copyright © 2002 Michael Rothschild

"Separate The Man From His Head"

by Michael Rothschild

Lights up.

COACH, a bellicose figure of unimportant age in a Tom Landry-esque hat is on stage. He BLOWS a whistle, then starts talking.

Hustle up, ladies! Let’s go. Take a knee and take a listen. I’m not happy with what I saw on the football field today. I saw weak-ass hitting, people! And weak-ass hitting is not tolerated on this football team. When you hit a man, HIT him! Let the bastard know you hit him! How do you do that? By HITTING the bastard! You drop him like a wet sack of crap and he knows he got dropped! Lower your shoulder and lower the boom! BOOM!

Now I know, they’re restricting what kind of hits you can lay down. Helmet-to-helmet hitting? That’s out! Launching off from three yards out to drop your man? That’s out! And cutting out the quarterback’s knee from behind when he can’t see you? You might as well cut yourself a check to the United Way right now, cuz that’s a fine.

But nothing in the rules says that when you put a man on his ass that he has to get up. That’s right, ladies. I want you to go out there and kill! Don’t just hurt him, end him! I want to see corpses out there! I want the field to look Omaha Beach when we’re through! I want broken ribs, shredded tendons, punctured spleens. Defense, you don’t just separate the man from the ball, you separate the man from his HEAD! In fact, I’ll make you all a deal. First man who brings me the head of the enemy quarterback gets a twenty dollar gift certificate to Applebees. That’s a plate full of riblets, ladies. Plate full of riblets.

And don’t TELL me it can’t be done! Don’t you even TELL me that! Because it CAN be done. In the old days, when men were men and women didn’t report from the sidelines, it was all legal. Brass knuckles, spiked shoes, trench knives! And killing the man opposite you wasn’t discouraged, it was required! Why, Bronco Nagurski once killed 363 men in a single season. He once hit a fella so hard he killed him, re-animated him and killed him again! So don’t tell me it can’t be done, because we will do it!

Pause. Coach nods his head with approval at his own words.

When I took this job they told me I couldn’t coach the way I used to. That you boys aren’t ready to play the kind of ball I need you to play. They told me, (in namby-pamby voice) "but Coach, its only pee-wee football! They just want to have fun!" I don’t give a crap about that crap. You may only be eight years old, but you still got a pair, right? Are you here to have fun and drink juice boxes, or are you here to kill, destroy and win? Do you want to be eight year old boys, or bad-ass mothers in eight year old bodies?

Pause. Coach looks disgustedly at one of his charges.

Dawson, are you crying? You’re pathetic, you know that? Get the hell out of here, go! Yeah, you can tell your daddy! You can tell him to stick it up his ass!

Pause. Deep breath.

I know it’s tough. You just want to have fun, you don’t want to kill anyone. There ain’t much power in those little bodies. Most of you can’t bench your weight. Hell, half of you can’t tie your own shoes. But hitting ain’t about muscle. It’s about how bad you want it. How bad do you want to put your man on a stretcher? And this ain’t just about football. It’s about the men you boys will become. The habits you start here will carry through the rest of your life. Do you want to start on the right path, or on the path to smokin’ dope and being a mime? You kill a man today, you save your life tomorrow. Nobody who ever played football become an actor. ‘Cept that fella’ on "Webster". But I digress.

Now let’s throw ‘em up for Jesus.

He crosses himself.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Bless these boys, though they be weak and feeble. God bless our great nation. Give us the strength to grind our opponent’s bones into paste and score many touchdowns. May our sharpened cleats and thumbs to the eyes find their mark straight and true. And may we leave no opposing player un-hurt, or supportive parent crying. May the referees supplied to us by the Pee-Wee Football Association be open to the bribes and gifts they will receive. In thy name we pray, amen.

OK boys, let’s hit the shower. Let’s go, hustle it up.


God damn, I love football.

Lights out.


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