February 10, 2022
I was just finishing up training when Coach Beard told me the good news. Congratulations buddy! I thought I’d take a minute to drop you a line and tell you some things that I’ve learned across the pond that might save you the trouble.
Before you even show up at the rink, you gotta know this. Sometimes you walk into a team and there was drama around that place that has left a stench that has nothing to do with you. I landed in Richmond in the middle of a messy divorce and it was as awkward as a panic attack on the pitch. But you can’t let anyone else’s drama stick to you. Keep your focus and let the owners of that circus look after its own monkeys.
I’m sure you’ll be thrown in front of the media as soon as you get there just like I was Marty. Maybe Trent Crimm from The Independent won’t be there, but you’ll have another guy with more questions than a sports psychologist. They’re just doing their job Marty and you’ll just have to take a page from Taylor Swift and shake it off.
Speaking of the media, let me tell you about Keeley Jones. She’s in charge of PR here at AFC Richmond, and that sure has been helpful for me minding my Ps and Qs. I hear the PR situation in Montreal has been a bit of a hornet’s nest. But I also hear you have your own Keeley. Chantal Machabee, I think she’s called. Listen to her Marty. She knows where it’s at and heeding her advice might save you a world of hurt.
I’d recommend a word for your locker room. On a big poster where everyone can see it. My word was BELIEVE. You need to pick your own word, and make sure none of the fellas before you used it. I hear the CHARACTER, ATTITUDE and NO EXCUSES are all bad ideas. Can I make a suggestion, Marty? How about FUN? Because those poor buggers look like they’re having none.
Another thing you’ll want to do pretty soon is identify your Roy Kent. Let me tell you what I mean by that. Somewhere in your locker room is a guy who looks cross all the time. The other guys might even tiptoe around him a bit because he might bark AND bite at them. But here’s a thing I’ve learned Marty. Sometimes the guy that looks most miserable just looks that way because he cares the most. He’s cross because he can’t stand losing. He barks because he wants change. And they tiptoe because they respect him. Find that guy and you might find a partner who’ll help get the team out of this mess.
I wonder about that guy Jeff Petry. I hear lots of folks calling him a wanker, but it wasn’t that long ago he was killing it. Maybe that ship has sailed. What about that Josh Anderson guy? He’s embarrassed by all that losing Marty. Get yourself a ladder and climb up and have a word with that kid.
Let me tell you about Dani Rojas. Talented kid. Football is life, he says. One day he got a penalty kick in a match, and he blew that thing in there. But then Earl, our mascot greyhound, chased a bird out onto the pitch and the shot hit him square in the noggin. Killed him stone dead. Well, it left Dani a little snake bitten, and we had to bring in Dr. Niles to get him sorted.
You have your own snake bitten kid. Cole Caufield is special, but lately he looks more confused than a chameleon in a bag of skittles. This boy needs your time, Marty. He’s sees in you what he wants to become, and you need to handle that with your kid gloves on.
Those boys are going to have some things to unlearn, Marty. Apparently, there is a system in place – one where they have special routes they run and such. It all sounds pretty complicated to me. But you’re going to need to make like Snoop Dogg and drop it like it’s hot.
I know some guys are talking about your inexperience as a coach and making this leap to the NHL. They said the same about me. Heck, they were right. But taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong. I’m proud of you Marty, and I know you’ll be just fine.
One final thing. I’d highly recommend you begin a habit of bringing biscuits to the boss. He’s flush with beer. It might taste more like fizzy water than it does beer, but he’s flush with it.
Bon chance buddy!