(I wrote this a couple years ago)
I recently came across The Long Shot podcast and I really enjoy it. I like both the mixture of people and mixture of comedy with talking about their real lives. The podcast features comedians Eddie Pepitone (Eddie has since left the show), Sean Conroy, Amber Kenny and Jamie Flam. I like that Eddie Pepitone and Sean Conroy have been doing comedy longer and probably have a better idea of who they are then newer comedians Jamie Flam and Amber Kenny. It makes for good diversity in how the comedic conversation is presented, but also it’s just nice to have more relatable people like Jamie and Amber who are more closer to the beginning stages of figuring out who they are as comedians as opposed to listening to a podcast containing a bunch of well established comedians – and I’m not putting down Jamie and Amber as comedians, no matter what field a person is in it takes a while to establish a comfortable persona, and even once that happens I think people trying to better their self will continually be looking for ways to grow.
On the episode I used to first introduce myself to The Long Shot podcast they had on Greg Fitzsimmons, who I’m well acquainted with from hearing him back on the Adam Carolla morning radio show, then Adam Carolla podcast, and now on Fitzsimmons own podcast. Unfortunately this isn’t a great starter episode for the podcast because Eddie Pepitone, who I think it’s fair to say usually plays the most vocal – or at least loud – part in the podcast, wasn’t on this episode (which now makes it a great starter episode), but nonetheless it has been one of my favorite episodes after listening to about 15 episodes of their back catalogue so far.
They talked about their greatest sports moments, and it was hilarious. They all had very comedic ones. Even in the one that was a true game winning moment it was comical. For me the best part was hearing Jamie Flam talk about his best moments in high school football. I couldn’t stop laughing hearing how everyone was responding to his best moments. And the moment I’m going to talk about as my greatest sports moment is pretty relatable.
I have a lot of great sports moments to choose from, most notably the time I actually got to play in the game. Actually I did get a reasonable amount of playing time. I wasn’t a great athlete at all, I’m only about five foot six and height helps a lot in the two sports I played, basketball and football, and probably if I went to a bigger high school – by that I mean number wise, but I guess person size wise would also work – I would have been one of the perpetual on the bench and only goes in during blow outs guys, and this isn’t me being self deprecating, this is the truth. I know a lot of times I’ll say negative things about my looks and girls will be like, “No, you’re wrong you don’t look bad at all, in fact you’re amazingly sexy and turn me on so much to a point that I can never be attracted to any guy other than you ever again because they just can’t live up to you, and just thinking about you gives me massive multiple orgasms,” (wow, I think that’s a bit much) but seriously, I wasn’t great at sports, but I went to a smaller school and was able to get some playing time.
Despite me actually getting some playing time, and even having a varsity football game where I returned an interception for a touchdown, my greatest sports moment comes off the field. It actually comes on a basketball court, but oddly it had nothing to do with basketball.
It was just before we were about to have football practice in the gym because we were sissies sometimes and didn’t like practicing outside in the pouring rain, and a lot of people were goofing off, which was a semi regular thing for us, and probably many high school teams, that’s just the nature of teens, but had we not goofed off quite so much – and to be fair we did work hard a lot of the time, just not as much as we should have – we possibly could have went 6 and 3 (six wins, three losses) instead of 4 and 5 – we were six points away from 6 and 3 and making the playoffs and we loss two games by two points each.
So we were goofing off, but I wasn’t really. I was just kind of talking to a couple people waiting for the coaches to come up. Not because I’m against goofing off, but because I would look ridiculous goofing off and God forbid a high schooler not give a damn about their appearance. So one of the coaches comes up, Coach Scott, a short black man who I believe grew up in Alabama and was now in his 60s or something but had not an ounce of body fat on him, pure muscle, the kind of muscle you only get by working out intensely every day even though you’re 60 and should be in your pajamas watching Jeopardy – that’s what I imagine I’ll be doing at 60.
In the head of then 18 year old Quentin – and I was technically an 18 year old man but in every way other than literal age I was a boy – I knew Coach Scott hated my guts. I had to work with Coach Scott on a regular basis because he was the Running Backs coach. I wanted to be a Wide Receiver but as mentioned I was too short, so I was stuck practicing for a position others wish they could be because Running Backs get the ball a lot. I did very poorly during the Running Back drills which often led to Coach Scott yelling at me, often befuddled at how someone could be so inept as me. Coach Scott didn’t have much tolerance for non-perfection – and I know grammatically that sounds horrible, but it’s the only way coming to my head of how to say it at the moment, plus I like my grammar being not so well – which is why when Coach Scott was the first one up and saw us goofing off he didn’t take it lightly.
He started yelling furiously at us. We had to all get in a line up against the wall as he metaphorically raped our psyche’s with his words. I don’t remember all that he said, I just remember it was very unpleasant, and it was the most we had ever been yelled at by a coach, and we had our share of times being yelled at, but it was never like this. It was painful. It was scary. But then he mentioned Blue.
Before I go on let me explain who Blue is. Blue is me. It was my nickname for the high school football team because I wore blue a lot. It’s as simple as that. I’m surprised how much it caught on. Still to this day a lot of the people I know from the team only call me Blue. Coach Scott, who I’m still not sure knows my name, always called me Blue, and even when meeting my mom called her Mrs. Blue, which is actually kind of weird.
Coach Scott called Blue – me – out, but not for being the piece of shit football player that I was, but instead for being a hard worker and never complaining, which was somewhat true. I never complained even though I often had to do things I wasn’t comfortable with, and that’s just what happens when you’re not that important to the team. You, i.e. me non-important guy, have to do all the menial stuff, like play on the defensive line – a position for some of the biggest players on the team – when there aren’t enough big people and the first team offense is practicing their plays. I don’t think I was necessarily a hard worker though. I still wish I would have worked harder, pretty much in all phases of high school.
But in this moment Coach Scott, a coach who I thought hated my guts, was yelling at the team, and then praising me as an example of a hard worker and saying more of the team should be like me, someone who didn’t care about the glory but just wanted to do the little things – by the way, I would constantly day dream about scoring the game winning touchdown, but I knew being who I was, a crappy player, I would never even come close to getting to that moment if I didn’t work hard and do the little things, and again, I didn’t work as hard as I should have, but I did do the little things that were asked of me.
I probably can’t convey how much that moment of him being so angry and using me as an example of a hard worker meant to me – and I know that makes me a bad writer and ironically if I was actually a hard worker I’d be a better writer and do a better job of conveying it – but in that moment him saying that almost brought tears to my eyes, and just writing about it now and thinking about it almost brings tears to my eyes. I was just so surprised that he felt that way.
After he was done yelling at us and bizarrely praising me my friend Tim came up to me to ask me what I thought about Coach Scott using me as a positive example. I remember just being shocked. I felt a little guilty because I was nowhere near the best player on the team, and probably nowhere near the hardest worker on the team. It’s kind of an awkward position to be in because I didn’t want to be the guy hated by everyone else because I was being falsely praised, but on the inside it felt really good – turns out no one hated me because they’d take actually having talent over being praised for work ethic.
At the end of the season I won the award for hardest worker person or whatever on the team or something – I forget the official title. I never got the trophy because I missed the trophy presentation. It doesn’t matter. Knowing I won it means enough. And I’m certain the only reason I won it was because of Coach Scott, a coach that I was absolutely sure hated me.
So even though I did return an interception 35 yards for a touchdown, my greatest sports moment was realizing I had the respect from someone who I thought couldn’t stand me.
But again, I did return an interception for a touchdown. Just saying.