Every now and then we get a glimpse of reality. Last night, at his press conference, UNC Coach Roy Williams vented his frustration with his team's abilty to execute the full-court press. (For the uninitiated, this is a defense that involves tight coverage the length of the basketball court, and it can be very effective against teams prone to mistakes in their ball-handling. Like N.C. State.)
His team's failure to properly employ the full-court press has evidently been weighing quite heavily on Ol' Roy, and is a hot button issue with him.
Asked by a reporter what was wrong with his team's full-court press, Williams used a word that is used quite commonly in the real world, but seldom on TV or in what remains of polite company. He said: "If I knew the answer to that do you think we'd still be [curse word] stinkin'?"
Now, normally the coach will use a term like "frickin" or "freakin'" to fill in that bracket. Last night, whatever filter he employs failed him, and the unexpurgated F-word emerged. Which wasn't anything that probably 97 percent of his audience hadn't heard and probably said in the past seven days (or seven minutes. Sad to say, I use the term too much in the course of the day. And I admit that only because my very proper mother-in-law doesn't have internet access and can't see this.)
Of course, this was news, that one of the top coaches in America used a term that most everbody in America uses to express their frustration or anger or just as a verbal tic. We had a short story on Page 4C of the daily Sports section, and we had it on our blog and video of it online all day, with a bleep. (Our account described the reaction in the press room as "nervous laughter."
I'm guessing that was not so much because the broadcast newsies were shocked by the language as that they were all now, collectively, thinking: "Oh [curse word], that went out live! Over our channels! Without a bleep!")
I think such a big deal was made about it because we live in a society that has two sound tracks. One you hear all the time, and it is R-rated. The other one is sanitized and is, frankly, not real. Fact of the matter is that you almost never hear how famous people real talk, because they clean it up for public consumption.
We agonize here at the paper about letting even the most mild cuss words get into print, because we pride ourselves on being a family newspaper, i.e., you can let your 12-year-old read it without worrying that he'll pick up bad words, even though he's probably using those bad words fluently on the bus and on the playground.
Anyway, good on you Coach Roy for letting a little reality out on the airwaves.