, ruthless individual who never utters a word. His orders—which are followed without question—come through steel-eyed stares and hand gestures. Nick Saban’s ultimate goal for years has been to transform into a mute authoritarian who destroys everything in his path with a determined look, so you’ve got to respect the Night King for his accomplishments. The ability to communicate without words would also benefit the Army of the Dead when dealing with a hostile SEC road crowd.

The Night King from HBO’s  Game of Thrones . 

The Night King from HBO’s Game of Thrones

Now let’s consider the weaknesses:

1. Weak Schedule. Who the hell has the Army of the Dead played, exactly? The Night’s Watch? That was a bunch of old men, criminals, and other societal outcasts. Imagine a state prison and a senior citizens home combined to create a football team, and that’s the Night’s Watch. Not impressed. The Wildlings? They were a wannabe 1980’s Miami team of undisciplined renegades, but without the immense talent. And that’s pretty much it. Thus, the Army of the Dead is basically 2007 Hawaii without Colt Brennan or June Jones.

2. Cold Weather Team. There is absolutely no chance the Army of the Dead could handle the heat and humidity of an early-season SEC road trip. Time and time again we’ve seen what happens when a team from outside of the south ventures down to the SEC for an early-season matchup. They wilt almost immediately in the heat and humidity (see State, Boise 2005). The Army of the Dead is even less prepared, because they’ve spent their entire existence playing in the snow. Send them down to Columbia, South Carolina on a humid, early September aftertoon when it’s 96 degrees, and let’s see how much good an ice-breathing dragon does them.

3. No SEC Speed. The Army of the Dead has been trudging south since 2011. That’s eight years, and they haven’t even gotten to Winterfell yet. I haven’t done (and, indeed, will never do) the math, but you’ve got to imagine they all have double-digit forty times and downright horrendous shuttle numbers, and that just isn’t going to cut it against the sideline-to-sideline speed you see in the SEC. There’s no chance their offensive line could handle a Quinnen Williams or a Roquan Smith or that their defense could set the outside edge against an Alvin Kamara or Sony Michel. Remember the 2006 national championship between Ohio State and Florida? Now imagine that Ohio State had played with cement blocks glued to their cleats, and you’ve got the Army of the Dead.

4. Scholarship Limitations. Given the Army of the Dead’s sheer size, it appears that the Night King has taken a page out of the Bear Bryant playbook by handing out scholarships like candy to each and every recruit that crosses his path. That might have been a good strategy fifty years ago, but it won’t cut it today with the 85-scholarship limit. And from what I can see, the Army of the Dead is mostly made up of scrawny two-stars, not the four and five-star specimens needed to win the battle in the trenches against a top-tier SEC team.

When you balance these factors, it’s pretty clear that the Army of the Dead simply could not handle the grind of an SEC schedule. Yes, they have an impressive head coach and remarkable physical durability, but ultimately, the speed, size, depth, and experience of the SEC would overwhelm them. I’ve got them going 3-9 overall, and 0-8 in-conference with competitive losses to Vanderbilt and Arkansas.

I Speak at an Elementary School’s Career Day and Show the Students the Red Wedding Scene from Game of Thrones

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The local elementary school recently invited me to speak to a group of kindergarteners and first-graders at Career Day, which was today. The schedule of “professionals” speaking before and after me was littered with an assortment of losers and other social misfits. There was a chemist, an investment banker, an anthesiologist, and the head of the local soup kitchen. So, to keep the kids from falling asleep, I decided to given them something more meaningful than the average Career Day speech.

That’s where Game of Thrones comes into play. It’s a show chock full of strategic and tactical maneuvers of immense value to today’s youth. The fact that it’s episodes are not regularly shown in America’s schools (do they seriously still show that Channel One dogshit?) is one of the biggest problems facing our company.

I decided to single-handedly rectify that wrong today. I showed up to Career Day decked out in black jeans, one of my work polos, my letter jacket, and wraparound Oakleys to give the kids a clear, visual example of what unqualified success looks like. I was ushered to a room filled with young children sitting on the floor and, as I requested, a projection screen had been set up.

