Kyle Chandler, the man responsible for warming the hearts of fans for five seasons as fearless football coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights, celebrates his 53rd birthday Monday. To mark the occasion, EW decided to do the only honorable thing: Channel our inner Coach Taylor — yes, everyone has one — to give people the advice they’ve been missing ever since the light dimmed on that football field in Philadelphia.
After all, who better to solve your life problems than the ultimate molder of men?
I was just fired from my job, and with the job market the way it is, it’s not easy for someone my age to find work. I need some advice, Coach. —Dave, 50
Every man at some point in his life is gonna lose a battle. He’s gonna fight and he’s gonna lose. But what makes him a man, is that in the midst of that battle he does not lose himself. So you know what you do? You suck it up. That’s what being a man is.
I don’t like ironing, but my mom keeps complaining about wrinkles in my shirt. What do I do? —Jacob, 16
You iron the damn shirt, that’s what you do. Listen to your mother. You listen to her and you respect her.
I have a crush on a guy, but he just humiliated me in front of my entire class. But I think I still like him. What should I do, Coach? —Sara, 14
I’ll tell you this much: If you’re wondering if a boy’s thinking about you, he’s not. He’s thinking about sex, or he’s hungry. Those are the only two options. To me, it sounds like this is just some guy. That’s all he is, just some guy. Hell with him.
I can’t figure out how to use a corkscrew, so I always buy twist-off wine. What does that say about me? —Jane, 27
I’ll ask Tami and get back to you.
My mom says I need glasses, but I don’t want to be made fun of at school. What would you do, Coach? —Nathan, 12
If you need glasses to see, son, then get glasses. Screw the bullies. You do what you have to to be able to see clearly, because clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
I hate coffee but I suck at waking up in the morning. What do I do? —John, 21
Get your ass up, that’s what you do. Be thankful you’re not on my football team.
There’s a bully at school, and my dad keeps telling me to be the bigger person and walk away, but I can only take so much. What should I do, Coach? —Joe, 15
You keep going. You don’t give up. It’s about character. It’s about striving to be better than everybody else. I didn’t say you needed to be better than everyone else. But you gotta try. That’s what character is: It’s in the trying.
My dog doesn’t know how to dog and will not go to the bathroom outside, only on pee pads inside. Tell me what to do, Coach. —Rachel, 26
It’s a dog. You train it. You practice over and over again until that dog gets it right. And he will get it right. Just takes time. Remember: It always looks bad before it gets better.
I was just cut from my school soccer team, and now I don’t know what to do. Can you help? —Tim, 14
I’m not really sure why we’re talking about soccer. Football’s a real sport. But regardless, you can’t beat yourself up because you’re taking chances on things. Remember that success is not a goal. It’s a byproduct. So I’m going to ask you to do me a favor: Do the best you can.
My girlfriend just told me she’s pregnant, but I’m not ready to be a father. What do I do? —Patrick, 19
Nobody’s ever ready to be a father. I wasn’t, I can tell you that. I wasn’t ready for the responsibility. You cannot be prepared for something like that, believe me. But you grab the bull by the horns and you move on. Nobody said being a dad’s gonna be easy.
How do I use a fax machine? —Sophia, 20
What do you mean? You read the instruction manual, that’s how.
I think my girlfriend is going to leave me, but I just know that we’re meant to be together. Coach, what do I do? —Matt, 25
I’ll tell you what you don’t do. You don’t just stand by and watch it happen.
There’s a really hot woman at my office, and I’m thinking about cheating on my wife, because we haven’t slept together in months. Should I go for it? —George, 35
A man takes care of his wife, so the answer to your question is no. And the answer to your question is going to be no today, it’s going to be no tomorrow, and it will probably be no until the sun burns out. Is that clear?
The love of my life is moving across the country, but I’m not sure if I want to follow her. I’m only 20 years old. What would you do, Coach? —Dan, 20
Listen to me, son. You’re not supposed to know what you’re doing with the rest of your life at 20. But you do what you think is best. That’s all you can do. (And if you do follow her, on the way, will you take me to Philadelphia with you, please?)
And to all of you, a reminder: You give 110 percent all the time, not just when you feel like it.
– Coach Taylor
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