A special delivery for football coaches in need of a pep talk

A special delivery for football coaches in need of a pep talk
From the Bears of Chicago to the Bears of Watts (shown above), it's the time of year to get fired up for some football. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The all-purpose training camp speech, for football coaches from preps to pros. It should be delivered psychotically, like Lombardi would. Or like a liquored-up Baptist preacher trying to save his mortal soul:



First of all, you're welcome for what we coaches do for you. Which is everything. Now let's move on.

Right now you're probably wondering to yourselves: "Do I have what it takes to make this team?"

Well, I think you do, or you wouldn't be in this locker room. Sure, a few of you are disappointments ... total zeros. Others will reveal yourselves as disappointments in the coming weeks. But I assure the rest of you — maybe five or so — that you have exactly what it takes to make this very competitive team.

And right now, others of you are probably thinking: "I wonder how my new girlfriend's doing, she's so hot." Or, "When's lunch, Coach? I could eat your house."

If that's what you're thinking, I'll address that right now:


There, I said it. It's done. I don't want to ever have to say it again. Now let's move on.

By now, most of you returning players know how I roll. I prefer up-tempo, high-energy practices. Me, I also like a lot of bloodshed. As you know, that didn't play well with a lot of the alumni and media types. So, regrettably, we won't be doing that any longer.

(Pause while players groan in disappointment.)

Our practices will also feature ear-splitting levels of popular music, most of it aimed at young men your age, meaning it's very bad and often in remarkably poor taste. I don't care. I'm a coach. I don't even have ears. And when I speak, you listen. You can expect the platitudes of Plato and the wisdom of Ditka.

Are there any questions so far? (Do NOT pause here for any questions.)

Good, let's move on.

As you know, every team has a specific set of rules. Here are some of the do's and don'ts that you should be aware of:

Rule 1: Unless you're a lineman, stay away from Dunkin' Donuts and Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. If you are a lineman, those places will, of course, be mandatory.


Rule 2: Avoid bookies, agents, alumni, sportswriters and groupies named Candy, Brandy or Dakota.

Rule 3: There is no "i" in team. But there is a "me" in team. If you want to be a loser, join "the me club."

Rule 4: Stay off Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, MeTube, and whatever social media platform that will debut later this afternoon.

Rule 5: Unless you are five minutes early, you are five minutes late. Unless you are legally dead, don't be late. If you are legally dead, you can be late ONCE — but only by five minutes. And I want a written excuse from the coroner.

Men, there are some things that defy human explanation: UFOs. Antimatter. Cheese-less pizza. Amy Poehler's career. And, most of all, the vagaries of a championship season.

As you know, I am all about championship seasons.

(At this point, your voice should begin to rise, and your eyes to bulge, as if you are trying to rid your larynx of a wad of flank steak.)

As they say, no one ever fell on top of a mountain; they had to climb it.

I ask you now: Are you willing to climb the mountain?

(Pause for a resounding "YES, COACH!")

Will you climb that mountain with me?

(Pause for another resounding "YES, COACH!")

I can't hear you!

(Pause for "YES COACH!!!")

If, when we reach the top of the mountain, we discover that there is yet another mountain on top of it, will you climb that one with me too?

(Pause as the young men consider the low probability of this, then answer "YES COACH!").

Then, gentlemen, we are good to go: In the immortal words of the great Marvin Gaye, "LET'S GET IT ON!"

(Legal notice: This speech will not be 100% effective for some teams. And mountains can be very cold and dangerous places.)

Twitter: @erskinetimes