The Enraged Head Coach(es): A Poem Cleft in Twain

Given the events of the past few days, I was conflicted about which direction I should take my weekly poem. Tankertoad requested I use Twain's "The Aged Pilot Man," so I viewed what was happening through that lens. Part of me was angry about the fallout from the Vandy game, but part of me wanted to move on to far more important matters. I eventually threw up my metaphorical hands and decided to write two poems and post whichever one I liked best. Then I decided to post both poems and let y'all decide which one was best (or I could ask the NCAA and assume that whichever one they pick is not the best because they are consistently inconsistent which would mean that whichever one they pick might actually be the best and...never mind).

The first is written from the perspective of our new best friend, Coach Franklin. The original "Aged Pilot Man" is all about wrong perceptions and exaggeration, so I figured that this poem would be a good medium for portraying his perspective. The second is written from that beloved Floridian icon of truth, justice, and the Gator way, Urban Meyer. This poem tells about this time when he played the Dawgs and was on the receiving end of a Really Bad Deal that led to a somewhat controversial decision. As always, the original is linked in the first line. With apologies to Mark Twain:

The Enraged Head Coach


In the Commies’ stadium, it was,

an autumn evening’s tilt,

I coached a bunch of eggheads

who went to Vanderbilt.


From Athens-town a bus pulled up

filled up with miscreants

that strutted ‘round in jerseys white

and shiny silver pants.


Their team came rushing on the field,

saying, "Shut up, you fools, and play.

Shut up your mouth, shut up, losers,

shut up while yet you may."


The game was on; my brave young men

fought ‘gainst this thuggish team.

And played they clean and sportsmanlike,

polite in the extreme.


"Low blows! Low blows!" I told my men

as their running backs sped on.

They ran and passed, we passed some, too;

they missed a field goal again.

The referees bad hits did see

from those ill-mannered guys.

They threw the yellow-sheeted flag

on us more than was wise.

For nothing did my players do,

it seemed to my keen eyes.


The quarters four did pass us fast!

"Three points here, three points there,

three points scant," I laughed at them,

their red zone points so rare.


A panic struck their blackened hearts;

a rude plan did unfold.

For plain to all, they pitched a fit;

they cussed and punched and kicked and bit

and fought my men with fists and hits

and beat them right out of their wits,

completely unprovoked.


"Sever their back-spines! Cripple the linemen!"

yelled a coach from the other sideline.

At ballgame’s end I searched for him

so I could give him a piece of my mind.


Then gathered together both football teams

in a melee at midfield.

Their defensive coach was haranguing me;

he did refuse to yield.

He yelled til he was red in the face;

my own was placid and calm.

The others were greatly out of line;

my escort employed his palms.


The carnage round me disappeared;

my eyes became unblinded.

Both teams walked off the playing field,

of coaches’ ire reminded.


The Other Enraged Head Coach


Near the end of October, it was,

at start of autumn’s chill.

I rode forth with my Gators

to the town of Jacksonville.


From Athens-town a bus pulled up

filled up with miscreants

that strutted ‘round in jerseys white

and shiny silver pants.


At game’s first rushing score, their coach

said, "Strut your stuff, offensive line.

Strut your stuff and draw a flag

or face a hefty practice fine."


Their team came on the football field

from star to clipboard king.

They jumped around and taunted us,

and insults they did fling.


My quarterback, Tim Tebow, cried,

so keenly he did feel.

But still those Bulldogs danced and writhed;

it was a real bad deal.


"A hole, O-line!" their heads went down;

their running back sped on.

Stafford did pass, and Tebow, too;

no one could stop Knowshon.

He ran right through our defense stout;

we chased him all in vain.

Crying, "Your yardage is a fluke; at fault

is Tebow’s shoulder pain!"

Alas, my D-line could not stop

Knowshon for little gain.


The quarters four did pass us fast.

Three points large the Dawgs did get.

Forty-two to thirty points

plus one great vengeance debt.


Anger lurked inside my heart

beneath my calm façade.

In spite of my accepting look,

a vengeful, vicious vow I took

to get those Bulldogs, hook or crook;

I would get them in my book—

my tactics all unflawed.


"Stop the game clock! Laugh at the Dawgs!"

I said at next year’s game.

Inspired I was by the Gator Stomp;

I told them all it was the same.


But gathered together defeated Dawgs

who fiercely told me thus:

"Team motivation is quite different from

Demoralizing us.

But don’t you worry, you Gators coach,

that this will make us hate you more.

Our hatred of Gators is fierce and strong,

a vast and unmeasured store."


Tim Tebow left; nothing was right.

I was by circumstance inspired.

And—lying once the final year—

Saw the light and retired.




An (admittedly grainy) illustration of Vandy's style of play. Notice the official looking down on the play while doing nothing. The tubby observer could be Charlie Weis scouting the competition or could could be any overweight buffoon that enjoys a good laugh.




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