I spent my formative years in the locker room as much as I did the chemistry classroom – PE classes, football teams and, most of all, wrestling teams.
I never heard any of what seems to have become the new definition of “locker room banter.”
Of course, in a locker room full of wrestlers, if you called it “banter,” you would have had a number of blank stares – at least from those brutes 145-lbs. or more.
What you did hear was a few of the guys talking smack about what may or may not have happened on Saturday night. Those who bragged – talking to you Dave Landon – were harassed more than those of us who just shrugged off the teasing and kept our mouths shut. Mostly we talked about sports and cars.
I have spent even more time in locker rooms as a reporter – talking to coaches and players and hearing a lot less about girls (or women) than I did as an athlete. For the most part, when I’m around coaches and athletes, they are focused on the game they are practicing for or just completed. And that, dear readers, is a lot more interesting than the “locker room banter” you recently heard on every cable channel in America.
And when I say “interesting,” I mean hilarious. Some post-game interviews – well, it’s hard not to laugh.
Ugliest locker room banter I ever heard:
• Basketball Coach after his team scored only 8 points in the fourth quarter, giving up a 12-point lead and losing by two points – “We have a 6-5 player on the floor who is the best player on either team. The best shooter on the floor. He has 18 blankety-blank points in three quarters, but only scores two points in the fourth. Why? His idiotic, blankety-blank teammates didn’t pass him the ball. It’s like they suddenly got confident, thought they could @#%$&*% shoot and didn’t give the guy who could score the ball. @$#*! They treated him like he’s got an STD.”
Really? The coach just lost a big conference game and he says his team treated their star like he had a sexually transmitted disease? There, folks, is a headline.
• Bitter coach: A Texas football coach after his star tailback fumbled on his team’s own 1-yard line, allowing their opponent to score the winning TD with minutes left in the game: “The @$&-of-a-*@#&% will never touch another football while wearing a Coyotes jersey even if he’s the last @$%*%# running back on earth,” the coach said.
Aside from coaches who wonder if their entire basketball team has lost its collective minds or a football coach who shuns a kid who was actually a pretty good running back – that coach lived up to his word, the senior was moved to defense and never ran the ball again – I’ve not heard coaches or players bragging about their sexual conquests.
There was the one Oklahoma high school football coach who questioned the origins of a referee in a two-minute tirade – but that was more about the official’s mother’s sexual history than the coach bragging about his own. He watched the rest of the game from the team bus.
What most guys discovered in high school is that those in the locker room who bragged the most about their weekend dates or discussing in detail what happened in the back seat at the drive-in movie theater were the guys who ended up without a girlfriend a week later.
If we learn anything from this presidential election cycle, let it be known that “locker room banter” is giving locker rooms a bad name.
By Bruce Wallace