I'm a simple man, with a simple life. I coach high school football for a living, I wake up at the same time each day, and I eat breakfast at the McDonald's down the street from my house. It was a shock to me though on a recent Thursday. I was sitting in my regular booth, in the middle of my fourth McMuffin of the day. Some of the boys came around and joined me in the booth. They're always welcome to. I have an open door policy, I'm there for any player who needs me. I like giving my homespun Texas wisdom to these boys who are still trying to figure out the world.
“Coach, the fellas and I, well, we've been talking.” My lead player hesitated for a moment, I could tell that what he wanted to say was important, I offered my encouragement “Go on, son.” He looked at the other players, then back at me, “Coach, we've been thinking you ought to run for president.” I set my McMuffin down, took a sip of my coffee, then rubbed my chin. I sat in silent contemplation over the gravity of what my boys had just told me. One person at a table over on the opposite side of where I was began to clap, they stood up slowly, then turned towards me. More people joined them, and soon the entire McDonald's was full of applause.
It seemed a good number of the town folk felt I should run. I wasn't sure about it, so I asked my boys and the American History teacher to form an Exploratory Committee for me. The boys told me I needed to get on the Twitter, so I did. Then, the History teacher told me I should start to send out some inflammatory tweets to get the media to notice me. “They eat that crap up” teacher said. I took my time to think about what I would tweet. I sat in a tub full of warm Gatorade, picked up my phone, and began a few messages to the world, hoping the media would notice.
“Tiny Tim is a freeloader who deserved to die” was the first tweet I sent. “Canned Tomato Soup has wronged me in more ways than I can possibly count” was my next tweet. I picked up a few followers, so I set my phone down. Before I went to bed I tweeted “I will break you in a debate.” I woke up the next day to discover I had 1.2 million followers, and CBS wanted to interview me. We set up an interview at the field house, the day before the first game of the season. My boys and the team made it clear what I needed to say.
“Look, Charlie. It's clear to me that the canned soup lobby has been running this Country for far too long. I don't care if the 'fashionistas' in Washington like it or not, what we need is a straight shooter who can get the ball from one end to the other end! I know what to do with a ball!” The news crew stayed around to film me coaching that night's game. I was hoping we'd win, I wanted to look like I was in control, that I could be a good leader. We won the game, and I was happy with how I looked on the TV.
But the more I focused on my campaign, the less I focused on the game—and it started to show.
We lost three games in a row, all to schools that should have been as easy to have picked off as that part of your nail that you just clipped that didn't detach. The next game was the big Homecoming game against our bitter rivals. I was feeling ill at ease with my new found fame, feeding twitter, and trying to come up with policy. Monday night after practice, I was sitting in my office in the field house, when the principal came in to speak with me.
“You gotta quit your campaign, Coach” he said to me, always to the point. “I can't” I told him, “My boys are depending too much on me. It means so much to them.” The principal was shaking his head “You've got it backwards, Coach. For the first time since I've known you, you're wrong. You've gotta shift your focus from The White House, to The Field House! You need to win next week, and you let politics sort it self out.” I went home, climbed into a warm tub full of Vitamin Water, and cried. Why? Because I knew The Principal was right.
The next day I announced that I was not seeking the White House, deleted my Twitter, and got back into focus on the game. You know what? We won that homecoming game, 48-1. My boys were proud of me, I was proud of myself, and I got a free McFlurry at the McDonald's down the street from my house. I love being a coach.