The kids mostly looked like an eclectic group of losers, and I let them know that right out of the gate. The teacher and some of the other parents asked me to please “watch my language” after I dropped a handful of F-bombs in front of the kids. But I got past those distractions and the time came for the centerpiece of my speech. I dimmed the lights, turned on the projector, poured a little Fireball whiskey in a tumbler I’d brought, and began to give a speech that would make Don Draper proud:

“Kids, today I want to introduce you to a great, historical American figure that you might not know much about. His name was Tywin Lannister, and he orchestrated the greatest strategic move in human history. Now, fortunately, you all will one day leave the safe confines of this glorified day care and get out into the real world. I’m not going to lie – most of you look like stone-cold losers. [Gesturing to frail kid who is clearly the smartest kid in the class] Timmy, you specifically are probably due for a lifetime full of disappointments and never lettering in a goddamn thing.

But some hope exists. When you get out there in the real world, the most important thing is dominating your adversaries – be that on the football field, in the boardroom, in the science lab, or in church. And what better way to do that than follow in the footsteps of history’s greatest tactician – Mr. Tywin Lannister:”

At that point, I hooked up my laptop to the projection screen and began to stream the most important historic event in history—The infamous “Red Wedding Scene” from Game of Thrones. I picked up immediately where the “Rains of Castamere” begin to play and the door is locked.

“Watch closely, kids,” I said, “for mastery is about to be on full display.”

When the arrows began to fly, screams started to echo in the classroom. Kids were weeping, begging for their parents, and covering their eyes. I started screaming at the kids and threatening to expel them if they didn’t uncover their eyes and watch brilliance unfold. Meanwhile I had to start throwing devastating downfield blocks on the parents and staff who were trying to unhook my ipad from the projector. I must have taken out 5 or 6 parents and at least one grandparent before Catelyn Stark finally met her demise and the scene ended.

I then stood there amongst the do-gooding parents writhing in agony on the ground and stared out amongst the kids with a determined look on my face. “Remember what you have seen here today kids, because this is what domination looks like.” Two dirty, sociopathic-looking “discipline problem” kids sitting in a pen to keep them away from other kids stood and applauded. I asked them for their names and told them I looked forward to having them on my youth football team.

At that point, the pepper spray hit my face, and things got hazy. Next thing I knew I was on the sidewalk with security standing over me and telling me that if I set foot in the parking lot again, I’d be arrested on the spot. So I got in my T-Bird an tore out of there, knowing I’d taught all in attendance a lesson they won’t soon forget.

My Twenty-Year High School Class Reunion was One for the Ages

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I graduated from high school in 1997, so last summer was our 20-year class reunion. It was an event I’d been looking to for quite some time, because I couldn’t wait to go back and impress all of my old classmates.

As planning efforts got underway on Facebook, I got into a very nasty fight on the page dedicated to the reunion with the class president. The bone of contention was the reunion’s location. She originally announced they would be renting the clubhouse at the local country club, where she’s a member. But I was able to start a counter-movement by letting everyone know I could get use of the banquet room at Beef's for free, and then we could have the after-party at my apartment complex's pool. After a lot of name-calling and personal insults posted on each other’s Facebook walls (mostly by me, truth be told), we decided to put it to a popular vote. The country club won pretty handily, so I decided to make the best of the situation.

Me, my youth football team’s DC, my offensive assistant who is on probation for selling my counterfeit Oakleys, and my cousin the workers’ comp attorney were all in the same class and decided to attend together. There was one hitch in this plan, as my DC and my offensive assistant never technically graduated. My DC quit school as an act of protest the day after our high school football awards banquets, when he was passed over for Defensive Player of the Year. My offensive assistant simply walked out of the locker room after our last football game, never to be seen at school again.

The night got off to a good start, as the four of us arrived in style in my DC’s Chrysler Lebaron. My DC – never one to stand on ceremony – backed his LeBaron into one of the “reserved” spots at the entrance, and ended up straddling that spot and a spot set aside for elderly club members. Little did we know that act would set off a chain reaction that would put him behind bars.

