“It’s my way or the highway!”
CAP CITY, CA–Cap City Captains head coach Mark Akers is known for his fiery pre-game speeches. The 34 year-old Akers, a maintenance engineer for the local school system, may be the least successful little league head coach in the district in terms of winning percentage, but his players all agree that he is a wonderful motivator.
“Coach uses these wonderful colloquialisms throughout his speeches,” says 10 year-old Timmy Travis, the Captains’ starting pitcher, “Even though most of the team is too emotionally and mentally immature to pick up on the subtleties he wishes to convey, we readily respond to his alliterative, rhythmic phrasing.”
Akers says he holds to the belief that sportsmanship and teamwork is more important than winning, although he would love to see his kids win a championship.
“It just kind of baffles me,” Akers says, “These boys come out and mostly just goof off. But when I try to fire them up, whether it’s before, during or after the games, I always have their full attention. It’s like the only reason they joined the team is to hear me talk.”
Akers adds that he regrets that sometimes he will become frustrated enough by his team that he will use some inappropriate language. His players, on the other hand, don’t seem to mind at all.
“Coach is like a beat poet, or a performance artist,” says Lucky Tate, a 9 year-old outfielder, “The team becomes his audience, enraptured by his metaphorical meanderings. He’ll say ‘I want you kids to go all out, assholes and elbows’ and we are exhilarated, even if we can’t quite comprehend the relationship between our rectal cavities and the game of baseball.”
“Assholes and elbows, ah yes,” remarks Travis, “The boys and I have held quite the philosophical debates on the true meaning of that phrase. Is it vaguely homoerotic? Is it symbolic of a society in the midst of a deep decay? It is a remarkable riddle, one that confounds me to this day.”
But even as the team has not won a single game over the last three seasons, Akers says he has never had a player miss a practice.
“I would never miss a practice,” says Tate, “Would you miss a performance of Hamlet starring Sir Laurence Olivier, even if you’d seen it a thousand times before? Of course not. Coach brings that same passion, and always with a twist. Just this week he regaled us with ‘If ifs and buts were cherries and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas.’ And another layer is peeled back.”