Tracy Lee Curtis

Cam Newton can learn from ‘Bull Durham’

AP

Oh man, am I happy I’m on Facebook. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known how everybody on the planet felt about a three-minute press conference. In which case, I would have just woken up, happy that I got to watch my Panthers play in the Super Bowl.

But instead, I got to witness people tearing each other apart over whether a 26-year-old football player has class – or perhaps missed the day they taught Super Bowl Postgame Interview 101.

And when did everybody start watching postgame interviews? The last time I watched an athlete speak in a postgame press conference of any sport was the day before NEVER. But apparently it’s a thing, and clearly people think there’s a politically correct way to do it.

But exactly how do you prepare for your postgame interview after you’ve gotten all the way to the Super Bowl and then lost? Do you spend a day with the communications department? Take an Overcoming Grief course, followed by a public speaking class? Or maybe you do role plays with an acting coach.

“You’re the best quarterback in the country, suffering a crushing loss in the Super Bowl on national television – and now you must respond to questions with classy responses that exude leadership, consistent with being a role model to kids. Go!”

If I were coaching him, I’d just do what Kevin Costner did in the movie “Bull Durham.” He plays a catcher (Crash) who schools his pitcher Tim Robbins (Nuke) in the art of the interview. He gives him three simple clichés, sure to work for any question:

We gotta play ’em one day at a time. I’m just happy to be here, hope I can help the ball club. I just wanna give it my best shot and, the good Lord willing, things will work out.

I know it’s baseball, but I bet it works for football, too. Just take the first three questions in Cam’s press conference….

What’s your message to Panthers fans?

“We gotta play ’em one day at a time.”

Coach Rivera said Denver two years ago had a tough time and they bounced back. Do you take that to heart?

“I’m just happy to be here, hope I can help the ball club.”

Can you put a finger on why Carolina didn’t play the way it normally plays?

“I just wanna give it my best shot and, the good Lord willing, things will work out.”

See? It works. But … it doesn’t really sound like Cam. There’s another line in the movie that Nuke says that we could try….

I love winning. You hear what I’m saying? It’s like, better than losing.

That works.

Curtis: tracy@tracyleecurtis.com

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