FLYOVER COUNTRY—47 Letters
History is replete with famous correspondence between luminaries, some of it philosophical, some religious, and some, shall we say, steamy.
In an age when the postal service is fading away due to email, instant messaging, and video chat, and which sees that letter writing is becoming a lost art, something remarkable has taken place recently: A fully grown man in Seattle has written a boy in California 47 First Class letters. Either by accident or design, they were all delivered on the same day. Whether that is creepy is left for you, the reader, to decide.
This man is Tosh Lupoi, of late in the employ of the University of Washington’s football team as “Defensive Run Coordinator” and “Defensive Line Coordinator,” and “Head Recruiting Coordinator,”—for seemingly everyone on UW’s staff is a coordinator of some stripe. He is also the owner of several interesting nicknames too: Mr. X-Box Live, To$h, The To$htitute, and also known by the only Biblical reference most Cal fans know—Judas Iscariot.
Whatever one calls him, (My personal favorite is Tosh “Scuba” Lupoi, Head Diving Instructor), virtually no one knew he was such a prolific writer. Forty-seven letters arriving in one day, to just one potential student athlete, is a seemingly remarkable amount of production. You might think he really had a lot of profound things to share with this kid. That is until, like me, you are granted access to the material.
Excerpts From The 47 Letters:
Believe me! I have shown restraint! It has only been out of a deep belief that you are the type of man who could never love a coach who wasn’t sensitive to your feelings that I don’t write you every waking hour. No, I have abandoned restraint and will no longer sublimate my natural urges for young defensive linemen such as yourself. . . .
I apologize for that last letter, please, please don’t tell your Dad—it will be our little secret. Though I am long accustomed to disgrace, my new employers do not wear it well though their disgrace has long been in the fitting. I was hired to help turn their fortunes. Taking “NO!” as an answer from you does not befit a recruiting legend of my caliber. . . .
Alas my ego has gotten the best of me yet again, please disregard my last letter. In truth, I know myself to have a fiercely loyal and passionate heart. It’s not you, it’s me and my obsession. You see, many people think I am a fraud as a coach, that I teach my players to flop in the face of adversity. . . .
Please tear up that last letter. I apologize for all of my mawkishness. (Gotta love that Cal education, right?). . . .
I forgot to tell you in my last letter that everyone here assures me that a UW degree is every bit the equal of one from Cal. Some Chinese university says so. . . .
I am worried that I have not yet heard back from you. I am beginning to sense that you possess a barrier to returning my love. Is it the purple ink. . . ?
Letter 7 or Only 40 More To Go
I am learning to accept settling for unrequited love because I believe in and practice unconditional love, which requires no encouragement from you to grow. I am here for you buddy!!!
It’s been seven letters and you haven’t called me back, tweeted me, texted me, nothing. What’s up buddy? You don’t like rain? Losing? What is it? I stand by, faithfully yours. . . .
I am swallowing the prospect of the hardship of the next nine months without you showing me the love and respect I deserve. Don’t you know who I am. . .?
I apologize for that last letter. You know there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you. You fill a vast emptiness in my soul and would also fill a vast nothingness we call our current defensive line. Again, sorry for the passive/aggressive tone of the last letter. . . .
Did you get my last ten letters? Lost without you buddy. . . .
I must confess that I am losing faith in my own resilience and determination in the face of your continued silent treatment. I have been unable to detect even a shred of concern from you as to whether I get my five star contractual bonus. . . .
I am thinking you might be concerned about the yards my past defenses have hemorrhaged against Oregon except for that one game for which I was later suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct in 2010. Trust me, I have been handpicked by Steve Sarkisian and that I have a plan. . . .
I apologize for the uncertain tone of the last letter. Just trying to keep it real with you bro. Mike Tyson used to say, “Everyone has a plan—until they get hit.” I’m being honest here man, Chip scares me. I need you. WE NEED YOU TO HELP END THE NIGHTMARE!!!
Please disregard that last letter. I was drunk while viewing a cut-up of what I have to work with this coming season. I need you bro!!!
Got me some KFC and feeling much better now. Do you like KFC? Do you want to cyber sometime?
Did you enjoy our Spring Game? Of course there is no video to review as no one was interested in even televising it on the Internet, but just look at the box score and see how we shut down that vaunted Steve Sarkisian attack out there. We looked like Oregon does against Keith Price. . . .
Dude, you’re threatening my continued sobriety. Please, pretty please, just one tweet. . . .
Did you preregister for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier? You can get a expansion map if you buy it from the right place. Just say the word and I’ll tell you how to get it and then we can team up online. . . .
DID YOU GET MY LAST TWENTY LETTERS YOU PUNK?!?!
I crossed a line there and I am so sorry. Please forgive me. You are my life. I can get you to the NFL dude. Just give me another chance. . . .
And so I have withdrawn, a wounded animal, a kicked dog, but waiting, waiting for any sign that you want to join me in a happy, loving relationship. . . .
Have there been times in your life when you have wanted a companion and no one has been there? I have spent so much time alone, in the fury of my isolation. I now cannot imagine being with anyone else while my heart is tied to you. . . .
