Last time on Two-A-Days, our young group of highly talented and finely coiffed Hoover Bucs had just had their asses handed to them by a team from Tuscaloosa. The last time I was in Alabama, somebody tried to explain to me why everybody from Alabama hates people from Tuscaloosa, but I wasn’t paying attention because I was still trying to figure out why the hell sweet tea was so popular. Whatever the case, the Hoover loss to Tuscaloosa Prep was nothing short of an embarrassment, and coach Pabst let them know it. While the kids might have felt like shit after such a bad loss, the most awful part about the loss was knowing that their coach was going to use that week of practice to make them feel even worse.Around the locker room, you could sense that the players knew they didn’t play well and everybody expected the next week of practice to be tough. I am sure that they were all expecting coach Propst to light into him, but all things considered, I think he handled things pretty well. I am sure he was going to work them as hard as they have ever worked, but for the most part it looked like he was not going to resort some of the things he promised to do after their last loss, like refusing to talk to any college recruiters, making it more difficult for any of them to be able to play in college. Alex mentioned that the next week was going to be a reality check for most of them to see how well they could handle the stress mentally and physically.
Would there be anybody to step up as a leader for Hoover? That’s what Coach Pabst wants to know as he pulls the team in for a meeting. He asks them to think about how they played, and if they thought they played with desire and passion to raise their hands. The first one to raise his hand was Cornelius, and coach Pabst agreed. The second one to say that he played hard was Bryan Morgan, the big offensive tackle that is just as happy belting out show tunes as he is knocking over linebackers. OK, so that’s two and, well, if you are playing a game that requires at least 11 people on the field at once, shouldn’t you have more than two people who played hard? Well, I guess now we know why Hoover was having so many problems. Propst worked the kids pretty hard, but a lot of what he needed to see from his players was not going to come out of his mouth.
The biggest problem with Hoover’s team, at least according to Pabst, is leadership. Many of the kids on the team had never experienced a loss, so they literally didn’t know what to do after a game like this. As for the ones who might remember a loss, they were able to lean on older players last time. Now they are those older players, and some of the kids are looking up to them. The coaches wonder where the leadership is going to come from, and some of the players wonder as well. Alex is playing cards with Goose and another player we haven’t met yet named Cory. Alex said that the players are better this year, but last year everybody seemed to be doing all of the right things.
To me, this sounded like good news. Alex, a senior, was going to take some responsibility, right? Well, sort of. When he started talking about leadership, he mentioned Max. Max is a good player, but he thinks that sometimes he puts his head down and quits when things get tough, although he does concede that he is under a lot of pressure. Now, if Alex is smart enough to realize there is a problem, he should be smart enough to fix it. If you see a teammate is down, you try and pick them up. Slap on the helmet, pat him on the ass, have sex with his girlfriend. You know, do whatever it takes to fire him up a little bit. Instead, Alex is kind of passing the buck off to Max, which isn’t really how most leaders do things.
One of the problems with getting kids to focus on football is that a lot of them don’t like to sacrifice other parts of their life. You want to get them to focus, but not everybody is ready to make football the only thing in their lives. And once the kids start to feel like that, they will stop having fun, and when you stop having fun, the pressure of everything else can affect your performance.
With that in mind, we step back into the life of Repete for a little while as he and his girlfriend Megan go out on a date. Although Repete is one of the star defensive players on the Hoover roster, that doesn’t mean that the social options in his hometown are going to suddenly expand. He’s forced to make do with the options that he has, which means one of several things including, Go-Karts, Putt Putt, or the always popular “buy a ticket to the most boring movie so there are fewer people in the theater staring when you make out for 90 minutes”. Repete is creative, and goes for perhaps the best option of them all: bowling!
Some people may think I may be joking about bowling, but you have to admit that it has a lot going for it. First, there is the shoes. I mean who wouldn’t want to put on shoes worn by hundreds of other people with questionable hygiene? Then there’s the DJ. Bowling alley DJs always play both kinds of music: country AND western. Finally, there’s the atmosphere. Second-hand smoke, polyester shirts, and plumber’s cracks as far as the eye can see! Does it get any better than that?
Well, for Repete, it doesn’t matter. His girlfriend, as he says himself, is a dime piece, and I would have to agree. The only problem for Repete is that he told her that he loves her, but (there’ ALWAYS a but), he is not sure if he loves her as a girlfriend, or as a person that he just likes to spend time with. In other words, he doesn’t know if he likes her of he likes her likes her. And to be honest, as long as she still fits into her jeans like she does now, he probably doesn’t care either.
Right now, Alex wishes he had some girl problems because it would mean that he had, you know, a girlfriend. He decides that he needs to do something special for her so she doesn’t decide to do something crazy and go with Goose to homecoming. Kristin is kind of worried about her boy situation, but to be honest, she, like the rest of the town, is still trying to figure out what the hell happened against Tuscaloosa prep. As she talks about the game with some of the other cheerleaders, we learn from Blair that Ross was still throwing up two days after his concussion. Even these girls can tell there is a lack of leadership, and Kristin even told Alex that he should become a leader. And Alex has reason to worry. How does he set himself apart from the hundreds of kids playing high school football in Alabama? Well, he’s the starting safety on the defending state champs. Take that away, and he’s just another meathead with a bad haircut, and Kristin can find any number of meatheads with bad haircuts that won’t participate in school projects with her competition.
