|The Junction Girls|
By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist
Former Alabama coach Bear Bryant forged his reputation during his first year at Texas A&M when he held a horrific training camp in the oppressive heat at Prairie Junction, Texas. With a steady supply of verbal abuse and a severe rationing of water, Bryant drove off 73 of the 111 players en route to a 1-9 season.
The saga of Bear's "Junction Boys" is legendary. Less well known was the first and only spring football camp held by another former Alabama coach. He, too, forged his reputation. But unlike Bryant, Mike Price actually attracted players as camp went along in what has become known as ...
[AS THE TEXT SCROLLS OFF, THE SCREEN DISSOLVES TO THE INTERIOR OF THE ALABAMA LOCKER ROOM, WHERE WE SEE COACH PRICE STANDING IN FRONT OF A BLACKBOARD AND DELIVERING A STERN LECTURE TO HIS TEAM ON THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING PRACTICE ...]
PRICE: All right, people. Listen up. I know you're used to a different coach and a different system, but I've got some news for you. I'm in charge now. And it's my way or the highway. It isn't going to be easy. It isn't going to be pretty. But I'm going to take 'Bama back to the top and anyone who isn't willing to put in the work that requires better turn in his equipment right now. Because I won't tolerate anything less than 110 percent effort, on the field or in the bar room.
So, take a good look at the player on your left and a good look at the player on your right. By the time spring practice ends, chances are that two of you will be gone. Which is good for those who tough it out, because there will be that many more girls to go around.
Oh, and one more thing. I have a very strict curfew. Midnight. I'm not messing around with this one, fellas. You break curfew and you're off the team.
So I don't want to see any of you guys trying to sneak into the athletes dorm before then.
[AN ABUSIVELY HOT DAY AT SPRING PRACTICE. HIS UNIFORM COATED IN SWEAT, AN OBVIOUSLY PARCHED PLAYER STAGGERS TO THE WATER JUG. HE REACHES FOR IT RAVENOUSLY AND LIFTS IT TOWARD HIS MOUTH. JUST BEFORE THE COOLING LIQUID CAN REACH HIS LIPS, HOWEVER, PRICE ANGRILY KNOCKS THE JUG FROM THE PLAYER'S HANDS AND PUSHES HIM TO THE GROUND.]
PRICE: You know the rules, punk! No water at practice.
PLAYER: But Coach, I stopped sweating an hour ago. I'm dehydrated. I have a fever. I'm dizzy. I'm dying of thirst. You gotta give me something to drink.
PRICE: That's what the beer is for, son. Have as much as you want. Just make sure it's Miller Lite. Remember, you're in training.
PRICE: What the hell are you doing, Gump?
FORREST: Writing to my girlfriend, Jen-ny, Coach Mike.
PRICE: A letter to your girlfriend? Gump, you are wasting your time ... and worse, you're wasting my time. What's your sole purpose in this camp?
FORREST: To do whatever you tell me, Coach Mike?
PRICE: Damn it, Gump! You're a damn genius! That's the most outstanding answer I've ever heard. You must have a damn IQ of 160. You are damn gifted, Gump! I am going to reward you for your intelligence!
FORREST: How is that, Coach Mike?
PRICE: Gump, have you ever been to a Gentlemen's Club?
[EXT. AFTER A GRUELING MORNING SESSION, THE WEARY TIDE PLAYERS STUMBLE OUT OF ARETY'S ANGELS STRIP CLUB. COACH PRICE FOLLOWS WITH A SPRING IN HIS STEP AND A SMILE ON HIS FACE.]
PRICE: You can take a break, boys, but I want you all back here at Arety's by 3 p.m. sharp for the afternoon session.
[THE TEAM GROANS LOUDLY.]
PRICE: What's the matter with you wussies? You're telling me you girly-men aren't up to two-a-days?
PLAYER: It's not that we can't, Coach. It's just that we kind of were hoping for, well, better-looking stippers.
PRICE: Better-lookers? You boys make me sick. You don't deserve better-lookers. And what's more, you don't want better-lookers. Better-lookers never agree to come back to your bedroom.
Better-lookers. S---, boys. Back in Pullman, I held two-a-days inside the WSU agricultural center every spring and I never once heard a single complaint that this sheep was a little cross-eyed or that cow was little heavy. Instead, those boys were begging me for unsupervised workouts. But those guys had heart. Those guys had dedication. Those guys were willing to do what was necessary, whatever was necessary. That's the sort of dedication I'm looking for.
