As the coronavirus pandemic continues to leave all of us at home, reliant on visiting our TV show friends instead of our real friends for social interaction, one thing has became apparent: Basically every TV show is a period piece set in the Before Time, back when we weren’t all in quarantine.
The good folks over at Vulture recognized this, and asked television writers from a variety of shows—some still on the air, some long gone—to write excerpts from episodes they would air about the COVID-19 crisis. And while they are all quite good, one stood out as occupying a special place in our hearts: an imagined locker room speech delivered by Coach Taylor to the football players of Dillon, Texas, as they ready themselves for the final game before quarantine measures would require the team to socially distance from one another—written by none other than Friday Night Lights showrunner Jason Katims.
The district announced schools will be closed starting tomorrow, so this is the last time we’ll be meeting for a while. Maybe a long while. The least important thing right now is football. However. Still damn important. You’re still on this team. You still have football responsibilities. We’re lucky enough to live in Texas. There’s tons of empty spaces. Go find one and do your running, do your suicides, do your stretches. If you’re a quarterback, hang a truck tire in your yard and throw a football through it an hour every day. Is that understood?
From the very beginning of the monologue, excerpted above, we got chills imagining the flinty-eyed leadership of Coach at a moment when we are all seeking reassurance. And while it’s easy enough to conjure the Texas accent of actor Kyle Chandler, who played the iconic character for five seasons, when reading the script (indeed, it’s basically impossible not to), in these trying times we feel we deserve the real thing.
To that end, this is our humble request to Chandler, who was last seen a few days into the crisis taking a puppy from animal rescue Austin Pets Alive! back to his property in Central Texas. You’ve presumably got a more open-ended schedule than you normally do, and we can only assume you have at least one blue windbreaker tucked into your closet somewhere, in case of an emergency. For the sake of Texas—nay, for America, or indeed, the world—as we look for comfort and guidance in these times, can you don the jacket and the ball cap, have a family member hold up an iPhone (or place it on a tripod), and give us the comfort that can be conveyed only in the confident, tough-love intonations of America’s coach? This is, as the monologue Katims wrote for your character stresses, an emergency for all of us—and besides, you’re probably a little bored right now.
Texas forever, Coach. We need you, now more than ever. Full hearts, clear eyes … you know the rest by heart. We all do—and that’s why we need this.