So, how do we sum up the problems on Hoover? Well, the team has a slogan in their locker room. The first part is attitude, and well, Hoover has a bad attitude. The next part is desire, and the players have no desire. Another part is leadership, and there is also no leadership. Finally, there is “Sence of urgency”, which the bulletin board says there is a lack of. And no, I didn’t spell “sense” wrong. Apparently, the other thing they are lacking in the Hoover locker room is a copy editor. Maybe another thing they can put up on their bulletin board is “Attention to Detail”?
Now, while the pressure mounts, Hoover has to go in and play Vestavia, which sounds way too close to vagina for me to take them seriously. However, Alex assures us that losing to Vestavia means that you are going to hear it for the rest of your lives. Once again, it looks like Pabst has mellowed out a little bit. He doesn’t make you want to throw up when he’s through with you anymore. Instead, he’s a little smoother and almost nurturing. It’s like he has gone from Pabst Ice to Pabst Genuine Draft. He tells his team that they are still great, but they just need to play that way. He wants them to play hard and *gasp* have a good time! I still believe that the coach would rather use alternative forms of motivation, like shooting anybody who missed a tackle in their left nut and feeding the right one to his pit bull (I am not sure he has a pit bull, but looking at Pabst’s haircut makes me think he does). Unfortunately, feeding somebody’s nuts to their dog as a form of corporal punishment is not allowed, even in Alabama, so Pabst can either find other ways of motivation or start coaching in Arkansas.
It seems like the practices are going pretty well this week, but our boy Max is still having a difficult time. If there is anybody who needs a hobby, it is Max. He does seem like he’s trying, but at the same time, you watch him on the field and as the coaches talk to him, and you can feel him start to crumble under all of the pressure. Coaches get nervous when their players don’t practice well, and the Max had such a bad practice that he the defensive coordinator couldn’t stand it anymore and removed him from practice. Max was wondering if he would even get a chance to play that week.
Now, Coach Pruitt wasn’t necessarily mad at Max, but he was frustrated that Max isn’t reaching his potential. It was troubling so much that Pruitt decided to meet MAx’s stepfather Jim for dinner to talk about the problem. Dinner was at a place called Flemings, which I am guessing is the nice restaurant in town. I call it the nice restaurant, because they served all sorts of exotic foods….like asparagus. What? Asparagus isn’t exotic? I guess you’ve never talked to coach Pruitt, who had never seen asparagus until Jim had ordered some and started smothering it in cheese. I personally like my asparagus steamed, but I do sort of wish Paula Deen was there to deep fry it all after adding the proper amounts of bacon, mayonnaise, and animal lard. Anyway, Jim says that Coach Pruitt needs to challenge Max because he only gets motivated when you tell him he can’t do something or try to embarrass him.
What is this asparagus that you speak of?
So it’s been a few days since Alex came up with his master plan to win back Kristin. He bought her some flowers, and even took the time to write a note. By the way guys, if you are trying this at home, the note is key. Any asshole can buy flowers, but only somebody who really cares will take the time to write bad poetry to win you back. One last thing that Kristin received was a pack of gum. While to some, this may be a way of telling your girlfriend that you don’t like the taste of the tater tots she gets every day at lunch, it can also be seen as a sign that you want to make out. Either way, it’s cheaper than buying her a SoniCare. What we should all know is that the flowers and breath aids seemed to work. Kristin sees what Alex did and everything seems to be OK. I guess she really wasn’t that mad at him; she just wanted to make sure that she had Alex by the balls.
All of that may have been very sweet, but there was that little problem of a football game they still had to play. The kids can practice and have all the fun that they want, but if they backup quarterback doesn’t make plays, they aren’t going anywhere. It could be a month before Ross gets back, and Pabst knows that he has to probably go 3-1 or 4-0 to have a shot at the title. He doesn’t try to put too much pressure on Cornelius, the backup, but instead tries to pump him full of as much confidence as possible.
Who do you think is the grammar nazi on the squad?
On the day of the game, the team Chaplain once again gives his sermon/scouting report, but that was just the preview. Before the team went to play Vastavia prep, he got in there and talked to his boys. Ironically, he didn’t make the speech about him, instead he made the speech about each and every one of them. It will be a chance for them to redeem themselves, if another teammate falls; you have to pick them up. I have to admit, it was some pretty good stuff. It even got me pumped up to the point where I wanted to knock somebody out myself, but since the next person I was going to see was bringing me some saag aloo at my request, I decided to simply live vicariously through the Hoover players instead.
In the end, the team seemed to respond to what Pabst had to say. They played very well and pulled out a 24-6 win. Even goose managed to snag himself an interception. Coach Pabst believed that his team had finally turned the corner, and many of the kids thought a lot of the pressure would be off of them now. With Hoover playing like champions instead of chumps, the kids can now go back to what is important, like bowling and all you can eat fajitas at Chili’s.
What did you think of this episode? Will there be a QB controversy when Ross gets back? Who do you think are the leaders of the football team?