My own naïveté mocks me, cruelly laughs at my ever-seeking heart as I embark on these quests to be loved by high school football players, but just listen to me and read my words closely. I speak a language you can understand: The jilted date, the jealous girl, the gal you rejected for the prom? Remember them? We are one. . . .
I had forgotten there for a moment that you haven’t yet been to college and may not get what I have been trying to say to you. You are such a talent. In similar circumstances there are few who would not fall into such a fallacious fantasy as I have been living with you in my head. If I have been pathetic in my wanting there is no shame for me, only the humiliation of having again guessed wrongly at your intentions and of your feelings for me. Do you feel no compassion, no obligation towards my tender, poet’s soul? For heaven’s sake let me know whether you love me back!!!
Two words for you buddy: Fatal Attraction. Google it. . . .
Dude, just letting you know I’d rip my still beating heart from my breast if it would but please you. . . .
Let me know your mind so that I will not sit day after day expecting that eventually you will come to me. Because if you do not intend it, if you do not want me, then please take pity upon me and let me know. . . .
Letter 30 or Only Seventeen To Go
Just another note. Can I just take the best of our time together, pack it away as nostalgia and simply move on with my life. . . ?
You are a heartless bastard. Go to the Ducks then if that’s what you want. You’ve amply demonstrated you have no regard for my feelings. Just tell it to me straight—you want that nightmare to continue. Just say it already!
I am soooooo sorry!!! You know I’m not like that, right? Did I tell you that Scott Woodward has to buy me a boat? Maybe you can get away some weekend and help me with the choice?
Thinking of you again. I am dreaming of naming my boat after you. How does Unlimited Testosterone grab you? It grabs me. I tingle with anticipation.
From the don’t believe everything you read department: I have found out that I am only being allowed my choice of sea kayak. The boat in my contract was not specified and since one can take a sea kayak upon any navigable waterway. . . . Long story short, no one names a kayak Unlimited Testosterone. Sorry bro.
I lay awake at night because I cannot get my mind off of you bro. I have waking dreams of you, of me, of at least the Alamo Bowl in 2013. I have never been to the Alamo Bowl before. You?
I am coming to believe I need to give you more space and time within which to make your decision. I love and respect you bro, so I want you to know that I will go at least a week before I contact you again.
Sorry bro, I couldn’t even wait 20 minutes. Good news! I have decided to buy a proper boat and live aboard it! Two other words for you—Boats and hoes!!!! Come on up and see a little of both. Don’t believe what you hear about the hirsute and pasty women up here, I have both a Wahl and some spray tan. . . .
Eddie, Eddie, Eddie. Did you know that in fluid dynamics, an eddy is the swirling of a fluid and the reverse current created when the fluid flows past an obstacle? The moving fluid creates a space devoid of downstream-flowing fluid on the downstream side of the object. Fluid behind the obstacle flows into the void creating a swirl of fluid on each edge of the obstacle, followed by a short reverse flow of fluid behind the obstacle flowing upstream, toward the back of the obstacle. I see many eddys while using my sea kayak’s paddle, but you are the only Eddie in my heart. . . .
Laying here awake in my new boat. When a freighter goes by it rocks me almost as much as you do. . . .
I struck my temple on the overhead this morning and knocked myself senseless. For a tantalizing moment I dreamt that you had slobber knocked me during a drill.
I realized that my letters to you seem to be encroaching a line best not crossed, but I just can’t help myself, the postage is as free as are my feelings for you.
Caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror this morning. I am starting to like how I look in this dusky eggplant and dusty goldenrod gear. I think you’d look good in it too, especially in three technique stances. . . .
I am starting to think I have a problem, but I just can’t quit you. . . .
I heard a snippet of a song on my way to work today, “. . .baby you can drive my car. . .” You can drive mine if you don’t tell anyone.
. . .
I was reviewing your recruiting profiles this morning and saw that you had an Oregon State offer. Please tell me that you consider that to be as funny a joke as I do. Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, USC, Washington. Those Beavers are dreamers. What’s their pitch I wonder, “Come here and be quintuple teamed?”
Sir, you say well, and well you do conceive,
And since you do profess to be a suitor,
You must, as we do, gratify this gentleman,
To whom we all rest generally beholding.
That’s Shakespeare son, I think they teach that here.
You know, since you haven’t called, texted, tweeted, or even acknowledged my FaceBook friend request, I think I’ll head down to California for a spell. I’ll drive around your block just to get a glimpse of you. I’ll also show you my diary for the asking.
You know, most people are smart enough and mature enough to realize they cannot force someone to adore them in return. They let it go, long before anyone would say they’re crazy. There’s something in most people that will tell them “this is stupid,” and let the infatuation go. They move on and pull themselves back into reality.
That’s not how I roll buddy. Be seeing you soon. Literally.
P.S.: Yes, doogies, I know that Eddie Vanderdoes wears #47 in high school. That factoid just gives the letter stunt an even more pervy vibe when coming from an alleged adult.