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Monday, February 25, 2013

That Guy

Chances are that if you took the time to log on to a sports blog, you have your fair share of sports discussions. Perhaps you listen to sports talk radio. If you like sports, watch sports, talk about sports and listen to others discuss sports, chances are you have heard several inevitable clichés that come up during sports discussions.

We've discussed different sports discussion guys in the past. Today, we are going to discuss the different kind of sports cliché guys who arise during sports discussions. Typically, this is a guy who thinks he knows more than he does. Whether it is at the water cooler, the local watering hole, or on the radio, you can count on eventually hearing some of the following guys spouting these clichés.

I could tell you half of the things that one of them will say without being able to hear them. 2

This guy cracks me up. This is the sports fan who thinks that by the head coach yelling and screaming, foaming at the mouth, and cracking the whip, the team will magically and miraculously improve, win more games, and/or score more points in the second half of a game in which the team is trailing.

This is all but certainly someone who never played organized sports at the high school level or above. The solution to his team’s woes aren’t rooted in training, preparation, scheme, personnel, injuries, matchups, or offsetting external factors like travel fatigue or home field advantage. Nope. The coach just needs to knock over the water cooler, put his foot through the chalkboard, curse like a sailor, and THEN his team will get the message and respond.

All coaches at the major college or professional level got as far as they got because of their general personality. They aren’t changing. They may adjust their approach to their players, do a little more of this and a little less of that, but the general coaching philosophy isn’t changing. The yellers and screamers, former NFL coach Mike Ditka, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban, and University of South Carolina Men’s Basketball Head Coach Frank Martin come to mind, are wired to yell and scream. They will yell and scream when they are up 21 points near the end of the game but a player ignored a command. It is who they are.

Much like the yellers and screamers aren’t changing, neither are the “laid back” guys who do not blow their stacks. Losing one’s cool is simply not in the DNA of the cool, calm, and collected coach. It cannot and will not work for them. Their players know their assignments and know the consequences for failure equally well and the screamer’s players. While the Type A coach may be more entertaining for us to observe during his antics, it doesn’t make him more effective. For examples, see Tony Dungy, Dick Vermeil, Mike Tomlin, Les Miles, and Mike Krzyzewski.

I'm at my best at work with some asshole bellowing in my ear, too. 1

Athletes are known for their off the field activities as well as their on-field actions. While there are countless anonymous acts of community service and charity by athletes, the acts of a handful of miscreants such as arrests and anti-social behavior in the locker room tend to produce the most sensational and attention grabbing headlines.

Inevitably, someone will bring up in the conversation a point to the effect of, “If I did that at my job, I would get fired,” or “If I spoke to my boss like that, I’d get demoted.” This completely cliché and unoriginal insight also has the disadvantage to the speaker of being completely irrelevant. Assuming we are discussing professional athletes, this just in, the “if I did that at my job” guy can be replaced in a week or two, perhaps a day or two if that guy is a laborer.

Those talented enough to be pro athletes make up a very tiny percentage of the population. They don’t grow on trees. Most starters are not immediately replaceable and most replacements for reserve/backup players are a step down from the incumbent. In games that are decided by inches with intense public pressure to win, unnecessary personnel turnover is costly and undesirable.

So remember, your services at Jiffy Lube can be replaced by anyone with a pulse. Your crap is not worth the trouble of tolerating. A wide receiver who runs a 4.3 forty is hard to find and most coaches will tolerate just about anything but hard time if the productivity at “the office” is good enough.

If they toss this guy out of the door, it won't cost them a second round draft pick. 3

This guy is in a similar vein as “If I Did That at My Job,” guy. This is the guy who believes that, because athletes are paid much more money in a season than he might see in ten years, athletes shouldn’t speak or think and just function as zombies or robots on command.

Mind you, this is probably the same guy who complains about something in the break room or his lack of a parking space with regularity. This is the guy who probably mumbles under his breath when he’s asked to lift an extra bag of soil at the Wal-Mart at which he works. But, suddenly this guy would clean the bathroom for the customers with a smile if there were a few more zeroes in his paycheck?

You wouldn't do whatever if they paid you that much, because you CAN'T DO ANYTHING that someone would pay you that much to do. Kobe Bryant could tell his (former) coach, Mike Brown, to kiss his ass because he is Kobe freaking Bryant, future Hall of Famer. They pay him that much because he’s worth that much. And in the end, Bryant effectively fired Brown, not the other way around, and rattled off an “Amnesty THAT” blast at another league owner. I don't think Kobe is worried about being in trouble for smarting off to the boss man for another team in the league. 

Contrary to what "that guy" might think, with the work ethic it takes to become a star athlete, I think Dwight Howard would make a better shoe salesman than 'that guy" would make an NBA Center. 4

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