FROM SEPTEMBER 27, 2010
“Go in, Moon, but don’t shoot.” That’s not exactly what a young high school basketball player wants to hear from his coach. But that is what mine said to me that one time when I finally got into a game.
Coach. I just don’t think his heart was in the game. He was some sort of a football star – in high school or college or both. He was very big. And he was an assistant coach on our school’s football team. He knew football. I guess. He was a nice guy. I liked him. He was a bit intimidating, but I liked the guy.
And the man did have a way with words. I will never forget one time when he gave us one of the most inspirational halftime speeches I have ever heard. It was a pep talk to beat all pep talks. One night at half time, we were losing badly. We had been playing badly against a team we should have easily beaten. Coach set us straight in the locker room at halftime. His talk put Knute Rockne’s best to shame. It wasn’t a sappy “Win one for the Gipper” kind of stale old speech. Coach’s inspirational words would have made Pat O’Brien’s character proud.
This talk was so memorable and monumental and important and effective, I will try to recall, word for word, the special message my awe struck teammates and I heard that night. Okay. Here goes.
“It’s like you got a wuuman. She layin’ right daya in frun ah ya. An you ain’t gettin’ nary a bit of it. Not nary a bit!”
I think we lost the game by 30. It seems none of us could get the image of that “wuuman” out of our minds.