Coach of the Year
April 30, 2003 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Ever felt alone? No, I mean really alone, as in "13 year old girl has forgotten the lyrics to the national anthem in front of 20,000 restless fans on national TV" alone? Natalie Gilbert has, but suddenly someone was there, and she wasn't alone(3.8MB .asf video).(via PLA)
posted by dglynn (49 comments total)
This may be a NewsFilter post, and I don't know if everyone saw this already, but I don't care because I found Coach Cheeks actions inspiring, and thought others should know what a stand up guy looks like.

And scroll down on that PLA link for a good write-up on this. Their permalinks are all bloggered up, but their title of "Coach of the Year" for their post is so good I stole it.

Also, check out the e-mail the Blazers are receiving.
posted by dglynn at 10:01 AM on April 30, 2003

posted by zeoslap at 10:04 AM on April 30, 2003

Aw... Who wouldn't say that to read, see or hear that story? It was a heroic act of kindness on an intimate small scale, well within reach of anyone's grasp, performed before an audience of millions. I especially like the way he got the arena crowd to sing along, thereby including them in the rescue. That was a selfless act.
posted by y2karl at 10:06 AM on April 30, 2003

posted by anildash at 10:07 AM on April 30, 2003

I got all choked up my own jaded self.

A bit glurgey, yes. But once in a while, I can take it.
posted by padraigin at 10:17 AM on April 30, 2003

Awww that was really nice of him.
posted by riffola at 10:18 AM on April 30, 2003

CringeFilter. I hate cringe moments, even on TV.
posted by m@ at 10:19 AM on April 30, 2003

I hate when the internet makes me cry...
posted by Argyle at 10:20 AM on April 30, 2003

But I'll bet she doesn't get asked back!
posted by DrDoberman at 10:20 AM on April 30, 2003

Jesus...Cheeks gets another great assist. Somebody please post this on SpoFi, I've already posted there today. This needs to be shared.
posted by vito90 at 10:43 AM on April 30, 2003

[this is kindness.]
posted by grabbingsand at 10:47 AM on April 30, 2003

Thank god we're all redeemed by this heroic act of shining grace. Whew!

Sorry, don't mean to be too snide. It's a cute story. Waaay fucking overwritten though.


posted by scarabic at 10:50 AM on April 30, 2003

First I read this, and then I read the Mo Cheeks thing.

We humans are just bizarre, that's all I can say.
posted by luser at 10:53 AM on April 30, 2003

Poor kid.

That's the sort of self-esteem crushing moment that will have her dancing around a pole in five more years.
posted by bondcliff at 11:09 AM on April 30, 2003

I heard about this a few days ago but had yet to see it. Thanks for the link.

Mo Cheeks is apparently one of the GoodGuys™.
posted by internal at 11:22 AM on April 30, 2003

Chivalry will never die. My faith in the professionalism of "professional sports" has been restored just the tiniest bit.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2003


No kidding! This is Harlequin Romance Novel material:
"And then, suddenly, silent as a shadow, he was there, standing beside her, his left arm protectively, comfortingly around her, and he was whispering the forgotten words"
posted by letitrain at 11:24 AM on April 30, 2003

Overwritten maybe, and cringeworthy yes, but still moving. Thanks for posting the video link, I had not caught it yet. Good for Coach Cheeks. I can only hope I'd have the presence of mind to jump in and help, rather than freeze in sympathetic horror.
posted by Tubes at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2003

I just hope this isn't used to spearhead another "Change the Anthem" movement. America the Beautiful sucks. STAR SPANGLED BANNER 4EVAH!!!!!!1!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:45 AM on April 30, 2003

I didn't read the article. I thought the video stood very well on its own.
posted by Lafe at 11:58 AM on April 30, 2003

One of the few highlights in an otherwise forgettable Blazers season.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:59 AM on April 30, 2003

Mo Cheeks rules! I loved him as a player, as a coach, and now I know he's a cool guy too.
posted by jbou at 12:23 PM on April 30, 2003

Ohhhh, that gave me that good ol' warm, fuzzy feeling. Thanks.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:29 PM on April 30, 2003

I was in Dallas when this happened. I saw it referred to by only one local sports announcer at the time and his reaction was to make fun of the girl. I wondered if anyone would comment on Coach Cheeks' marvelous actions.

