“A thousand tickets? I’ll buy them and give them away. We can’t sell out with all the games we’ve won?”If I were a carpenter and you were a lady, then we'd likely not be speaking like this. But here we both are, so let's cut to the chase.
--Alabama head football coach Nick Saban
I've never been good at the whole "teaching lessons" thing, mainly, I think, because I associate it with having, on some level, a predictive understanding of human nature. And, to be blunt here, I have no idea what motivates you, why you (and by "you" I mean not necessarily you but "you," you know?) behave the way you do, why you say those things, why you dress that way, why you eat this and turn your nose to that, why you look at me that way when I say, I think, something we were both thinking.
Of course, you weren't thinking that. I have no clue what you were thinking. Nor do I know, at least, in a useful fashion, why you aren't thinking what I thought you were.
Jesus, I'm headed in circles here. Let's try again.
As to motivation, I am, as said above, clueless. Rather, I'm bogged down with a tar pit of worst-case-scenario empathy.
I'll cut you slack, brother. No problem.
After all, the most I can figure out of you is your own worst instincts. I'll excuse your vices and prejudices, your fears and self-doubt. Just about the whole circus. Damn Joe South for being so convincing, because I thought "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" was as good a creed as anything else. Plus, you can shake your ass to it before last call.
So when I see worries over Alabama coming out flat against a 40-point underdog and hear the Great Leader go apeshit over potentially 1% of the stadium being empty, I'm left to guesswork as to what it all means. Is there a lesson here? For the team? For the fans? For Western Kentucky?
Hell if I know.
What I do know is that sometimes the right thing to do is never clearer than when it feels absolutely wrong, when it sounds like the most indefensible, crazy, impossible, lost-cause outcome you could imagine. For example, you preach to your kids never, ever give up and always try your best. But then, after you watch them crash out and shit their pants, find a way to reverse course, benignly contradict all that garbage, and talk about "perspective" without sounding like a total fraud.
Or you stay on message, you sadist. Which will it be?
Maybe that's the real problem with this lesson stuff. You're always teaching them, you can't choose which ones, and you never know if you passed or failed.
That's what I'd tell the Hilltoppers if I were in the visiting locker room tomorrow. It's what I'd tell the home team too.