The Worst Pep Talk of All Time

Dear teacher for whom I substituted for one hour,

While you were out, I overanalyzed your décor.

framed crap

This nugget of wisdom was framed on the desk of a coach. Part of my critique is due to the fact that I occasionally channel my best friend, Rosie the Fucking Riveter. I don’t appreciate gender stereotypes (regardless of how often I bait Gail with them) and that includes the idea that it’s only sexism if it’s aimed at women. Unfairness is unfairness. An equal part of this analysis, however, is that I grew up in the Midwest, where the only acceptable excuse for missing a football game is church. Wait. Maybe the only acceptable excuse for missing church is a football game. I forget. I wasn’t a real joiner in high school.

I enjoy football, particularly when played by my alma mater. I have bling dedicated to my team and my guest bathroom is all decked out in their logo. The other one is just pink as fuck, because girls can like football and pink. I think it builds sportsmanship and teaches the value of teammwork to put your kids in sports… if they want to be there. I also think it builds confidence… if they don’t suck. I believe in first, second, and third place with receding awards for each. I actually adore the fact that my step-brothers used to take their participation trophies and ceremoniously smash them.

Despite all of that, I don’t believe in forcing your kids to play a game they don’t want to play or in bullying them when they lose. Sometimes, you play your very best and the other team still wins. In that case, be proud of your best. I hope you still managed to have a good time. It’s not a wasted day/season/high school career if you didn’t bring home the biggest trophy. You got some exercise (unlike all of the other kids at school), made some friends, and had fun. Way to go. Just like in real life, it’s likely someone else will always have more. That doesn’t negate the value of what you have, though.

– Spoiler Alert**** A penis. –

Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.
– “Winning is a habit… so is losing” is actually great advice. Too bad it’s preceeded by such verbal diarrhea. Newsflash: winning is a sometime thing, especially in sports. You’re only one part of a team and sometimes your kicker’s dog just died or your fullback has a migraine. Sometimes bad calls are made or your quarterback gets hurt. Even if you defy all the odds ever and bring your A-game every time, there are still other people involved and you cannot control that. By definition, teamwork means you don’t get to be an asshole for it, either.  –

There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.
– I’m gonna interrupt with a little anecdote of my own here. I adore my daddy and have said as much, but when I was in grade school, he used to look at my report card and tell me to get that 93% up before it dipped down to a B. No fucking joke. I throw this in his face every time he tells me I’m being ridiculous for crying over a 98.5%. The thing is, when I get upset because I’m 1.5% shy of perfect, I’m the only one suffering (the people who have to listen to me whine about this don’t count). When your team gets to a freaking bowl game and you go in all “Whatev, man. My grandma’s knitting bee was more exciting than this” you sound like a bag of dicks, because knitting is hard. Maybe you feel like you didn’t work hard enough, but all your buddies are at a bowl game and they’re totally allowed to be proud of that.

Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up – from the soles of his feet right up to his head.
– Yes, it does say “ply”. As we’re about to learn, winning intellectually is secondary to winning physically. –

Every inch of him has to play.
– Particularly the penis. Just wait for it. –

Some guys play with their heads. That’s O.K. you’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.
– You hear that? It’s “okay” to be smart. It’s not so much encouraged, but it is allowed if you love and excell at football. Also “never going to come off the field second”? Until he does… because everybody loses sometimes. In that case, is he stupid or does he just not care? –

Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.

cradling football soldier holding kid
They’re the same, you see.

It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.
– Theeeeere it is. The reality of life is that men, specifically, are competitive. This is not the human condition, but the penile condition. Men strong. Men fierce. Golly. No wonder they rule business and the home. Silly ol’ me. I thought that competition was just a drive in some people and that I could hope for success in my career one day. I’m glad I had some testosterone to set me straight. Don’t worry. I am, indeed, typing this from the kitchen. –

And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline.
– If no part of him is competitive… if he’s content where he is in life and doesn’t want to move up to the top, despite the expectation in our society that he should always want more… if he has fun during the football game, regardless of the loss… then he’s no man at all. He’s not “worth his salt”. He’s just a big ol’ walking vagina.

There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.

football player runningsoldier running

I don’t say these things because I believe in the “brute” nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative.
– Yeah. I’m not convinced. This is like ending a sentence with “no offense.” It doesn’t undo everything he just said. –

I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.
– Did you catch that? He’s saying that men are supposed to love competition… and that any kind of competition, be it football, drag racing, grabbing the last banana before your coworker gets it, is akin to battle. I just want to make sure you’re pickin’ up what he’s puttin’ down here. –

female football player

man knitting

female soldier

man in apron
Total mindfuck.