Trouble was literally brewing from the second we stepped into the place. My DC had an after-work meeting with the local Rent-A-Center manager about some delinquent payments, and hence, he didn’t have time to change out of his Sonic uniform before the reunion. One of the club members who was there for a squash tournament and sporting a sweater tied around his neck said my DC wasn’t properly attired and tried to have the club manager make him leave. My cousin pointed out that club policy is collars at all times, and there’s a very regal looking collar on the Sonic uniform, so the manager had to relent. The class president also was absolutely furious when she saw my DC and offensive assistant there. She tried to get them to leave, claiming the reunion wasn’t for “dropouts,” but she could tell from the determined looks on our faces that we weren’t going anywhere.

With those preliminary bumps in the road past us, things went along well for a while. Like a foghorn, ten pumps of Tim McGraw Southern Blend cologne announced my presence to all in attendance as I walked into the main dining room in my letter jacket with a determined look on my face. I was busy regaling other classmates with stories from our region championship (3-way tie) season, showing them my youth football championship rings, boasting about my salary of $27/hr plus bennies and a cell phone, and making fun of the honor roll kids.

However, the train started to veer off the tracks about an hour into the reunion. Several club members complained to our class president about my offensive assistant trying to sell them “Oatleys” in the men’s restroom and then spilling Fireball that he’d snuck in on a club member. The president was threatening to call the cops if he didn’t leave, so he did. My DC – who by that point had taken down a good 12-15 shots of Fireball -- got into a loud argument with our classmate who received the Defensive Player of the Year award over my DC. It quickly devolved into a shoving match and ended with two tables full of food getting knocked over.

So my DC was both angry and inebriated when someone pointed out that a tow truck was leaving the country club parking lot with his Lebaron. My cousin noted that he’d seen the aforementioned sweater-wearing squash player on his cell phone in the parking lot near the Lebaron about twenty minutes before the tow truck arrived, so he must have placed the call.

Upon hearing that, my DC decided to go confront the squash player. He ran to he squash courts, and before any of us could restrain him, raced onto the squash court, crack blocked the squash player to the ground, pulled the sweater arms tight around the guy’s neck, and began demanding that the guy agree to pay the towing fee. It took me, my offensive assistant, and two caterers to pull my DC off the guy.

The security guards then escorted my DC out of the club through the dining area where the reunion was being held. As he was escorted through, my DC yelled “you never could tackle for shit” at our teammate who won Defensive Player of the Year and then raised the roof as the strode out of the room.

The president was sobbing and yelling at me that we had ruined the reunion with the commotion we’d caused and that she might get kicked out of the club. I told her this never would have happened if we’d had the reunion at Beef O’Brady’s. I also suggested that her son would be well-advised to buckle his chinstrap and have his head on a swivel when he faced my youth football team in the autumn.

The three of us got the hell out of there and met up with my offensive assistant at Beef O’Brady’s. But by that point, the squash player called the cops and claimed he’d been “assaulted.” Everyone knew where we were at, and the cops showed up about thirty minutes in and took my DC out in handcuffs. He spent the night in jail. Turns out the sweater-wearing squash tool didn’t call the towing company at all – it was the class president, but that’s really neither here nor there. Justice was still served to both on some level.

February 21, 2018: I Make My GTurd Nephews Take Infield Practice in a Gravel Parking Lot

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I give up.

I’ve mentioned before that my sister polluted the family gene pool by marrying some loser who graduated from GTurd (Georgia Tech), is an electrical engineer, and never lettered in a damn thing in high school. Their two sons are every bit as frail and pathetic as you’d imagine. But my sister asked if I could try and teach them a few things before the upcoming baseball season so they don’t embarrass the family as much as they did last year, and I reluctantly agreed.

Thinking that second base was the only position they have any hope of not sucking at, I took them to the gravel parking lot behind Arby’s so they could learn that all you need to do is knock the ball down with your body and throw the runner out at first. After the younger one got hit in the face with a ball that took a strange hop, they both started crying and running away from the ball. I eventually started just hitting line drives at them to try and scare them into re-joining the drill, but no dice. I left and texted my sister to go pick them up from Arby’s, because I refuse to be seen with them anymore.

These kids were born to go to GTurd.

