SCENE: A roadhouse bar. Somewhere between Tallahassee, College Station, and Hell. Night. Heavy fog. Smells metallic - like blood.
Sad Waylon is playing on the jukebox. Grifters and ne’er-do-wells and snakes and cads and deadbeats and beachcombers shuffle along and sip their swill. Everyone is running from something but not quite sure what they’re running to.
A stranger walks in. Says his name is Jimbo. Sure. Of course. No one in these parts goes by what’s on the birth certificate.
Jimbo orders a Cutty Sark and water. Bellies up next to a fella the barkeep calls Jimmy Gards.
Jimmy G: What bring you to these parts, Maverick?
Jimbo: [takes long pull off the Cutty] Everything and nothing. Sometimes you gotta shake it up in life.
Jimmy G: [recalls that he himself is thrice divorced] I hear that. What’s the destination, kemosabe?
Jimbo: Could be Shangri-La. Could be Hell. Not quite sure. For now it’s College Station, Texas.
Jimmy G: [eyes squint to the size of sliced almonds] [takes a drag off his Winston] I lived a few lifetimes in College Station. [exhales cloud of smoke] Nice place. Folksy.
Jimbo: Really? I’ve been interviewing for a new gig there. Football coach. I’ve been in Florida for a spell but a lifetime in the Sunshine State can kill a man I reckon. Talks with the brass in College Station been goin’ fine. I still have some questions though. Questions I’m reluctant to ask of the suits.
Jimmy G: [asks the barkeep, Carlita, to freshen up Jimbo’s Cutty Sark] Well, shoot, Mav. I’ll tell you anything you want to know about the place. My closest allies and fiercest enemies hang their hats in that burgh.
Jimbo: well, shucks, here goes nothin’...
Do they really have that much money?
Yes. And by God are they proud of it. If I know these folks, they’re willing to pay over retail for you, Mav, just to prove a point. These folks pay the sticker price on a stocking-stuffer Lexus for their 16 year old princess.
Hell, these sons of bitches will sit next to you at the $100 blackjack table in Vegas. They’ll get all banged up on Johnny Walker Blue and start splitting Queens on max bets just to see your eyes widen.
They tip 30% in big block handwriting at dinner with the intent that you see it. And sure that’s their bill roll sitting on the table. Not a clip - a roll, amigo.
And these cats are liquid, Maverick. They’re not like your “rich” buddies in Florida whose liquidity requires a yacht from Colombia to sail in or the unwinding of some shitty Florida real estate investment. L-I-Q-U-I-D.
You see the check they scratched off for Kevin? Eight figures to hit the bricks. Just had to lift up a couch cushion at granny’s after the monthly royalty check cashed.
These folks think it was by their own virtue that God himself dropped them on the right dirt on this condemned planet. Reckon the human mind can justify just about anything.
What do I need to know about recruiting in those parts?
It’s turned into a goddamn debutante ball, Mav. Coddled pageant boys who have grown up playing some football/soccer hybrid called 7-on-7. Unwashed skeevy adults lurking around those fields so they can sell hopeful subscription morsels to the hopeless. I’ve seen televangelists with more integrity.
These kids have been told since their first sprouted pube that they were God’s gift to the game of football. Long on entitlement and broke on grit and desperation. Shame, really.
Folks will tell you that you need to kiss the rings of the Texas high school football coaches. To hell with that shit. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the college football programs in the state of Texas haven’t done jack in years. Turns out 7-on-7 doesn’t teach you shit about minor things like tackling or winning in the trenches.
You can be the wake up call there, Mav. Don’t buy into the Friday Night Lights lore. You’ll have your pick of the skill position players - the state is drunk with ‘em - but you’ll have to get crafty with the big boys. Little hack: if Gary Patterson offers a 3-star front seven player, best to offer him yourself as well.
You’re going to have to compete for recruits. Wish I could say you could simply throw a butterfly net over Houston and keep what you want, but that ain’t reality.
Any tips for dealing with the bitter rival Texas Longh-
Let me stop you right there, Jimbob. Listen closely - the Texas Longhorns are NOT your rival. You hear me? No one - and I mean NO ONE - cares LESS about the Texas Longhorns than Aggies. They’re more than happy to prove it to you. You can receive daily business presentations about how the Longhorns are bad for business. There are nifty graphs about who needs to the game more. This is how little Aggies care about this NON-rival, you hear?
Mav, your most hated historical rival now is South Carolina. Cocks, nahmsayin?
What if Aggies hate me one day?
Kemosabe, you been at this long enough to know the truth. Coaching tenures don’t end well. G’ahead. Rack your brain and try to think up a legendary coach whose tenure ended peachy. Doesn’t happen. Your olde mentor Bobby Bowden? Everyone was ready to put gramps in the home - you included. Joe Paterno? Les Miles? Mack Brown? Pete Carroll? They all end in chaos, hate, and shame, Mav. Fortunately, time is the salve that heals most wounds.
Either you’re going to fucking hate us or we’re going to loathe the hell out of you. Or both! Could be after we threaten to fire you after an 8-5 season. Could be when you get the wild itch to go coach the Dallas goddamn Cowboys. Could be when you get A&M thrown on probation and then take the LSU job. Could be the moment you get your first taste of Aggie Twitter. If you have a 3-and-out on your first series, buckle up. Hell, could be long after you’ve won a national title in College Station but you’ve lost three straight to the Texas Longhorns. One way or another, we’ll end up hating each other. But that’s OK, Mav. Because if you win that natty... if you start taking that program to Atlanta on the reg... they’re going to build a 200 foot statue of your sorry ass outside the Hate Barn. Replete with a head full of hair and a nice crotch bulge!
Time will pass, hate will diminish, and you’ll be a legend amongst the most insane, good nature folk around. Tell them they’re classy, Jimbob. They like that.
Give ‘em hell and gig ‘em.
[Jimmy Gards walks out on his tab and thumbs a ride to a Biloxi casino]