Monday, January 03, 2011

Remember Why They’re Out There

       Steve Spurrier, while  football coach at Florida, telling  
        Gator fans that a fire at Auburn's football dorm had
        destroyed 20 books.  "But the real tragedy was that 15
        hadn't been colored in yet."

Reporter #1:   “Ozzie, you said that poor conditioning was a factor in your decision to make a coaching change.”
AD: “That’s a good question, Greg.  Well, not a question, just a restatement of my statement, but it’s a good one.”
Reporter #1: “And your answer to your statement?”
AD:  “Oh, yeah.  I firmly believe that players representing our great university ought to have the stamina to remain awake and upright for the full two hours of commercial breaks during a football game.”
 Reporter #1: “Are you saying that your team isn’t prepared to stand around for four quarters?”
AD: “Our players haven’t been adequately conditioned to spend endless minutes doing nothing.   Opponents have consistently outstood us in the second half.  By the fourth quarter, our guys’ legs are gone.”
Reporter #2: “What do you base that on, Ozzie?”
AD: “Come on, Mickey, you’ve seen it yourself.  We have players tweeting, other players checking their iPhones and Blackberries for messages, guys posting on Facebook, some guys listening to hip hop with their headphones.  But at least those guys are awake.  After we kicked a field goal in last night’s game, seven members of our kickoff team lay down on the turf during the five-minute commercial break, and three had to be awakened, including our kicker.  Imagine how embarrassing that was on national TV.” 
Reporter #2: “More embarrassing than the score?”
AD: “No question, Mickey.  These guys have to remember why they’re out there.”
Reporter #3: “To play the game?”
AD: “Come on, Jack.  Your average game broadcast is three-and-a-half-hours long, for a game that takes 60 minutes to play.  Commercials have a two-to-one edge in screen time over game action.  You tell me which is more important.”
Reporter #2: “Help me out here, Ozzie.  Are you embarrassed that the game has become nothing more than a vehicle for commercials, or what?”
AD: “What. Our conference has a new 15-year $2.25 billion contract with the network, and our school’s cut will be roughly $17 million per year.  Our guys are out there to attract viewers for commercials.  What kind of statement does it make when they doze off during the fourteenth run of an ad for Sprint?”
Reporter #4: “But there’s no financial incentive for the players in that arrangement.”
AD: “We think our quarterback and tailback are compensated as well as any players in the country.  That’s off the record, of course; officially, they play for pride.”
Reporter #3: “Your new hire, Coach Hooker, has a reputation as a no-nonsense guy.  Do you think he can turn this team around?”
AD: “They don’t have to be turned around, Jack.  They just have to stand there.  But Coach Hooker is an innovator.  His teams have been at the top of the ‘standings’ everywhere he’s been.”
Reporter #4: “How does he do it, Ozzie?  Has he developed some special drills or exercises?”
AD: “Coach Hooker is an ‘opportunist‘ in the best sense of the word, Mike, if there is a best sense.  He takes his guys to the Post Office to mail packages.  Has them  wait to checkout at Sam’s Club.  Get in line at the Social Security office.  Try to change a course during registration each term.  Check on their scholarship at the Financial Aid office.  At the end of six weeks of these drills, his guys stand as if their shoes were glued to the turf, their eyes vacant, their minds going nowhere.”
Reporter #!: “So they’ll be prepared for life after football, if they don’t make it to the NFL?”
AD: “No doubt about it.  Our guys will be ready for the unemployment line.”
© Tony Russell, 2010

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