This is a short excerpt from a book that I have been working on about a young graduate assistant college football coach in the late eighties.
“That damn sound, good lord, what is that sound?”
“Get up, honey, it's the alarm clock."
"Let me sleep."
"Time to get up, you are going to be late.”
I open my eyes and see my girlfriend, Sadie, kneeling on the bed, looking at me.
“Goddam," I say, "what time is it?”
“Its 8:45, your staff meeting starts in 15 minutes.”
“ Motherfucker! How come you didn't you wake me up?”
“ I tried," she shoots back, in her wonderful southern drawl, "but your lazy ass wouldn't get up.”
“ OK, OK,” I say, and get to my feet.
My head feels like it got run over by a tank, and my mouth tastes like a goat took a shit in it.
“I have goat shit mouth.”
“What was that?”
I brush my teeth and spend extra time on my tongue, brushing away the white film that has accumulated on it. I put on copious amounts of deodorant since I can never tell if I stink or not. Sadie tells me when I do and I’m always surprised. I pull on a pair of black polyester coaching shorts that seem just a little short to me, but that's the way everyone wears them these days. I do have some muscular legs, so the girls can see my thighs with these shorts on. I can be a little narcissistic at times.
I pull on a collared shirt that is way too small , but my asshole boss didn’t order any 2xl, so I'm stuck with this XL for the time being.
“Have you seen my keys?” I ask, while gobbling down three ibuprofen and a glass of water.
“Probably in your pants pocket.”
“Have you seen my pants?”
“They are on the floor in the living room.”
And there were my Wrangler blue jeans right in the middle of the floor of the living room, right where I must have taken them off last night. In fact, I believe that I slept right next to those jeans for most of the night and then got up at some point during the night and got in bed with Sadie. I grab my keys and wallet out of the pants, toss them back on the floor and I'm out the door. Sadie yells to me that she loves me.
“See you later, love you too.” I say, knowing that I don't really love her and I'm just saying that so later she won't ask me why I didn't tell her that I loved her too and she will make a big deal about having sex with me when I really want it because I didn't say that I love her, so it will all be a big pain in the ass, and since all I really want out of this relationship is the sex, I make sure that I tell her that I love her, too. I'm no dummy.
I make it to the football field house right at 8:57 am. I'm rushing into the meeting and on the way, I run by a mirror in the hallway and I see myself and stop. Man, I look rough. My face is all bloated and my eyes are bloodshot and damn if I don't look like I went on a bender last night. Which I did.
I walk into the conference room and find my seat at the table. All the other coaches are already there. I'm right on time, but in the college football world, on time is late. “Nice of you to join us,” says the head coach, Rankin Brooks. “Right on time, Coach,'' I say with a smile. He doesn't smile back. Fuck that motherfucker, I say to myself.
My fellow graduate assistant coach, Johnny, kicks me under the desk, just to mess with me.I mouth the words, “fuck you” to him and then look real quick at the head coach to see if he noticed. He hadn't. He was looking down at his notebook, pretending to know something about anything. “Let's go over the practice plan,” he says, and we go over the practice plan, even though we went over the practice plan in the meeting that we had after practice last night.
“ Just want to see if we need to change anything,” he says.
Everybody is silent, because they all know that this is a huge waste of time and that the head coach is trying to justify his job by having these long meetings so that he can tell the athletic director and the press that he had a two hour staff meeting today and it was so fruitful but whew it was long and that they got a lot of work done in preparation for the tough team that they have to play this week. The team that we are playing isn't very tough at all, but all head coaches have to say that about the upcoming opponent. We are pretty good, and we will kill this team if we play well, which isn't always the case. Sometimes we show up ready to play, sometimes we don't.
Also, the head coach is concerned with a couple of defensive linemen who aren't “earning their money,” which means that the players in question aren't doing enough to help us on the field to keep their scholarships. So once in a while, he will tell one of the coaches “ I want his money.” The players in question are two defensive linemen who are red shirt freshman, both with a lot of talent but just haven't been getting it done enough to break into the starting or even second team lineup. Brooks decided that he wants them both to be tested to see if one of them steps up. “ I want their money, Coach.”
He tells me this and I know what I am expected to do. He can't just take their money from them, legally. They have to give it up themselves, they have to quit. My job is to run drills designed to make one of them step up or leave. And honestly, I don't mind doing it, especially with these two. They do need to decide if they want to be part of us or to just be a regular student; content to party, study and enjoy the student experience. The drills can be brutal in the North Carolina heat. I run double team drills at both of them, full speed drills with two of my other players attempting to blow them off of the ball. And we go one play after the other with no rest. One of the players, Donny, starts to cry when he gets run over a few times in a row and he lies on the ground. “Get up, you ain't gonna make it if you don't get up,” I yell. And he does, and he's unsteady on his feet. But this time, when he gets down into his stance, he’s angry, He lets out a war whoop of some sort and fires off of the ball at the man across from him, putting both fists under his chin and knocking the player on his ass. The second player tries to block him also, but Donny picks him up and slams him on his back. Not exactly football legal, but I like the enthusiasm. "Now that's what the fuck I am talking about!”, I exclaim.