No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child. Being a Celtics fan, I used to hate Mo when he played for Philly, but I'm a fan of his right now.
posted by joaquim at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2003

That kid must hate America. Send her back to Afghanistan.
posted by drstrangelove at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2003

He was horribly off-key, but I think I can forgive him just this once.
posted by Galvatron at 1:07 PM on April 30, 2003

Overwritten maybe. . . but still moving. Thanks for posting the video link

Yes, thanks for either link, since I haven't followed sports for 10 or 12 years now, and never would have seen/heard about it. Back (way too far back) when I played basketball 10-20 hours a week, Mo Cheeks was one player I tried to emulate. He really was once the quintessential point guard, selfless and without ego and pretense [who] played a spare, bare-bones, beautifully economical game, as the link says.

It's still a terrible national anthem, and the whole idea of Star Search-ing 13-year-olds is equally bad, but Mo's swift and sure reaction, when things were going wrong, turned this into a nice story.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2003

That kid must hate America. Send her back to Afghanistan.
posted by Espoo2 at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2003

Watching that video causes me actual, physical pain. See her start out OK, knowing what's coming, is like watching the dentist approach with the drill. That's worse than the naked-and-late-for-the-final-exam dream.

But just think - nothing that ever happens in her life will be anywhere near as embarassing as that moment. She's home free!

And yes, our anthem is convoluted and horrid to sing, not to mention all martial.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:19 PM on April 30, 2003


don't worry, "America the Beautiful" will never be embraced by the Santorum/GOP types once they find out it was written by a noted lesbian. :-)

great link, dglynn...the stuff of nightmares, but also great.
posted by serafinapekkala at 1:37 PM on April 30, 2003

What's wrong with a little martiality? I'm partial to "Battle Hymn of the Republic" myself...

"He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored,
He has loosed the fateful lightening of His terrible swift sword..."

And from the tweaked Mormon Tabernacle Choir version, "As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free..."

I hate humiliation comedy, or humiliation anything, and watching this poor girl flail just killed me, but seeing everybody join in to help the kid out, that was kind of lovely.

I look forward to seeing what Rick Reilly has to say about this.
posted by jengod at 1:39 PM on April 30, 2003

I'm sure Rick Reilly will suggest that good ol' fashioned down home white coaches would be far better team players in helping out 13-year-old singers than these primadonna black coaches like Mo Cheeks.

Not that I'm biased against Rick Reilly or anything. :P
posted by hincandenza at 1:50 PM on April 30, 2003

I don't know why, but watching this clip made me immediately recall this funny little blooper (.wmv file) on TechTV's "Call for Help."

Only that little bastard Chris Pirillo didn't step in to help, he let the poor sap dangle in the wind.
posted by Fofer at 2:10 PM on April 30, 2003

Fofer, is that the Edison cylinder thing? If so, I seem to remember hearing it was a gag (though I can't find a source now).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:19 PM on April 30, 2003

I guess a 13 year old doesn't have the advantage of having seen a dozen or so of these train wrecks over the course of half a lifetime - but I can't believe that anyone would ever show up in front of 18,000 people to sing the national anthem without a lyric sheet firmly in hand.
posted by krtzmrk at 2:36 PM on April 30, 2003

Yes it is, PinkStainlessTail. I hadn't heard that it was a hoax, and I'd be surprised. It even had a moment where the guest muttered,

"Oh, fu.... ...shit."

Prior to his blooper, his hands were trembling. If it was a gag, it was a darn good one... very, very believable. But then again, it *was* so perfectly presented... I guess it's possible.

posted by Fofer at 2:45 PM on April 30, 2003

It wasn't a gag, but the issue raised regarding that clip is that piece he broke is not one of a kind at all, it was factory built near the turn of the century, so therefore replaceable. Might cost $100.00 or so, but totally replaceable.