Halloween, 2017: The Greatest Youth Football Recruiting Night of the Year

Halloween is without question the best day of the year for recruiting potential players for my youth football team. I live in a somewhat dubious apartment complex, so there really isn’t much trick or treating that goes on there. Thus, me (dressed as Don Draper — borrowed my counsin’s K&G Menswear Suit and drank a tumbler of Fireball all night), my DC, and my offensive assistant who is on probation for selling counterfeit Oakleys decided to set up at my parents’ house. Since they live in a neighborhood with a lot of trick or treating, there are a lot of potential players that come through on this night. 

We set up agility ropes, a blocking sled, and tackling dummy and had all the kids who looked like potential players go through those drills if they wanted candy (we  shooed away kids who clearly weren’t cut out for the team and gave them that shitty candy in the orange and brown wrappers). We also set up a “Pen of Death” with chicken wire in which potential players were required to go in and do a “bull in the ring” drill with the DT with the Rat Tail, his Cousin Cody, and the FB/LB who can’t read. My DC, who was dressed as Pennywise, was threatening to kidnap any kids who refused to go in the pen and take them to the sewer. That may have been a bit over the line, but it worked, because several kids who clearly weren’t cut out for the team fled in tears. 

The good news is we found two or three potential stars for next year. Those lucky few who survived were permitted to bob for Fireball-infused apples and given a dozen expired eggs and encouraged to go throw them at the house of my neighbor who always calls the cops on me for being “too loud” when I throw parties at my parents’ above-ground pool. 

October 9, 2017: My DC Gave a Virtuoso Performance at His Bench Trial Today

[Note – Unlike all the other Stories of Success put on here so far, this one is current. If you’ve been following the travails of me, my DC, and my youth football team on the Main Board or the DawgVent, this update will make sense. If not, it may not.]

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I may have just witnessed the greatest courtroom performance this side of Atticus Finch.

As I’ve mentioned, my DC was arrested following our 20-year HS reunion for crack blocking someone on the squash court at the country club where the event was held. Today was his bench trial. Ordinarily, my cousin the workers’ comp attorney – whom I have on retainer (unlimited use of my parents’ timeshare in Westminster, SC) for our youth football team’s legal issues – would represent him. However, my cousin (allegedly) filed an affidavit executed by someone who may or may not have been dead when they executed said affidavit. As a result, he’s been suspended and cannot appear in court for the next 60 days.

My DC decided to represent himself and waive his right to a jury trial, and it turned out to be the right move. During the State’s opening statement, my DC interposed a variety of objections that, frankly, didn’t make a whole lot of sense. He went on tangents about the hearsay rule, the “best evidence” rule, removal to federal court, and the Daubert standard for expert testimony. The judge and the attorney for the state both tried to tell him it’s not customary to object during opening statements, to no avail.  The judge also had to instruct the bailiff to confiscate my DC’s cell phone after he made a couple of phone calls during the prosecutor’s opening statement.

My DC’s opening statement was a rambling diatribe about how this entire event stemmed from the fact that he was wrongfully passed over for defensive player of the year his senior year of high school despite leading the region in tackles. The judge asked him on several occasions to stop using profanity and barking at the prosecutor.

The state opened its case by calling the guy who actually won defensive player of the year our senior year because he was an eyewitness to the crack block and events leading up to it. My DC’s cross-examination of him was really a sight to behold. He started off by asking a series of questions about their respective senior seasons, and when the witness claimed to have led the team in tackles, my DC pulled a football program out of his shirt (I mean that literally) and slammed it on witness stand. The prosecutor complained she hadn’t been given the program ahead of time. My DC responded that he was about to “impeach the bejesus” out of the witness unless the prosecutor agreed that the court could “take judicial notice” of his high school statistics. He then started reading (in truth, shouting) his statistics into the record when the judge tried to resolve the dispute.

By the time the defensive player of the year left the stand, nearly three hours had passed and it was time for lunch. My DC promised the judge that the “smoking gun” would come to light in the afternoon, when he would be “aggressively cross-examining” himself. The judge announced we would reconvene in an hour, but begged the prosecutor to “for the love of God, try and work something out with this man so we can stop this.” The prosecutor ended up just agreeing to drop the charges in exchange for my DC agreeing not to go to that country club again.

In short, justice prevailed. We can now turn our focus back to where it belongs – on continuing our youth football team’s reign of dominance.