Jim from Hoover, after twenty-three minutes of anxious waiting on hold for Hey Coach, "totally pussed out" on Thursday when he actually got the chance to speak with the current Bama football coach Mike Shula, according to both his own estimates and that of friends listening to the show. The loss of nerve represented a major defeat for the indefeatigable local caller and a major loss of status in the sports show call-in community.
"Jim", known publicly as Alan Travers from Hoover, is a regular caller to the Paul Finebaum Show noted for his caustic attacks on what he calls the "pathetic" offense of the Tide and Shula's "old granny" play-calling. He had planned on taking his critique to the coach personally live on the show.
"He texted me that he was gonna call in tonight and ask Shula himself why he couldn't take Brodie Croyle, three receivers, and a decent line and make a first down," said Elden Jones, high school classmate and fellow Crimson Tide afficionado. "He said he was gonna say all the things he usually says on Finebaum. He sounded jacked, like 'Whaddya think he'll do, man?' Like, giggling little girl excited."
Creeden Burtwell, Tide fan and longtime listener to "Hey, Coach," was bitterly disappointed in Jim From Hoover's pisspoor call to Coach Shula last Thursday.
"I had it all planned out," said "Jim" following the debacle, nursing a Coors Light at Shankey's Sports bar in Hoover later that night.
"I was gonna ask him what he thought about getting an assload of ones and heading down to the strip club, 'cause maybe some of the Mike Price would rub off on him and he'd throw downfield once in a while. Then without giving him a chance to answer, I was gonna tell him to ask his daddy for hints, since that's how he got the job anyway. Then I was going to finish by telling him that going 9-2 was totally unacceptable at Alabama and then scream "ROLL TIDE" and hang up the phone."
"Jim", a first time caller and longtime listener to the coach's show, had high hopes for his appearnce.
"It was going to be awesome. I was going to totally stun him."
The plan, however, fell to pieces as soon as "Jim" was put on air with Coach Shula. It began with a gross violation of sports talk etiquette.
"I'm sitting there in my car--I was on the way to Shankey's, where I'd walk in afterwards and high five everyone after I got in and talk about it, 'cause they were all watching on the big screen--and they put me on five minutes early without warning me."
With the radio in his car on, "Jim" suddenly realized that not only was he on air, but filling the airwaves with the sound of "Hey Coach's" delayed echoing from his radio.
"Jim from Hoover...Jim, please turn your radio down, Jim," intoned Roberts.
"Jim" fiddled with the volume knob, accidentally turning it up to blistering levels and flooding the studio of "Hey Coach" with echoes of "HELLO JIM."
"Shula actually kinda jumped up in his chair when he did that," said Jones, who watched the disaster unfold from his chair at Shankey's. "People laughed, rolled their eyes, and pointed. It was awesome, but it got better from there."
"That really threw me off my game there," said "Jim," who bravely attempted to salvage his interview. The transcript of the rest follows:
JFH: "Hey, Coach Shula."
CMS: "Hey, Jim. Roll Tide."
"It was obvious to everyone here that "Jim" was flat-out petrified," said Jones. "Again, more giggling and pointing."
Tom Roberts, intervening: "Jim, do you have a question for Coach Shula tonight?"
JFH: "Um, yeah, I...I wanted to know if...if his dad is real proud of him for the season he's had. I'll hang up and listen to your answer."
CMS: "Yes, Jim, he certainly is. It's a great feeling."
TR: "Next caller!"
"Jim" then left the car and entered Shankey's. "I needed a drink." The collective patrons of the bar gave "Jim" a mocking cheer.
"I can't believe how bad he pussed out on the air. He completely lost his balls. Amazing."
"Jim," though, remains undaunted, and plans to call in next week under a different name. "I thought about being 'Ty from Tuscaloosa,' because that sounds cool, and I don't even live in T-Town."
Jones remains skeptical. "Maybe he needs note cards. And a new set of balls, man...."