Kicking Off Another Season At The Ol' U of Credit Union
The scene: the University of Credit Union's football team's locker room prior to the 2008 season opener. The locker room is nearly 100 years old, and although it's had extensive renovations over the years, if you look hard enough you can see vestiges of its history. The team huddles up around Head Coach Alfonse Co-op, who has his leg up on a bench, and he leans over with his arms on his leg is a pose he had once seen in a photo by legendary Coach Ed "Working Man" Filene.
Female player: Clears throat
Coach:...and women, of course. I don't need to tell you what's out there, the challenges ahead. You've worked hard all summer, heck, all your lives, to get here. You've weathered some storms-you guys on the Gulf Coast, it seems like that's all you do (the coach doesn't notice the players from the Gulf Coast had to leave to go prepare for Fay, and then Gustav, and then Hanna, and then Ike and then...)-you've lived through convention center food, gotten burned with some bad brandings, survived some awful speakers at the chapter meeting, endured PowerPoints, and I don't even need to mention some of those exams by regulators...
Players: Groans all around as the team recalls those 5300 drills
Coach...well, if you can survive those...
An assistant coach steps forward.
Coach: What is it? The injury report?
Assistant: Yeah. I'm afraid not everyone has survived. We've lost some of our biggest players since last year. Norlarco. Sterlent. Huron Community. Cal State...
Coach: Ol' number 9?
Assistant: That's the one. And it's all due to Roids!
Assistant: Even worse, hemorroides. Many of their balance sheets have turned into real pains in the butt.
At the news, the head coach stands up tall in front of his players.
Coach: Listen, we've all got aches and pains in all parts of our bodies, for many of us especially in our ARMs. But the team doctor tells me we have a CURIA for that. And with these injuries, it just shows you how important your reserves are-I know some of the reserves have gotten a little thinner over the summer, but we're going to work to bulk you back up. But what we need now is to set all that aside and get focused-focused on what? Does anyone here know?
Defensive lineman: Our PACs?
Coach: Did you hear the cheerleaders yelling 'Two bits, four bits' and you got your head stuck in the coin counter again? No, not the PAC. Focused on growth! And that growth begins today with our first game against the Lethargics of Apathetic State. As always, their fans won't be showing up, so we must put real emphasis on why they should care and line up behind the University of Credit Union.
The first cheers erupt in the room.
Coach: If we're going to win the State League championship we can't stop with just the fight against Apathetic State! Our entire schedule is tough. Two weeks from now we've got the Fighting Photons of Online University-a lot of our old UCU fans have switched over, so we've got to win them back. Who else is on the schedule?
Assistant Coach: I've been scouting all of our opponents. A month from now we've got the Payday Lenders from the School of Hard Knocks. You all remember last year's game, don't you? A bunch of you left there half-naked and with them owning most of your equipment; it's taken the better part of a year to get the cleats back on your feet. So don't anybody sign anything this year, and be prepared to help out anyone whom they have tackled. And right after that get ready, because we've got the Mad Hornets of Community Bank College on the schedule again. Not sure what they're so mad about, but they're always mad about something, always complaining to the referees about the playing field not being level or...
Coach: And we wrap up the season as always with the Fighting Moneybags of Big Bank U. Now you've probably read that their preseason games have been subprime and they've got a lot of self-inflicted injuries this year, but don't let that fool ya. Their mahogany bench is deep and they are probably better than anyone at deception plays.
Assistant Coach: Coach is right, but for right now let's get our attention on Apathetic State. If we can't beat Apathetic State then by golly we can't beat anyone. Offensive players, you know what do to: stress fundamentals, tell your story, show the fans why they're better off with our team. Defensive players, you've all read the suspicious activity reports, so you know what to watch out for. Let's stick with our game plan.
Coach: And remember, today's game is being broadcast for load downs as pea pods...
Assistant: Um, that's downloads for podcasts...
Coach: ...whatever, I just know we're trying to get them younger folk to follow our team.
Team captain: All right, you heard the coach. Let's everyone take a knee for the team prayer.
Coach: And don't anyone forget-if we stick to what we do best this season, nobody else has a prayer.
Frank J. Diekmann can be reached at fdiekmann