Willie Earl on the Couch

Patient 191855

This was the patient’s first session since he and his wife became “empty-nesters” about 10 years ago.

Session transcript 11/16/18

Therapist:  So how’ve you been?

Patient: Things are okay with me these days. Got a good job, got a good office, got the same wife, and the family is fine.

Therapist: These are positive developments. So what brings you in today?

Patient:  The Longhorns are having their best season in years and they had a thrilling win over a big rival Saturday night, but I’m feeling a little empty inside.

Therapist: You’re talking about a football team?

Patient:  Yeah, of course. They nearly blew a 17 point in the fourth quarter and had to score a last minute touchdown to win, just like they nearly blew a 21 point lead in the fourth quarter to Oklahoma. It almost takes all the fun out of it to almost lose games when you have such a big lead.

Therapist: Your team won these games and yet you’re not feeling as good about that as you think you should?

Patient:  That’s right. When you build a big lead you just want to relax and start celebrating but you can’t because the defense is so terrible. Against Texas Tech they gave up almost 600 yards of offense and allowed 24 points in the fourth quarter!

Therapist:  So, you’re finding this worrisome?

Patient:  Absolutely.  They rank #86 in total defense in the country and that’s out of only 129 teams!  If the defense was even a little better we’d probably be 9-1 instead of 7-3.

Therapist:  Can you think of any strategies to deal with these feelings you’re experiencing?

Patient: Yes. Todd Orlando the defensive coordinator, uh, you know, the guy who is in charge of the defense, could do a better job of teaching the players fundamentals in tackling, containment, and backside protection. But I’m afraid there isn’t enough time for that before the next game.  Also, I don’t understand why Anthony Wheeler plays at all!

Therapist: I hear what you’re saying but I’m wondering what strategies you can use to deal with these feelings of emptiness and frustration you’re experiencing even as your team is having a good year.

Patient: Well, it’s been a good year so far but it could all go down the drain just because our defense can’t stop anyone.  Texas Tech was 10 for 15 in third down conversions. For the season our defense gives up third down conversions more than 43 percent of the time. That ranks 105 out of 129 teams. And the defense gets even worse in the fourth quarter. Texas Tech scored on their last four real possessions and with their third string quarterback!

Therapist: Are you able to talk to Helen about this?

Patient: When I try, she says, “Where does it hurt?”

Therapist:  So she’s not very empathetic?

Patient: Nope. It’s the same thing she used to say to our kids.

Therapist: And how does that make you feel?

Patient:  Frustrated that individually, on paper, our defense looks good but the whole is less than the sum of its parts.

Therapist: Is there anything positive in your life that you can focus on to help relieve your frustration and feelings of emptiness?

Patient: Well, our quarterback Sam Ehlinger is very good and he might end up being one of the Longhorn greats. He just set the Big 12 record for the most consecutive past attempts without an interception at 280. Overall, the offense is pretty good averaging 33.2 points a game which ranks 37th nationally.

Therapist:  You mentioned earlier that the family is fine. That must make you feel good.

Patient:  Yeah, yeah they’re all fine but I’m really worried about the game this week.  If we win, we’ll have a chance to get into the Big 12 Championship, but Iowa State has the best defense in the Big 12, so it might be hard to outscore them, which seems to be the only way can win games this year. And adding to the defense’s woes, Brandon Jones, our best defensive back may play after missing the last two games with an ankle injury but he won’t be 100 percent.

Also, though I think Tom Herman is doing a pretty good job, I’m not sure he’s very good during games at “situational football.”  As far as in-game coaching, I think Iowa State has the edge with their head-coach, Matt Campbell.

Therapist: Are you still taking your meds?

Patient:  Helen asked me the same question just the other day. I am but I’m not sure they’re helping.

Therapist: Perhaps you could think about not letting the fortunes of a football team affect your overall happiness and well-being as much as it seems to be.

Patient: Yeah but, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Therapist:  Well, our time is up for today. Try to relax this weekend.

Patient: Fat chance.


HooK ‘Em,


4 Comments to “Willie Earl on the Couch”

  1. Exactly why I went to an early dinner, a movie and then nightcaps last Saturday night instead of watching the game.
    Walked into the bar area of restaurant we went to
    for drinks at the 1:50 mark in the fourth. Only had to suffer a few plays of total angst.

  2. Easily my favorite post in years, can’t wipe the grin away!

  3. That was a great read, one of your best.

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