For some reason that smell still holds memories for me, even eighteen years later. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very pleasant smell and that probably has something to do with why it still lingers after all this time. Coach Joyner was the new coach who entered the locker room after our first game, which was not a success and in fact was the moment that we collectively realized how bad we really were. I can only now appreciate what this must have been like for Coach, a former pro player who had experienced success at every level and now inherits a terrible team. I think that was the most purely frustrated I had ever seen someone. So frustrated, his emotions ranged from anger to confusion in big sweeping seconds that filled the room. And that smell, it seemed to multiply when coupled with coach’s booming voice to create a inescapable hell for an eighth grader. Most of it was a blur with only a few zingers breaking through to it’s mark. I will never forget hearing those words hit me like a massive sucker punch, “Love! Are you aware that the other team is wearing a different color?.” There were few places that I wouldn’t have rather been at that moment. It took eighteen years and one Presidential election to bring that feeling back in my life. Over the next few months Coach preached voraciously about getting back to fundamentals. He instituted a curriculum of fundamentals and a bootcamp like program to achieve what he called “Excellence.” He bombarded us with the idea that we already knew how to win, we just lost our fundamental way. I haven’t thought about that in years. But I wonder what our party could learn from Coach Joyner. He believed that you find talent and teach them how to the right things right. He wouldn’t allow us to ponder if we should add this or do this like other teams that we saw going deep in the playoffs. He worshiped at the alter of perfect, truly believing that all you have to do is be the best at what you do, rather than reinvent the wheel. This is the dilemma of our party. Some Republicans hide a populist agenda under a falsehood of “unity”. But that’s not a leader. Leaders make hard decisions. Leaders are rarely popular because of the difficult decisions that have to make everyday. If you know a leader in any sector of society that has a massive approval rating, I can assure you they are not a leader. Thanks to our wonderful media, we have become a color coded nation of those siding with a mythical red or blue agenda. Because of this I have a rallying cry for Republicans that I will only say once. Purple equals death. Plain and simple.We need to get back to fundamentals. We need to find talent and be perfect at what we do, not start acting like the losers over the past twenty-five years. Let’s pause to take a poll. Who thinks that it would be wise for the Celtics to start playing like the Cippers. I mean, come on, surely we’re going to have to change it up some right? Why? If anyone can tell me why we have took apart our kitchen sink that worked perfectly well to replace it with a eco friendly hemp one that leaks like a sieve, I would love to receive that e-mail. I never won a Championship, but my team laid the foundation for one a few short years later. We wouldn’t raise a banner but we still had a small part in it. We were the team that started the long journey back. And we did it through fundamentals and a constant belief in ourselves. The feeling, the screaming, the smell, it’s all coming back to me now. Time to dust off the OLD playbook.