In terms of the coach clip, that was awesome that he helped her, and a shining moment of coachiness and etc., but I saw an interview with the girl a few days afterward, and she was a moron. I mean that in the nicest possible way, but she didn't really seem aware of the moment as it happened, she disregarded the fact that she had forgotten the lyrics to the song, and downplayed the fact that Cheeks gave her a hand. I realize that she's only thirteen, but she seriously had no appreciation of the whole event, and struck me as exactly the kind of person who would do what she did ... namely, forget the national anthem is front of 22,000 people and television cameras.
posted by jdaura at 3:14 PM on April 30, 2003

I may be a bad me-fite, but I watched the video first and then read the article. and [ this is good ]
posted by bison at 3:25 PM on April 30, 2003

Seeing that video just makes me all kindsa happy.
posted by DakotaPaul at 3:49 PM on April 30, 2003

This is good. "It's A Wonderful Life" good. Its not good to be an angry distrustful bastard all the time. I like these things; this is good.

(And just when I'd lost the last shred of faith in pro-basketball. This is good...)
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:00 PM on April 30, 2003

Okay. Watched it again. At home. Same reaction.

[this is still good.]
posted by grabbingsand at 4:06 PM on April 30, 2003

reminded me of that scene in about a boy :D go mo!
posted by kliuless at 4:16 PM on April 30, 2003

Thanks for the video link, dglynn. I've been hearing about this all day and was hoping someone would post it somewhere. This is soooooo nice. And Cheeks is such a cutie.

Her body language is very telling - I think she forgot the words because she was too self-conscious about what she was wearing. 13 years old is a little young to be carrying off a strapless dress, and that one looks partially sequined and satin, which means it's probably pretty heavy. She looks adorable in it, but note how many times her hand goes up, as if to check her coverage.
posted by iconomy at 4:29 PM on April 30, 2003

[this is good]

I feel all fuzzy, but once in a while, that little lump in the throat and tear in the eye is a good thing. And I like the Blazers.
posted by swerve at 5:52 PM on April 30, 2003

Tell me about it, iconomy, when I first saw it at random on some highlights, I thought she was the latest blond singer. I guess she's just an amateur though.
posted by Wood at 11:01 PM on April 30, 2003

Having forgotten lyrics when singing in public, I could imagine how mortified this poor girl must've been. I was able to recover after a couple of lines without any outside help, if I hadn't, I would've broken down and run off crying. It's a credit to this young woman that she stood her ground even when she was foundering. Good on her and good on Coach Cheeks.

but I can't believe that anyone would ever show up in front of 18,000 people to sing the national anthem without a lyric sheet firmly in hand.

I don't know the Trailblazers rules, but having been accepted to sing for the NHL's Penguins (but never having actually done so for a number of reasons, their recently suckiness being but one) I know that they don't permit cheat sheets. If you're going to put yourself out there as a potential anthem performer, you're supposed to know all of the words cold -- to both the U.S. and Canadian anthems.

However, the words are displayed for the crowd on the Jumbotron screens. I wonder if the Trailblazers don't do that. That was one consolation we were offered at the audition that I attended - "if you blank out at an actual game you can always look up at the screen." Maybe young Miss Gilbert just didn't think of that.
posted by Dreama at 3:18 AM on May 1, 2003

I mean that in the nicest possible way, but she didn't really seem aware of the moment as it happened, she disregarded the fact that she had forgotten the lyrics to the song, and downplayed the fact that Cheeks gave her a hand.

If you look closely at her lips after she finished and Mo hugs her, you can see that she says an honest-to-goodness "thank you!". Of course, in interviews later she's probably just trying to forget the whole thing ever happened.

That was really sweet, though. Particularly since Mo was such a terrible singer, and yet was man enough to make an even bigger fool of himself to save the little girl some dignity. Great, great guy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:13 AM on May 1, 2003

That, people, is a selfless man. I don't think "mortified" would even begin to describe how someone would feel up there, forgetting the words to our (awful) national anthem.

Three cheers for Coach Cheeks!
posted by Down10 at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2003

Y'know? If this was the message that every sport offerred in every game, I'd probably actually care about them. Too often it's all about winning, not just sharing the moment and helping one another along. I don't know Maurice Cheeks from Babe Ruth, but it's in little precious moments like this, when the right guy at the right time does the right thing when it really matters, it's in such moments where heroes and legends are forged.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:42 PM on May 2, 2003

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