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Thursday, December 9, 2010
Mr. Manners is always here to help

By DJ Gallo
Page 2

It has been many months since Mr. Manners last checked in on the world of sports. There is much to cover. Let's begin.

Mr. Manners

Dear Mr. Manners,
I am the head coach of a major football power. I am feeling a little burned out. Is it OK to quit? Or should I take some time to relax and think through my options? I don't want to act on exhaustion and emotion and then, 24 hours later, change my mind and become a joke. Like the coaching version of Brett Favre. And I especially don't want to say I want to spend more time with my family and then go right back to coaching. My family will think I hate them. What should I do?

Please respond ASAP! I need help! Thanks!
-- Urban M. (Gainesville, Fla.)

Dear Urban Planning,
I apologize. Sometimes my secretary makes mistakes. I see this letter is dated "Dec. 26, 2009." It must have gotten lost. I'm sure by now you have already resolved your issue without my help. I hope everything worked out for the best. I just wanted to practice good manners myself and apologize for the mistake on my end. No one is perfect. Even Mr. Manners. And especially Mr. Manners' secretary, who has been informed by me today that she would like to spend more time with her family.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
I play quarterback for an NFL team. We are a really terrible team -- a team that gets humiliated on television on a frequent basis. Sometimes, while being humiliated, the cameras will catch me or my teammates laughing or smiling on the sidelines. This causes people to think I don't take this #$%^ serious. How can I show them that I take this #$%^ serious? I PUT MY HEART AND SOUL INTO THIS #$%^ EVERY SINGLE WEEK!
-- Derek A. (Arizona)

Dear Determined Derek,
This is a tough one. Most jobs aren't filmed and broadcast to a national audience. I'm sure many of the people criticizing you for smiling during a loss have smiled themselves during a bad day at work. Cracking a smile doesn't mean you don't take your job seriously. Plus, people need to remember that football is a game; it's not life or death.

That said, you want to be mindful of people's perceptions. You also, I'm sure, want to be playing better football. I think you can improve in both departments by holding your team, and your role on the team, in higher regard. You can smile and laugh, but consider not referring to it as #$%^. Subconsciously, you will think of it as nothing more than that -- which may be why your team is playing like it.

Think about it: People don't refer to things of real value in their life as #$%^. You wouldn't say: "I love my kids. I love this parenting #$%^." Or: "With this ring, I thee wed. Because I take this #$%^ serious." Or: "I'm the president. I put my heart and soul into this #$%^ every single week!"

For the next week, consider referring to your team as "crap." Then upgrade it to "junk." By the end of the season you may find yourself calling it a "profession" or even an "opportunity." And, before long, you might even win a game. Or at least not get completely humiliated on national television. And that's worth a smile. Sure as #$%^.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
I was just fired from my job as a football coach. It makes me sad. What should I do?
-- Josh M. (Denver)

P.S. -- Do you know Santa? Can you tell him I want Transformers for Christmas? Also, I want a Tim Tebow jersey. Size: kid's small.

Dear Deposed in Denver,
How old are you? Considering your letter was written in crayon and many of the words were misspelled or had letters written backward, I can't imagine you're more than 8 or 9.

I am sorry to hear you were fired. But this is more of a legal issue than a manners issue. What you should do is have your parents -- and I assume they get your mail and are reading this -- sue your former employer for using you as child labor. That is unconscionable. Mistreating children is the worst form of manners.
-- Mr. Manners

P.S. -- No, I do not know Santa. But tell your parents that you want Transformers and a Tebow jersey. They will be sure to tell Santa and, if you are a good boy between now and Christmas, he will probably bring it to you.


Dear Mr. Manners,
This past summer I left my longtime employer and took a job with a different team in Miami. Now everyone hates me. What should I do? Should I admit that I've made mistakes? Should I remind you that I've done this before? Should I give you a history lesson? What should I do? Should I tell you how much fun we had? Should I really believe I ruined my legacy? What should I do? What should I do? What should I do? Should I have my tattoo removed? Wanna see my shiny new shoes? Should I just sell shoes? Or should I tell you, I am not a role model? Seriously, what should I do? Should I tell you I'm a championship chaser? Did it for the money? Rings? Should I be who you want me to be? Should I accept my role, as a villain? Maybe I should just disappear. Should I stop listening to my friends? They're my friends. Should I try acting? Should I be writing this down? Should I make you laugh? Should I read you a soulful poem? Or should we just clear the decks, and start over? What should I do? Should I be who you want me to be?
-- King J. (Miami)

Dear King of Questions,
Look, I realize my job is to give advice off of people's questions, and I by no means want to be rude, but I nodded off halfway through there. Maybe consider narrowing all that down to one or two pointed questions and then writing me back. It could just be that everyone hates you because you ask too many questions. It's kind of annoying.
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
I am the president of a large, BCS-affiliated university. I recently ripped into non-BCS football schools, saying they play a poor schedule and the Little Sisters of the Poor. Now I feel kind of bad. What should I do?
-- Gordon G. (Columbus, Ohio)

Dear Cocky in Columbus,
First of all, I would caution you to be careful criticizing someone with the line "Little Sisters of the Poor." That is an actual, church-related, charitable organization.

More important, do you watch movies? Little sisters of the poor tend to be the girls that everyone overlooks when they're younger, but then they grow up to be super-hot and everyone wants to get with them. But, too late … you're already on record criticizing them. So you're stuck with the girl who was hot in eighth grade, but it's only because she matured early, and now she's 200 pounds and a chain-smoker. Meanwhile, the little sister of the poor is wowing them with her brains and her amazing body. It's a frequent movie plot cliché. Which means it happens in real life all the time, too. So you really screwed up there.

Beyond that, most schedules played by BCS teams are incredibly overrated. Just to throw out one example: Ohio State this year had a virtually identical strength of schedule as Boise State. Really! It's a fact. An incredibly hilarious fact.

So, to apologize, I'd say something like: "What I should do is go over to the surgical suites and get my foot extricated from my mouth. What do I know about college football? I look like Orville Redenbacher. I have no business talking about college football."

(Note: I don't know if you look like Orville Redenbacher or not. You didn't include a photo with your letter. But you say you're a university president in the Midwest, so the chances are pretty high.)
-- Mr. Manners


Dear Mr. Manners,
I already said exactly that. And, yes, I do look like Orville Redenbacher.
-- Gordon "Orville" G. (Columbus, Ohio)

Dear Contrite in Columbus,
Great! Good job then. And sorry to hear the Orville resemblance is true. No ugly-duckling-into-swan story for you, huh? Bummer. Maybe movies aren't so real-to-life after all. Just like BCS conference dominance.
-- Mr. Manners

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.


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