Coach paced the locker room wearing a scowl and sweating more profusely than the players sitting in front of him, waiting for him to speak.
He finally stopped pacing, turned, and looked his team straight in their eyes.
“All right, listen up, Suckwads! That first half was UGLY, and believe me, I’ve seen some ugly games in my day, but what I’ve seen so far today might just be the worst. I mean, that was UGLY! I thought you Suckwads came to play today, but it sure doesn’t look like it, and now we’ve paid the price–we have to go out there in the second half and be a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TEAM if we want to have ANY chance of pulling this out! I shouldn’t even have to tell you this, because these are the absolute basics, but we need tough, in-your-face D, we need to execute properly on offense–NO turnovers, NO sloppy passing, NO sloppy shooting–and we need to be PERFECT from the free throw line! I thought you Suckwads were capable of that, but maybe I’m wrong. Am I wrong?”
“Well–Am I wrong?”
A few mumbled “no”s.
“I can’t hear you: AM. I. WRONG?!?”
“WELL, THEN GET OUT THERE AND PROVE IT!”
The team leaped from the benches, energized and ready to do just that.
They ended up losing by thirty-six points.
But on the plus side, it was the closest score in any game ever played by any Johnson City Suckwads team.
Not long after that, the Johnson City School District’s Board of Directors took up the issue of changing the school’s mascot. There were some who felt as though the current name had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
A vote was taken and it was decided that the Johnson City School District sports teams would henceforth be known as the “Runners-Up”. The name was chosen to convey action: Johnson City teams weren’t just going to sit there like a bunch of Suckwads–they were going to “run up” and MAKE things happen.
Everyone felt pretty good about the name change, and they couldn’t wait until the next season began. Talk of the unthinkable–a championship–was in the air; the enthusiasm was infectious. Everyone agreed: The Runners-Up weren’t going to settle for second best.