544: Pep Talk
Title text: Listen! They said a team of chess players coached by someone with no understanding of basketball would never be competitive in the NBA! Well, it turns out they're pretty perceptive.
Another comic where Randall takes a less than serious look at sports.
The halftime pep talk of a basketball game is commonly used by coaches to inspire his team to either turn the game around, or to defend the lead, and to make strategic changes that will help them do so. Unfortunately, the basketball coach Cueball has absolutely no fundamental understanding of the sport, and has pulled his team (of Cueball-like players) into the locker room while the game is still in progress, not during halftime, enabling the other team to score at will.
He could have tried to get a time-out, but still he would not have been allowed to take his team down to the locker room.
The title text parodies a common plot of, especially US, sports movies in which an inexperienced team (and sometimes coach) still manage to win a title after a highly motivational pep talk (see for instance Hoosiers). These Pep talks usually take place during regular pauses of the game, and can lead to a come back from a seemingly insurmountable deficit. In this case the players are not even just poor basketball players but rather chess players and the coach knows nothing of the sport, the opposite of what is usually the case in said movies. And, of course, in this case those pessimistic about their chances were proven right.
- [Coach-Cueball stands at the end of a double row of benches in the players locker room. He speaks to his team of five Cueball-like players, two are sitting with towels on the left bench, one stands behind them, and two are sitting on the right bench, one of them resting his head on his hands.]
- Coach-Cueball: Okay, team. We're sixteen points down. If we want to come back from this—
- Offscreen: Woo!! Score!!!
- Coach-Cueball: Okay, now we're eighteen points down. ...Listen—I'm starting to think we should only take these breaks at halftime.
- In 1392: Dominant Players Randall compares basketball with chess.
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