Inside A #16 Seed’s Locker Room

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Nice Move

greatdane

“Thanks for the interview! Good luck out there coach!”

A young, cheery reporter leaves the locker room with her cameraman. Only Tommy Arlens, the white, baby-faced senior point guard saw the coach slip the reporter a fifty. He recognized her from his 100-level journalism class where he was pulling a strong C+. He calls the coach over to his locker.

“Coach, did you just pay that girl fifty dollars to come interview us?”

The coach, a 57-year old alumnus of Southwestern New York State College, the team he now coaches, reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a flask.

“Yeah I paid her fifty dollars, and all I got was the interview. Got a hard no when I asked for a blow job. Bet Rick Pitino doesn’t have to deal with this shit. Have a drink, kid.”

“C-Coach?”

“Ever seen Space Jam Tommy? This stuff is like that magic water those cartoons drank. It’ll make you play better.”

Tommy grabs the flask and takes a pull. The liquid hits his tongue and for a second he can’t see anything, but he manages to get it down.

“Oh my gosh! What the hell is that stuff? Battery acid?” he says, sputtering.

“Now listen close son, because I’m only going to say this once. We’re a 16 seed. Fuck, we had to play a play-in game for Christ’s sake.”

The coach stops to take a long pull from his flask, swishes the the five dollar whiskey around in his mouth, and then deliberately swallows.

“You’ve been a good player for me for four years, Tommy. Remember when you drained that three in the final seconds to beat our rivals?”

“Sure do coach! Best moment of my life.”

“This game isn’t going to be like that. Vegas has us losing by over 40 points, we have zero chance in the world of winning this game. Their point guard is going to be the number one pick in the NBA draft, their center is seven inches taller than Jeremy over there, and, frankly, their coach is actually a coach. I’m a fucking sports psychology professor. I played tennis for two years. In high school.”

Tommy sobs and runs to the bathroom.

“Everyone bring it in,” the coach barks as he tries to take another pull from his flask. He finds it empty.

“Coach, are you drinking?” asks Tyrone Ashley, the team’s sophomore shooting guard.

“Well, Tyrone, I was drinking. Guess I ran out though. I’m just trying to take the edge off my nerves.”

The coach walks over to the white board, grabs a marker, and draws.

“Can anyone tell me what this is?”

There is an uneasy silence in the room until Jeremy Wieczorkowski, the center, sheepishly stands up.

“It’s a dick, coach?”

“Spot on Jeremy. It’s a dick. I just drew a dick on this whiteboard, because that’s what we are. We’re dicked. We’re going to go out there, play our game, and we are going to take it right up the ass.”

Tommy bursts from the bathroom, “But coach! It’s March Madness, everyone has a shot, because anything can happen!”

“Normally, you would be right. If this were Hollywood, we would be the plucky underdog team that rises above adversity to win the championship. You yourself would be Rudy, because honestly, you are the least physically impressive basketball player I’ve ever seen. You’re 5’7’’ and you weigh 145 pounds. You set an NCAA record for the amount of times you’ve been blocked. Here’s a reality check: we are out of this tournament. We will not win this game…”

All of the players hang their heads low, as the realization that had been nagging at the corner of their mind finally comes front and center.

“…But,” the coach continues, “we made it here. We made it to the big time. We will be playing on on national television, so soak it in. Play fucking streetball, I don’t care, just bask in it for the 40 minutes that we will be on that court. Then tonight, after our loss, we are going to party. We are going to fuck the other team’s cheerleaders, we are going to get blackout drunk, and hopefully some of us are going to get arrested. I’ve already talked to my wife, and she is prepared to bail our whole team out of jail if need be. It’s going to be coke, strippers, loud music, and bad decisions for the rest of the weekend. On me. It’s all against NCAA regulations, of course, but thankfully they don’t pay attention to shitstick nobodies like us.”

“Coach, that’s not right!” protests Tommy.

“SHUT THE FUCK UP,” the coach screams as he rips off his own shoe and whips it at his player’s head. “All of you will go out there, and I can guarantee you that one of two things will happen. One, they immediately go up by 12 to 15 points and we never get within nine and wind up losing by 30, or two, we stick with them for eight minutes and then they break away from us. In no situation do we win. So I’m telling you right now, it’s futile. The one thing that we can do is make the most of it. So I ask all of you, who’s with me?”

“Shit, this is why I came to college in the first place. I’m in,” says Tyrone.

“Hell yeah! I’m gonna fuck the other team’s cheerleaders!” says Jeremy.

“Coach, if we get arrested, will it impact my future career as a gym teacher?” asks Tommy.

“Son, the fact that you are trying to be a gym teacher is impacting your future career as a gym teacher. This is your one shot to have the spotlight and then completely abuse that power. This is what college is meant to be. Tommy, can I trust you to give it your all?”

“Drinks are on you right coach?”

“Yes, Tommy, the drinks are on me.”

“And the drugs?”

“And the drugs.”

“I’ll do it.”

The team cheers and a mashup of “Casey Jones” and “Turn Down For What” starts playing. The #16 seed loses 82-58, six players are arrested for starting fights in the bars after the game, and little Tommy Arlens is stabbed to death in an alley by a prostitute.

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