[SCENE OPENS INSIDE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR MAL MOORE'S OFFICE, WHERE PRICE HAS AN IDEA.]
PRICE: This isn't about that, Mal. I've been working on changes for next year, and I'm thinking that it might help recruiting and team spirit if we spice up the cheerleaders a bit.
MOORE: [WARY] What do you have in mind, Mike?
MOORE: You must be out of your mind.
MOORE: Mike, please.
PRICE: Garter belts?
MOORE: Close the door on your way out, Mike.
PRICE: Not until you at least sign off on the vat of jello.
[INT. GROCERY STORE. PRICE, DRESSED IN TIGHT SLACKS AND A SILK SHIRT UNBUTTONED LOW ENOUGH TO SEE A GOLD NECKLACE, SIDLES UP TO A WOMAN IN THE PRODUCE DEPARTMENT. HE SETS DOWN HIS HALF-RACK OF HEINEKINS AND PICKS UP A CUCUMBER AND TURNS TO HER.]
PRICE: I've always thought cucumbers were the most sensuous of vegetables.
WOMAN: Vegetables are sensual. People are sensuous.
PRICE: Yes, you are so very right. And so very ... sensuous.
[HE LEERS AT HER AND MAKES THAT AUSTIN POWERS GROWLING SOUND]
[HE WINKS. SHE WINKS BACK.]
WOMAN: Only if you agree to buy me breakfast tomorrow morning.
PRICE: Oh, beeeee-have.
[EXT. THE ALABAMA FOOTBALL FIELD WHERE THE ANNUAL SPRING GAME IS BEING PLAYED. QUARTERBACK BRANDON AVALOS IS WRITHING IN AGONY ON THE GROUND AFTER A VICIOUS TACKLE, BUT COACH PRICE WAVES OFF THE MEDICAL STAFF AND SHOUTS AT AVALOS.]
PRICE: C'mon, you big baby. Get up!
AVALOS: I can't, Coach. I'm in agony. The shinbone is poking through the skin.
PRICE: Ohhhhhh, that's too bad. I suppose you're going to cry now.
AVALOS: No, but I think I'm going into shock.
PRICE: Get up, Avalos. We're counting on you. We need you next year if we're going to win the SEC. You can't let this stop you. You have to get back on your feet. You have to keep playing.
AVALOS: I can't feel my other leg now.
PRICE: Get up, get up, get up. A winner never quits, Avalos. If you don't get back in the game, you'll lose your starting position. And we need you in there to win the national championship. It's my Destiny.
AVALOS: It's your destiny? You mean, like we're fated to win no matter what?
[AVALOS GETS A GOOD LOOK AT DESTINY, MOANS AND PASSES OUT ...]
[EXT. THE GAMEDAY CONDOS IN TUSCALOOSA. A BEER KEG CRASHES THROUGH A WINDOW AS THE CAMERA DOLLEYS INSIDE, CLIMBS THE STAIRS AND FOCUSES INSIDE PRICE'S BEDROOM, WHERE WE FIND A MINK COAT ON THE FLOOR AND THE SILHOUETTE OF PRICE AND THE WOMAN FROM THE GROCERY STORE ON THE BED.]
WOMAN: Rolllllllll, Tide!!!!!
PRICE: The Tide is rolling, baby, the Tide is rolling!!!!
[THE CAMERA SWISH-PANS AROUND THE ROOM AND WHEN IT RETURNS TO THE BED, IT FINDS PRICE AND THE WOMAN SHARING A CIGARETTE.]
WOMAN: Well, this is very awkward. But I'm afraid I never caught your name.
PRICE: How rude of me. Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Coach Mike Price.
WOMAN: Charmed. And I'm Mrs. Vernon Wormer.
PRICE: That's funny. We have a Dean Wormer at the university.
WOMAN: That is funny. I have a Dean Wormer waiting for me at home.
WORMER: Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life. Or this university. You're fired.
PRICE: You can't fire me. I didn't commit any crimes.
WORMER: No, but there is a little known codicil in the Alabama constitution that gives me almost unlimited power in the case of an emergency. So ever since I first heard the rumors about your carousing, I've had you on double-secret probation. One mistake and you're out of here. So you're out, you're through, you're done.
PRICE: Does this mean you won't pay for my Maxim subscription?
Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.