Listen to the audio performance by Steven Markow!

On behalf of myself and the rest of the coaching staff, allow me to just say what a privilege it is to get to work with you this season. As you know, tryouts were tough, we had a lot of really talented kids come out, and we only picked the best of the best. Some of you boys have been playing together since peewee, but others are joining us for the first time this year. It’s to those new players that this is addressed.

Being a part of this team is an honor. Bonds will be formed between you and your fellow players that will exceed, in intimacy and intensity, even those you share with your parents. Yeah, even your dads. For us, taking a player onto the roster is like a cloud inviting lightning into its heart. The process is miraculous and sublime. That’s what happened the moment you signed up to play for us.

Now, summer training is tough and a lot of kids change their mind about playing ball when they’re running laps in those heavy pads. But you can understand why we can’t just let our warriors bail the moment they start working up a sweat. Leaving the team must be just as spectacular as joining it. So with that in mind, please review the ceremony, detailed below, by which you may quit the football team.

If you wish to quit the football team, you may attend one of our self-reflection sessions, which are held one hour before every weekend practice. Our very well-funded program will provide you with a personalized sensory deprivation pod. We find that eliminating all stimuli allows consciousness to achieve a clarity not provided in daily life, and certainly not during practice, where your mind is totally occupied with the whistle. In the soundless pods, there is only the sound of your inner voice. There you may ask it, “Do I really want to quit the football team and let all the other boys down?” If it says, “Yes, I’m willing to bring shame to myself, my family, my entire school, and my best friends, for life,” then you may advance to the next step of the quitting process.

A rapidly disintegrating map will be given to you as you step out of the self-reflection pod. It will lead you to the Sewer of Quitters. This is an underground, filth-covered labyrinth in which those who have quit the team in the past now dwell. Not everybody who quit the team lives there, but a lot do, and that’s because living down there is preferable to living as a huge sack of disappointment on the surface.

Your task is to locate the Quitters Colony and just have a heart-to-heart with them. See how things went after they quit. See how things are going for them now. It’s only fair that you know what lies ahead of you if you choose the path of crybabies and lazybones. If that experience doesn’t change your mind, then they will give you a Quitter’s Wick. It is essential that you don’t lose your Quitter’s Wick! You will not be permitted to quit the team without it!

The final step of the quitting ceremony is called The Melting. I’ll just cut to the chase on this one: a wax effigy of you will be hand-sculpted by me or one of the other head coaches, the Quitter’s Wick will be inserted into the crown of its (“your”) skull, the effigy will be castrated in front of everyone in the school district, the Quitter’s Wick will be lit (unless it’s really hot that day), and everybody will watch the wax effigy slowly melt into a puddle of shame. That’s your shame. That’s on you, buddy.

If all of this sounds like no big deal, then fine, by all means, give up. Otherwise, get ready for one hell of a season!