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September 24, 2014

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You show you care... thats something.

I once discussed this with a professional fotball player (the kind you actually play with your feet) and asked him what was the best half time speech any coach had ever given to him and his team. He said that most coaches talk to much, and the players at not really able to digest all these words during half time. The best speech he said, was during a very difficult game where the team had difficulties, but were not really playing badly. Everybody sat still watching the coach, who did not say anything. He walked quietly around the locker room, looking down. Silent but confident, it seemed. The players sat still and waited. The the coach stopped, looked around at his players and then said calmly, but confidently, "We can do this". That was the whole speech, but the players somehow felt very confident by this, and went out and won the match.

Right on, Jens. What's also true about halftime speeches is that most of the players need the time to gather themselves physically, not emotionally. Many are drinking water, some are eating ... and any halftime speech is accompanied by the insidious aroma of shit. It should be calibrated to match—as in your fine example.

My college football coach gave the best half time speech I ever heard.

We were playing at home, losing about 30-0 to a lesser team, and we were looking for someone to blame. Our coach walked in with the coaching staff. The room went dead silent. He stared in silence at all of us -- players and coaches -- for a few MINUTES, then said, through clenched teeth, "Your effort out there is an embarrassment to me and to this university. If you don't get a first down on your first possession, and don't stop THEM from getting a first down on THEIR first possession, I am pulling you off the field, and I am forfeiting the game. If you think I'm kidding, just try me."

He walked out. The coaches walked out. We followed. And we won by about three points.

Well, that's a good one, Rod. But if you made it to the college level of football, I estimate you endured about 200 speeches of either the pre-game or halftime variety.

And you remember one. (Or two or three or four.)

That means a lot of gas went into thin air.

Which may not be the worst thing. But still, it does seem like a lot of wasted energy, no?

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